Canada is the most diverse country in the world. It’s a nation with people coming from different backgrounds united to achieve a common goal for a better country and better world. Since 13 months ago when my family came to Vancouver we are in the survival stage just like other families who came here, meet new people, be part of the community, and be part of the fast pace environment. Starting over again in a new place is tough but at the same time we learn a lot of new amazing things, and by far these are the 13 things I learned being here in Vancouver for 13 months (aside from it is a diverse country).

1. You got lots of options in almost everything and it’s VERY CONFUSING!

Before I always hope to have more options in life, but now that I’m experiencing it now, I don’t want it because it can cause a lot of stress and it’s very confusing. From the basic needs like bread having different brands and kinds, fresh milk different kinds: 1%, 2%, Skim, almond, chocolate, lactose and more. To the luxury of life, like fashion name any designer brands local and abroad they got it here. So many to choose from and it’s mind boggling!

2. Health Services is not free here

As many back in my home country would think about health benefits here would be “Free” as the people we know would brag about it like a free medical checkup, free medicine, and others. Well, that’s a miss information, although it is better than other countries but it doesn’t come free because there’s a premium you need to pay monthly, some would argue the company you will work for will pay for it, well not all pays 100% apparently. But again, it is still far way better than other countries.

3. Basic Education is free

Thanks to the tax payers children get to have free education.

4. College is not going to University

Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is my current understanding about it when you go to a College it has lesser number of years compare to a University, but you don’t get a degree in a College only in University. It’s one of those having many options in life (see item #1). Back where I came from, I think we use both terms interchangeably.

5. Housing is crazy expensive here

It has been the content of the news every day on how crazy expensive owning or even renting a place here. And yeah I would agree on the news base on how we are living right now.

6. Driving is not for slow people

Sorry for the term, but the first time I saw how people drive here I was shocked like from a stop light to green light cars picks up the speed right away and it will go ZOOM. But after doing some driving lessons, I then understand why that driver’s need to clear the intersection as fast as possible but safe so that you will not be a cause for an inconvenience to other drivers causing traffic. Don’t go over the speed limit (maintaining it or just a little bit lower) but don’t also go too slow causing traffic.

7. Environmental Friendly, but not all

Vancouver and other cities are serious about educating and implementing proper segregation of wastes. We have the blue bins for recyclables, compost, garbage, and different depots where you can return soda bottles or dispose of other materials. But unfortunately, not all follows the rules.

8. Love nature? You’ll love this place

There are tons of how you can connect to nature like well-maintained parks, lakes, hiking trails, mountains and more that can encourage one to go outdoors.

9. At times, public transportation sucks

If you have been to Japan who has a very complex transportation system that is on time on the schedule or if in case there will be some delays, they would give out slips for passengers to have like an excuses letter slip for their company. Well here, most bus/train will be on time, but there are also times that it is 3 minutes earlier or 10 minutes late. :-/

10. Many also struggle to survive (Homeless people in some areas)

Most people would come from a different country or province to start a new life here and that is very hard especially trying to be part of the community to meet new friends and build your new network of friends. Most of the time it is very hard to get a job when no one else knows you even though you have a great track record from where you came from. I was also shocked when I saw people sleeping on the streets of Downtown Vancouver and for some would ask money to help them buy food. The government and other organizations have programs to help them out.

11. Drugs is also a problem here

Lately, it’s an every topic in the news people dying or being rescued from an overdose. And for me, it is very shocking to see it in the news.

12. Most people are friendly

Depending on which side you are in, but generally, people here are not rude and often gives you a smile.

13. Food servings here are BIG

Another thing that is very shocking is how big are the sizes of the food here. Like in a 3 item meal it is a plate overflowing of foods, and I can’t comprehend how people can finish it in one seating. So what we did is to share that same plate with our family of 3 in that way we are full, saving money and most importantly not wasting/throwing food away. We only get what we can finish, as I would always remind my kid.

To recap, here are the 13 things I learned in 13 months living in Vancouver.

  1. You got lots of options in almost everything and it’s confusing!
  2. Health Services is not free here
  3. Basic Education is free
  4. College is not going to University
  5. Housing is crazy expensive
  6. Driving is not for slow people
  7. Environmental Friendly, but not all
  8. Love nature? You’ll love this place
  9. At times, public transportation sucks
  10. Many also struggle to survive (Homeless people in some areas)
  11. Drugs is also a problem here
  12. Most People are friendly
  13. Food serving is big

There are tons of stuff I’m learning every day in this new homeland, and I’m definitely looking forward to learning more stuff about living here in Canada.

Cheers!

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