Day 30 - Shalom

30 Shalom.jpeg

Day 30 - Shalom (1st person I approached)

January 30, 2014 - Shalom comes from Nigeria, and has been in Vancouver for four months. He wanted to attend school, and in his research determined that Canada would be a better fit for him than the UK or the United States. I asked how he choose Vancouver, and laughed when he said “I googled ‘warmest place in Canada’ and Vancouver came up the best.” 

When he first travelled to Vancouver, his father accompanied him, to help him get settled in. “The school was all arranged by agents that where in Nigeria, but man, it wasn’t all they said it would be. I came here to study physics and technology, but I’m stuck in an English language school. It’s so boring. It would be the same as if you went to my school to learn how to speak English.” Clearly, he’d been misled. Shalom barely had an accent, and was very fluent in English. “It’s paid for and I can't get my money back, so I go, but I’ve already signed up for Business Enterprise Technology at BCIT, once I’ve finished not learning anymore English.” 

Shalom is the oldest of five children, three brothers “and one very lucky little girl, my sister. Her name is Princess,” he says with real pride. His father works for an oil company, and his mother is a businesswoman. Shalom had just been up to Grouse Mountain where he took a crash course in snowboarding (his first experience ever with snow happened shortly after arriving in Vancouver). “The instructor showed me a few tricks to make things easier, it’s not just about the speed, you know. And I took what he taught me and applied it, and it worked! I am no longer a beginner, I am an intermediate snowboarder now!”

I asked Shalom what he liked the least about Vancouver, and he said he was surprised with the rain, and thought it might snow more in the winter. His maturity and conversation made it hard to gage how old he was, and while I don’t usually ask, I wanted to know. “How old do you think I am?” he replied. I guessed maybe in his early twenties? “Shit man, that’s amazing - I’m 18!” We both laughed. I asked what it was like to be in a foreign country, by himself at 18 years of age. He looked up at the night sky, smiled and said, “It’s so good, I love it. I’m not homesick and I don’t miss anyone. This is great!” #notastranger