10 Things I Loved & Learned about Canada
|back in 2012 - the meet-cute!|
From the first time I met Canada, I knew it had my heart. It was like when your heart wanders for such a long time and for the first time in like forever you know, this is it. You found the one. You found home. And you feel like you're pretty much settled. I knew then that our paths would someday cross again. And I was right. Now, I am here. With you. Indefinitely.
Such a romantic personification if I would describe how I have come to love the land I now call my "future" home. :)
I remember during the phone interview, after introducing myself, the interviewer asked me, "how long do you intend to stay in Canada?" And to which I had a ready answer, "for good." I could sense the surprise in his voice. But I guess somehow I got the job because of that answer. Haha.
When asked by my friends how am I doing here, I would almost always respond, "I love it here!" Oh wait. There's always a second sentence though. "Except for the cold weather! But the cold never bothered me anyway. Ha!"
I guess what captivated me most here is their culture. The way they live here. I feel grateful to be in one of the top places in the world to live in.
Here are some of the things I loved and learned in a year's time:
- I love the fact that they value the importance of family here. I got that impression with how most people would prefer spending more time at home like on a weekend. Most companies support child care too such that parents get to work on flexi time to attend to their kids. Plus the government benefits like its subsidies to children before they reach college is also a great help to parents. Canada also celebrates "Family day" as one of its national holidays.
- I find that most people here are friendly and chatty. Here you can sit in a bench for a minute and end up chatting with a complete stranger. They love small talks here. You should not be surprised if you hear someone you've just met to end your conversation with "take care!". I thought only Filipinos are fond of saying "ingat". :) And yes, please note that "how are you?" is meant to be part of the greeting by default. So on my first few months here I wondered if the other person really wants to know my answer or what. Haha! But yeah, it could also be a start of a quick chat.
- There is definitely work-life balance here! Oh yeah! Unlike in most Asian work environments, people find time to pursue their other interests besides work. There is more to life here than just work, work and work. I could say this because coming from a busy office in Singapore, I somehow was not used to being able to go home at 6:00 p.m. or when the sun is still up. Well, the sun is up until 9:00 p.m. here on summer time anyway.
- Another factor I considered when I chose Canada is its really good benefits such as the healthcare and pension plans which are mostly part of my package. True enough, I would not have to worry retiring here given that I enjoy such benefits even if I have to pay a huge amount of tax while I work. At least for me, the benefits outweigh the cost.
- Hockey is their most favorite game although Lacrosse is Canada's national game. Go Maple Leafs!!! (with the "S", shouldn't it be Maple Leaves? Haha!) You'd see the game being aired in televisions in almost everywhere you go on a Saturday night, I observed. I'd love to watch a live game soon! :)
- On summer time, people either go to patios or cottage. And also, I look forward to barbecue parties. There are just so many things people can do during summer. It's like everyone just wants to go out. Well, I guess that's because we only get 3-4 months of nice sunny weather in a year.
- People love to use "eh" (pronounced as ey) here which is considered to be uniquely Canadian. You could hear this often especially from people who are originally from here or those who have been here for a really long time.
- It is more expensive or almost as expensive to travel outside of Canada as when you travel within Canada. Geez, it's even cheaper to go from Toronto to New York than to go to Vancouver, I think! But Canada has definitely a number of wonderful places you can explore. I did visit 7 other cities in a year. I would love to go to see the Northern lights in the future.
- Canadian winter is dreadful. Haha! Describe dreadful: It is a combination of snow, ice pellets and freezing rain at -33c. Brrrr... And I learned that there is such a condition here which is common on winter. It's called SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder. True though, the cold weather somehow gets into my mood. I hate it when I can't be fashionable with my fluffy winter jackets. Haha!
- In my 1 year, I have had the chance to meet a number of people from all walks of life. And almost all would tell me how hard they had to work to earn a living. It is also common here to have double jobs to make both ends meet. People who used to have white-collar jobs back home would somehow end up doing general work or manual labor. I gathered that some had to wait for years in order to gain the needed experience before they get to work on their line of profession while others earn a decent living through however way they can. Life here is not at all easy. But it's more likely the way of life.
And today, as I celebrate my 1 year, I look back to my 365 grace-filled moments. Here's my 1 year in photos (:
As with all my other relationships, I pray for more loving years with you, Canada! I hope you lead me to my destiny! :)
P.S. Here are 10 mind-boggling facts about Canada according to Reader's Digest === > Canada Facts