Friday, June 3, 2011

First impressions

Canada is a beautiful country, everywhere I look I see green, well kept parks, children playgrounds, cute houses that almost look the same but with different flowers in front...The weather is not what I am used to for this time of year, it's colder than it was back there where we came from, we are wearing jackets in the middle of June while others go around in short sleeves and shorts.We are getting used to everything, the weather, the money, the food and our new neighbourhood. And we need some time because everything is sooo different.
 At first sight people here drive nice cars and live in expensive houses that are quickly put together from pre made wooden parts and all look alike.Most of the houses and cars are decorated with another country's flag to show where they came from, yet they are all Canadians.
We got lost several times when we went walking because it all looked the same.
Back in Serbia we were at the same poverty level as 90% of people around us, only a few were doing good and having more than others and that was noticeable, here we are the lowest level of society, almost zeros, no money but what little we have brought and it melts away very quickly, no work and no Canadian experience that would allow us to get work, and not to forget the fact that we can throw our credentials in trash.
 The only thing we have is good language knowledge and will to succeed in what ever we have to do to save our family and child.
My husband found his first survivor job two weeks after we landed, our host and landlord connected us with some of his friends that helped my husband get that minimum wage 12 hour shift job.
My son just turned one and I stayed at home with him.I used to be a teacher, I have kindergarten teacher diploma from my old country too, I know several languages, he has two diplomas too as a chemistry technician and master of informatics.It took us a lot of money and effort to get this education, both of us were one of the best in our classes and finished in time with high grades, and yet this doesn't seem to matter here, it served us well only to get the famous 67 points, visas and tickets out of there.
The costs of living vary, prices are different in different stores, sometimes it can be several dollars more or less for a product , and when your funds are limited you have to be careful. Nowadays you can see most of the Canadian prices over the Internet, I use fliers that come once a week to plan my shopping and save money and I think that Price Chopper and Wallmart are the most favourable to my pocket, when I can I buy most of my fruits and vegetables in Chinese stores because they have great choice and low prices.
I've met a lot of different people here who gave me some god advice, some even gave me stuff for the apartment and clothes. They told me we should stay away from people who take every chance to talk badly about this place, because they live in misery and that they'll drag us into it, many are homesick and don't realize the fact that the moment you enter that plane your home is not what you remember, things have changed and so have you.
If you wish to adapt and not to become miserable you'll have to do so and fight every single day, don't ever forget why you came here in the first place.
I am not a religious person,  I believe that we should do good , be kind to others and leave better world to our children, I don't believe in bearded guys up there who wait to punish you for your mistakes, I believe that every good person carries some sort of God in his hart and lives how his heart tells him to. That is why we never went to church.Church is not were God is, church is full of people and people are tricky, well, there is one good news for a newcomer who is willing to go there, you can get your connections and networking started there, get to know someone who knows someone who could help you with a job and so on...
Once you start working you will feel more secure when it comes to financial survival, but it will be hard until you fit in Canadian work culture. People here work a lot, sometimes they have to work overtime, they barely get to see their families but at least they get paid for that and can provide for themselves.
Canadian government donates to families with children every month certain amount of money for so called child benefit.There are also some other payments you will be entitled to.
if you can't find work and have no money you can apply for welfare and social housing.
There are many settlement organizations one of them is YMCA that will help you with anything you may need in your own language if necessary.
Go to the nearest library and join- it's free, you'll get internet and computer access, help, books, newspapers everything you need.