Our neighbour is Polish. He hardly speaks only arises suddenly shakes his head in a kind of fulfillment, and follows its course. The other neighbour is Chinese, she pulls a plaid bag with wheels where you store things. The French liquidator, which has heavy accent, said he is a hoarder – accumulative professional stuff! Too bad she does not speak English to ask. The lady who serves in the bank is from Argentina and the girl who sells coffee on the next block is Korea, both are very smiling and warm. And so, soon we realize that most of the population of downtown Vancouver or Downtown, comes from elsewhere in the world.
English is a second or even third language for many. But not only is the amount of different languages we can hear it gives us the feeling of being in a kind of no man’s land or everyone, even the clothes and customs are different. Burqas lilacs paraded alongside colorful saris flying in the wind; Asian teen with knee-high socks and plaid skirts share the sidewalk with grannies taking into carts their pet pooches like babies; turbans of various colors walk alongside stylish hats; and it is from this cultural diversity that Canada was formed and which is so proud. And that cultural diversity is at the same time it challenges us, enriches the experience of being here. The experience is challenging on the one hand because it takes us out of our comfort zone, it requires that our brain is on all the time, paying attention to the person who is ahead of us to understand what the right situation means to her or that our actions generate it. Soon we can see that there are many things in common, even with a Nepalese teenager newcomer, as well as completely different things that sometimes we do not understand.
Arrive on time, split the cost of a meal and make plans for the weekend are things that can vary greatly from culture to culture. On the other hand, we are in a city almost international allows us to learn not only the meaning of all this for a kind of culture, but several at the same time! A simple conversation in English school or the park can open up a wealth of knowledge about how children are educated in China as French deal with the food, which is fashion in Indonesia or how the public transport in Africa. These experiences are very rich, because we understand that the way we were taught to do certain things in our country, is not necessarily the only way. And it transforms us and makes it free if we are open to experience the novelty. In deconstructs and builds otherwise. And usually, when we returned to our country, we are no longer the same.