I never forgot Canada

I never forgot Canada. By Carolina Botelho

Automatic translation from Portuguese by Google Translate (not edited)

In 1970, I was five years old and lived in Rio de Janeiro. I remember it was a rainy Sunday with no beach. Thus, there were not many options for good programs. It looked like the day was going to be long, but in a burst of excitement, one of my older sisters had an excellent idea. He invited me to watch a children’s film that had just premiered. As I had never been to the cinema, the proposal caused me a great stir. My heart was pounding and my face was pure happiness!

Who is more or less of my time, must remember that going to the cinema was a special program and gave us the opportunity to wear new clothes. For this reason, my sister recommended that I go with my favorite skirt: red. And to make it a good match, I separated a blouse, which I had just received as a gift: white. That way, he taught me that red and white were the colors of the Canadian flag, which was exactly where the movie we were going to see was taking place. At that moment, together with the emotion of the first film of my life, the desire to visit this country came to me one day.

Arriving at the cinema, the size of the screen was my first surprise. Occupying an entire wall, he showed me giant images. In addition, the bright lights and beautiful color of the film contrasted with the darkness of the rest of the room. The most important thing, however, was that all this created atmosphere came with an invitation for me to release my imagination.

The title of the film, by itself, was already very suggestive for a small child: “My Enchanted Mountain” ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Side_of_the_Mountain_(film) . As my sister had indicated, the story was set in Canada. A 12-year-old boy was the main character. Toronto city resident , he loved the wild nature. One beautiful day, fueled by the desire to be a researcher, Sam decided to leave for the Appalachian Mountains, facing there ferocious bears and snowstorms.

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For me, however, what Sam was experiencing on the screen was mixing with my own games and inventions. The involvement grew to the point that, after a certain moment, I was no longer just a spectator, but also the protagonist of the adventure. Whoever walked the mountains, watched animals and learned about the local culture was no longer Sam: it was me!

As I write this chronicle, I realize the importance of that moment of childhood, throughout my life. That’s because, as an adult, I studied biodiversity, worked with tropical forests and met different people in different places in Brazil and the world. I notice, in this process, that, in different ways, the slender pines added to the leafy jequitibás; the ferocious mountain bears, the communicative forest monkeys and the cold snowstorms, the torrential rains of the tropics. It is so evident that, after so long, I had not forgotten Canada.

Today, those five years old of mine have already evolved to more than fifty. That sister of mine who introduced me to the enchantments of the film, has lived in Toronto for decades. And my opportunity to travel to Canada, finally arrived in 2017. I gathered some money, took a vacation from work and left to visit the place that had captivated me as a child. You can imagine, then, that in the face of such a special program, there was no lack of new clothes in my suitcase! Much less, fond memories of childhood adventures.