Some days, I feel like I have been there forever. I left France when I was 18 and barely looked back. Going back was never really an option: call it innocence, naivety or pride, I wanted to see the world and to adopt a new country. I have been there forever.
Browsing: Life As An Immigrant
At first, just thinking that I was alone in this big continent would make my head spin. Freedom was almost intoxicating. I could be whatever I wanted, do whatever I wanted. It came with its counterparts though, fear and angst. It’s not like I had a safety net. Adapting to a new culture can be tough too.
Bono is wrong. It so doesn’t take a second to say goodbye. It takes ages, it’s painful, it’s a difficult exercise that makes me feel like a coward every single time. Am I still running away? It seems like I left a little piece of my heart in every single place I have ever been to. It seems like I made an art of abandoning people. None of that is probably true but just thinking of it just makes me sob harder.
Granted, these pictures mostly depict Chinatown… well, we all have our favorite neighborhood, right? But the country is truly diverse: traditional Chinatowns and Little Italy area can be found close by Ukrainian, Russian, South-East Asian, Latino and Indian neighborhoods, and I bet you could find a community newspaper in almost every language on earth in Canada.
Obvious Canada #1 icon: the weather. When you think of Canada, you have the mental picture of a frozen tundra. Can’t blame you, because it’s pretty accurate! Weather changes are often drastic and we can go from +40C in the summer to –40C in the winter.
I would have relaxed myself (translation: drink Diet Coke while smoking cigarettes and read forums), but as the new year is about to begin, I wanted to end 2007 on a positive note. So here are the top ten reasons I love Canada.
So, we (want) need immigrants. Preferably (young) not to old, (who won’t need any social help) educated, and (white) who will blend in easily. Oh, and (no terrorists) (preferably Catholic ) — no really, we don’t mind.
How did I get into this conversation, already ? Oh yeah, I’m on the #151 going downtown, and I took the last free sit, by a middle aged woman who was obviously bored and started up the conversation as soon as she saw me pulling a French book out of my bag. The conversation wasn’t about literature though.
Leaving France was not an obligation but just an option. A very tempting one, mind you. The world might be watching us eat, smoke and have sex with a disdainful smile, yet it casts envious eyes. But we know the other side of the story : no jobs, almost impossible to rent a place to live, a country stuck in the days of its glory.
Standing in front of a busy LCBO meant attracting all kind of weirdos. I was known as the “flower girl” and people would stop by and talk to me about their life, their kids, their problems. Without buying flowers, of course. People would first speak to me in all kind of foreign languages : Russian, Lebanese, Italian, Spanish, Greek… I guess I did look like an immigrant !
English wasn’t popular. French don’t like English much (“they put vinegar on chips and eat meat with mint sauce !”), and the relationship with the USA has always been a bit rocky (“these warmongers/ burgers-eaters !”), so there were basically no incentive to learn.
Seb, a fellow blogger, just sent me these question to answer… just keep in mind…
I used to carry my whole life in a bag. Light burden, easy to tidy…
This winter is one of the warmest so far, with barely enough snow to cover the ground. But it got cold today, with a low of – 15C, felt like – 20C.