The big move-Part 2

Continuing about what I have been up to in Canada from the last blog..

4. Attending workshops, meeting people

Networking to find a job is big in Canada. Doing it face-to-face is obsolete, thanks to corona. Doing it online is the new way – it is like communicating with a small window instead of a person.

I met people the new way while attending various workshops through my employment consultancy. I also did a two-month Canadian Workplace Communication course which gave me an opportunity to interact with a fixed group of people over an extended period of time.

I have been in some interesting virtual rooms – with a Bangladeshi and a Pakistani, with a Ukrainian and a Russian. It was surreal. We form these impressions of people who are different than us but when we meet them, they are just humans. I met a lovely girl from Moldova. I had never heard of that country. It made me think of Genovia from Princess Diaries. I had to google it and find out where exactly it was. Some geography lessons along the way!

With things opening up and vaccination rates high, I recently decided to start meeting my online friends offline.

I met my mentor a few days ago after we had gone through the three-month mentorship program through video chats (Mentoring is one of the services offered to newcomers). I joked with him that he may have been counselling an AI and he won’t know for sure until he meets me in the real world. That convinced him!

I also made some friends offline – while volunteering and through a pre-existing friend. His friends became mine and what a diverse bunch – from Indonesia, Mexico, New Brunswick, Vietnam…It’s like taking a world tour right here in Toronto.

5. Learning new ways to cook and trying new cuisines

Back in India, an oven had never been a big part of my kitchen arsenal. In Canada, it is. I just prep the ingredients and put them in the oven. That’s it. It was an eye-opening experience when a whole chicken seasoned with just salt and pepper turned out amazing. In India, I was accustomed to using a lot of spices.

None of that process with an oven.

Pretty soon, I learnt to use it for a lot of things – cooking vegetables, different meats, cakes, and warming pre-made paranthas.

I have all the spices with me but it’s good to not use them sometimes too.

Toronto is a multicultural city , so it has a wide variety of cuisine. I have tried multiple cuisines till now – Arabian, Japanese, Dominican, Mexican, South Korean, Thai, Spanish. I now know what a papusa and tamale are and that every Latin American country has its own take on empanadas. Look at me, my tongue can say these words without cramping.

6. Celebrating Canadian festivals and holidays

I celebrated many new holidays this year and got to know new traditions –  

Easter eggs – CHECK (I celebrated it with my housemates who are Christians).

Canada Day tribute to Indigenous communities – CHECK (I went out with my relatives to the main square in Toronto where it happened).

Thanksgiving turkey – CHECK (My pre-existing friend hosted the Thanksgiving dinner).

Halloween costumes – CHECK (Pre-existing friend hosted a soiree).

At the same time, the holidays I usually celebrate were different – away from family, trying to figure out the best way to observe them here.

I recently celebrated Diwali with my relatives in Brampton and it was such a joy to sing all the hymns at the evening puja.

Diwali puja at my relatives’ place

So old traditions and some new ones.

7. Looking for a husband

This was also a running theme this year. One cannot get rid of this objective till it is done. Atleast if you are Indian. People here are surprised by what the fuss is all about.

I met a potpourri of guys – from a conspiracy theorist to another conspiracy theorist to a religious zealot. I am sure there were some not so colorful ones as well.

Some observations –

  • There is a strong undercurrent of right-wing authoritarian support in the diasporic men. One would think that people who have deliberately chosen to live in a liberal democracy will not harbor such a worldview, but here we are.
  • The men have the same priorities as they would in India – a good paying job, a house, a car. I feel like there is an element of missing the woods for the trees. I find Canada to be a magical place and staying narrowly focused on those goals and not enjoying or appreciating the magic feels like disrespecting the blessing of being here. For example: one of the guys proudly told me that he works 80 hour weeks and only goes out on Saturdays. To meet matrimonial matches. My eyes glazed over.

I believe that even finding out what I don’t want or like is a step in the right direction.

This topic deserves its own article. So, I will stop rambling about it here.

That’s a wrap for now. See you in the next article where I share my observations about life here in Canada.

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