My wife is from Québec, and some months ago we were discussing moving to Canada in a few years. In May, though, she's visited her family and decided she wanted to anticipate the moving. So we bought the tickets and moved to Lachute, Québec, on August 23. Things didn't work as planned there and she couldn't secure the job offer she's had when she visited in May. A Brazilian childhood friend of mine invited us to know Winnipeg, where she's been living for 5 years, and we decided to stay here. We completed 3 months here on November 23. Thus far, some good impressions: 1. Safety. This is the highest quality of this country. We feel very safe on the streets, even at night. 2. Affordability. Overall, everything is affordable - food, clothing, electronics, furniture. There are expensive things, but on average you can get good quality stuff for good prices. 3. Social democracy. It is not paradise as generally Canada is pictured, but it does have a more democratic society than Brazil. There is no such gap between social classes and it is much easier to have social mobility. 4. Good architecture. It seems like every medium-sized or big city has architectural landmarks, of the most different eras and styles. 5. Volunteering. The volunteer culture is huge and has a lot of support. This is wonderful. 6. People are generally willing to help. All the time I voiced my worries and how I've been feeling, a lot of people showed up to help somehow - either here or at church. 7. Good food. Good quality food is more affordable and easier to find than in Brazil. Although, sometimes is difficult to find the same fruits and vegetables we have there. Bad Impressions so far (talking specifically about my experience in Winnipeg - I don't mean to be offensive, those are just impressions, not judgments): 1. Obviously the weather. By the end of the summer, temperatures had plummeted rapidly, and we already had 0ºC in October. The sun also went away fast. The dawn has been at 8 and the sunshine at 4 - but the sun hardly shows during the day, at least until now. Not having sunshine is terrible. 2. Awkward social interactions. It is a consumerist society - less than the US, but much more than Brazil (also due to the better financial conditions), so it's increasingly individualized and lonely. Social interactions are usually very limited to the context in which they occur and it seems difficult to extrapolate them into the personal field and create friendships. Interactions with strangers on the streets are even more awkward, and many people do not know how to navigate simple things as waiting for others to get out of the elevator before getting in or saying "excuse me" in a hallway without running over you. It does not seem like a lack of education like the million pushes you get in Brazil, but rather an incapacity of interacting. 3. The difficulty of living with so many different cultures. In Winnipeg (and I believe in almost every major city in Canada), there are many immigrants and from all over the world. This is good and brings diversity, but there are practical life challenges that are complicated. In our building, for example, there is a serious problem of compliance with the most basic rules of hygiene. People from India, for example, have a very different understanding of cleanliness / dirt, privileging the cleanliness of the body in detriment of the environment, and thus they'll throw their garbage out anywhere at any time. The elevators and hallways look filthy on weekends when there are no people cleaning up. 4. Cultural shock. Yes, it exists! Even though I speak English and can communicate just fine, so no verbal communication barriers, non-verbal communication, references, usages, and customs are very different. I also miss speaking Portuguese on a daily basis, especially for more sophisticated conversations for which I generally lack vocabulary in English. 5. Health system. The public system is not universal like in Brazil (there, it's is really universal and there are no conditions to use it - even foreigners are covered). Here, there are thousands of restrictions on access and it takes a lot of time for you to enter the system. The private system is expensive and not everyone has the right to have it - it is very complicated and is usually complementary or supplementary to the public one. 6. Poverty, mental illness and aboriginal peoples. The aboriginal peoples, at least in Winnipeg, often suffer from mental illnesses as a result of the poor treatment they had until very recently, as forced separation from their families. The traumas go from generation to generation and result in poverty and very poor emotional state. The number of indigenous persons in situations of alcohol and drug abuse and extreme poverty is alarming here. In Brazil, they're not in a perfect situation, but it's different and look they're better than here. What I miss the most from Brazil: 1. Friends and family. 2. The way social interactions flow more naturally and the way I know how to navigate them. 3. The weather and the huge amount of Sun we have there. 4. Tropical fruits and vegetables. 5. Speaking Portuguese. 6. How you can feel happiness in the air even though most people are facing difficulties. The conclusion so far? There is no paradise on earth. I knew this before I came, but seeing it with one's own eyes is always a good way to reassess everything in Brazil with other lenses. There is no better, just different.