Welcome to Canada

Dad told us to get ready, make sure you look good, we’re going to meet someone very important. So the whole family got dressed and went out to meet with a middle aged white man, at a restaurant. He’d been paid by my father to give us some insights as to what the immigration process is like going to Canada and how we can ‘tweak’ every aspect of our lives to make us ideal candidates to migrate to Canada.

I still remember hearing the work ‘Canada’, and trying to pronounce it properly. To familiarize ourselves with our new home, we bought a book on Canada, in it there was a map, lots of pictures, and the maple leaf. This was pre-google era, in Nepal, where the internet didn’t exist anywhere outside of the wealthy or well established institutions. I remember trying to capture it all, my uncle lived in New York at the time and my only source of North American information was strictly derived through Hollywood or him. I thought New York made up 90% of American, and was astonished to see that a land mass bigger than New York even existed. My mind couldn’t comprehend a ‘Canada’.

Several changes on our passports, countless interviews, and handshakes with money bands later we were packing our bags. I’d lived my whole life to that point with close family around me all the time, so the concept of moving to a far away land with nobody around me was not something I could understand. My sister had all her friends come say goodbye to her, everyone in tears. I understood at that point that women are intuitive, and sensitive creatures that are far more mature than men at any age. My grandma wouldn’t let go of me, her tears soaked my shirt. Finally I snuck past her, and ran past everyone else. Everyone was happy for us but at the same time they were crying their souls out. I remember talking to my dad as we walked up the airport stairs and telling him that I didn’t cry. He gave me a pat on the back and remarked something like ‘you’re a man now’. I called my best friend and told him I’m leaving, he said good bye, that was it.

Our first stop was in Singapore, here my dad met with his long time friend from Japan. He had travelled all the way here to give my dad some money to take to Canada to start our new life. After all we had sold all of our valuable possessions to get to this point.

We landed in Toronto, and lived our first few weeks at my uncle’s friends place. It was hard to find anyone from Nepal in Toronto at the time, so we were lucky to have found a distant friend to take us in and help us get settled. It seemed like life was going to be great.

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