Open your mind!

In a few days I´ll complete a full month exchange, but I’ll be in the Rocky Mountains. So I’ll write now.

When I came to this exchange, I knew that in various ways I’ll open my mind, would ripen, grow, get the world in my hands. But unknowingly, chose an amazing city.

Absolutely multicultural. It’s rare to see real Canadians here! You can see Asians, Arabs, Blacks, Latinos. There are people from every corner of the world, at least 30 countries I have never met. But more than that, it is the most open-minded city of Canada. And absolutely more open-minded than any city in Brazil.

Here, if you have any form of prejudice, you are a minority, you’ll feel embarrassed, outdated, ignorant. You live day by day with gays, lesbians, blacks, Asians, Arabs. I’m sad to write “I am surprised” to see it and feel it on my skin. How bad it is living in a country full of prejudices.

Ah, not quoted the famous “weed”, right? Here it’s not legalized, but it is not criminalized. It is sold in pharmacies by prescription, but many people use without discrimination, including police, firefighters, doctors and lawyers. And the city raises the flag to find a solution for it across Canada.

Nor quoted the tattoos that everyone has one. So you know that teacher, blue eyed, blonde, mother of many children? She has. The lawyer has, the doctor, the director of the company. The skateboarder.

Ah, here everyone respects each other. Crossing the street, nobody accelerates too much. A skateboarder gets a bag fallen from a gay couple. Lesbian holds the hand of the old lady to cross the street.

Riding bike alone, almost could not “take a picture of myself” because it took a few seconds, someone came to offer to take a picture for me because it was very hard to take myself. Oh, and no one ran away with my iPod!

There is respect in public transport. There are no turnstiles at the station, on the train or anywhere else. Just go downstairs and get on the train.The collectors sometimes look at your ticket, sometimes don’t. Nobody walks here without a helmet when riding a bicycle. It has here a major world cycling. It is RARE to see a street without a space dedicated to bikes.

A city without prejudice, respectful with everyone. I’m learning a LOT here, you can be sure. With that bitter taste of having to go back and see people apologizing for having confusing one child with Down syndrome who sat on his father’s lap, with a gay sitting on the lap of another gay in a football stadium, and for this reason had made fun. What is the difference of prejudice that I did not understand?

We have a lot to learn, it is a pity just a few people have this opportunity and the others grow with a prejudiced society, old “conservative” to mean “closed head to world’s change and human’s evolution.” Is retired? Learn to play an instrument and go to the main avenue.

You can not drink on the street, can only drink over 19 and the law is respected. You can’t drive and drink. The bars and clubs close at 3am. Everyone has to work, right?

Oh, and there is a lot of fun for free here, and public. It’s incredible. Synthetic soccer field better than anyone of Brazil, opened to the public. Public pool, better than clubs who have to pay for and PAY EXPENSIVE, open to the public near the beach inside the larger park in Canada, the beautiful Stanley Park, which has thousands of attractions by itself. Free outdoor cinemas. Etc, etc, etc. ..

Forgot to say that religion here is not too strong. There are, from all parts of the world and everyone is respected. But no one is faithful annoying that preaches as if it was the only right thing in the world. Each one with their beliefs. I saw a fellow dressed as a nun in school every day, competing power cord with Arabs. And after hugging each other. Is there something more beautiful than this?

The preferred religion here is “Carpe Diem” “Seize the day” “Viva la vita” .. Just live, live well, live smiling. Learn to live together, to know what is right, what is wrong and how to respect it.

So I chose the right place to go. My religion matured day by day, until I reach the conclusion that I just want to live, be happy, enjoy the day, the sun, and all that life has to offer. Fear, anxiety, longing, love, passion, friendship, joy, sadness, makes part of the package, just enjoy knowing everything. The smallest things. Because in the end, we finish all the same. Who here proves that I’ll have something after death?

The world would be a better place if it were like Vancouver.

By Felipe from Brazil

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