“What do we do?” I asked, an helpless French. “There is nothing we can do,” Feng replied, the tough Canadian.
Yearly Archives: 2015
Mark is a little bit into Minions, a little bit into dinosaurs, a little bit into stars, a little bit into trucks and trains. But he is into planes a lot. “Is it appropriate to give a three-year-old a planet ticket for Christmas?” I joked one night. “Here is your next backpacking trip, from Santa with love!”
As the year draws to a close, “top something of 2015” started to pop up everywhere—top books, top news, top podcasts, top movies, top Tweets, top articles, you name it. It’s a year-end tradition.
It’s a very unusual Christmas here—we have no snow and as I’m writing this, on the 24th, it’s 17°C outside. No kidding.
With forced cheer and social gatherings, the entire month of December is a prime time of the year for the fine art of social niceties—“The turkey isn’t dry at all!”, “What a thoughtful gift!”, “I’m looking forward to seeing you at Christmas!” and “This reindeer sweater is very slimming!”.
Mark got a reply from Santa, I just got the letter. So I’m taping a piece of chocolate to it because everybody knows that Santa delivers chocolate.
For years, I advised immigrants who couldn’t find a job right away to give staffing agencies a call, at least to gain work experience in Canada. Today, I’m not sure I would give such advice.
You’ve settled in. Things are more normal, more predictable. You have a routine. But there are still 5 unexpected little pleasures that every immigrant gets to enjoy every now and then.
Tomorrow morning, I have to go buy a Christmas gift for Muhammad. No, seriously.
Sometime, I feel like I’m pitching Canada to the world. It makes me cringe.
Our words sounded needlessly adversarial. We don’t do gift giving very well at home. Or rather, we do it well without pressure, but it’s hard to buy something just because you have to buy something.
Most of the Christmas “magic” happens indoors, in malls, or in the many front yards of suburbia, where the same people who go overboard for Halloween go completely crazy for Christmas.
When I announced I was going to do the Santa letter with Mark, instead of praising my thoughtful mothering skills, Feng shrugged. “What does he understand about Christmas?”
So, it is winter yet? Well, here is a handy checklist to determine how screwed we are… ahem, I mean to find out.
Every time I go grocery shopping, I face a problem that challenges two of my “rules”: the size of packages. The cliché is true. Everything is bigger in North America.
Each country’s set of road rules has a few idiosyncrasies. In Canada, the rule I hate the most is the “right turn on red”.
You know what’s cool with tech gadgets? They fill a need you didn’t even know you had and they make you shout “wow, cool!” like a kid stumbling upon a new toy.
By the look of deep annoyance on his face, I gather that if he had the vocabulary to tell me to go to hell, he would. But he settles for the usual “GO. AWAY.”
Serious question: how do you have fun? How do you treat yourself?
After our trip to France last summer, it was hard for me to get used to the quietness of Ottawa. Except for the downtown core and the Byward Market at the height of the tourist season, most streets are deserted here.
It’s almost 1 a.m. in Canada. Seven in the morning in France. It suddenly occurs to me how unsettlingly easy it is to kill people if you want to. Just grab a weapon and shot. That’s it.
The most mundane life skills can be terrifying when you don’t yet master the language or the culture of a country.