My first year as Immigrant in Canada
So, I’ve completed my first year in Canada – without a whimper. Happy first anniversary to me! And now without further ado, here’s a customary list of only a few of many, many things that I’ve come to see, like, love and dislike in this great country. Please note that this is a very incomplete list, and I may add, retract, revise or improve on any item – for of course, I take the liberty of a dumb newbie, as always.
THINGS THAT I’VE COME TO LIKE IN CANADA
- The weather
Yes, surprise surprise, eh! Even though I hail from a part of the world known for its extremely hot, humid and long, long 10-month summers. I absolutely love the experience of all four seasons in their full bloom, having experienced my first winter thoroughly (as blogged earlier.) True, it could be because I live in relatively warm Southern Ontario, especially the warmer Toronto area, but to all those American stereotypes: It ain’t that bad at all.
- The politeness of people
This goes to all Canadians that I’ve met and the following is just a scale in terms of relativity because even the impolite are much politer than what I’ve known from the past. On a general Cinnik scale, I rate an average 3rd+ generation Canadian woman as the politest. In men, the politest I’ve encountered are, surprisingly, the average 2nd+ generation Joe on the street, mostly, more surprise, a blue-collar worker. To the curious, my idea of calculating their ‘generation’ is the level of their Canadian accent.
- The vast, green landscape
Of what little I’ve seen, of course.
- The lakes and the conservation effort
The fishing experience and the nice atmosphere around the lakes – magical.
- Cultural diversity
Greater Toronto area is rightfully regarded as one of the most culturally, racially and ethnically diverse metropolis in the world. It must be a social scientist’s heaven to study and prove how such a melting pot of cultures and peoples can live in such harmony. You must be here to see what I mean. Kudos.
THINGS THAT I’VE COME NOT TO APPRECIATE MUCH
Note: most of the following are my own opinions, granted, from a limited experience and interaction, but nevertheless, have been the experience, so do forgive me for coming down a bit harsh.
- The outright contempt of property managements…
…and their representatives towards their tenants – bordering on just plain rude behaviour in a day to day interaction. It all seems like someone somewhere forgot that not everyone owns, operates or lives in a mortgaged or owned property and the local laws are quite complicated and, in my bias opinion, heavily tilted towards the big property management companies. Strange, indeed.
- Limited, expensive and heavily ‘gimmicked’ telecommunications services
From land phones to mobile phones to simple Internet usage, there are astonishingly few choices (like, 2?). The ones that are there, it seems they are just a cartel of common interests, ensuring that anything remotely beneficial to the consumer must be burdened with at least a dozen fine-printed catches. Surprising amounts appearing in your bills are so common, no one actually takes any notice and everyone around happily accepts them with a shrug, as if all consumers are somehow profit-sharing owners of these companies, or like parents smiling and shrugging off an erring child. I just don’t understand it.
- Strange work ethics and sloth
Nothing will be completed unless it takes a day or a full bloated eight hour shift – minimum. Disguised as ‘standard operating procedures’, even fixing a little utility glitch must take at least a few days: inspecting, evaluating, processing, checking, double-checking, testing, reporting etc. More paperwork than actual work. And to add to that, a whole slew of ‘supporting’ services and personnel must be involved from a variety of different government and contractual professions, making a simple fix look like a disaster of behemoth proportions. On official levels, a ‘two-to-three-weeks’ is a standard time for just about anything. Amazing.
- The ‘greener’ transport joke
Everyday there are stories about ‘going green’ or ‘environmental impact’ or such. And yet, whenever a proposal is made to make mass transit bigger and better, there are strong reactions citing huge public expenditure. The public transport system on the face of it looks and appears beautiful, big and thriving, but you must be a user of it to see the cracks in the system, not a suburban dweller driving to work and going back home using the same freeway. Everyone wants to drive. Local transit, to me, seems just like a ‘nice service to put on roads’ rather than actually making people switch to it. The transit schedules, frequency and speeds especially in suburbs are the strangest and actually deter people from using them in the first place.
More to follow as my Canadian life continues into another year.
First Published: May 30th, 2007