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As I sit here, after twenty years in Canada and think of a life well lived. I think of our struggles as a family when we landed, my teenage kids trying to grasp this change and my wife and I trying to get jobs commensurate with our experience. We both started several rungs down, but in a year were slowly moving up as our work was appreciated. A few months after we landed, we became mentors to newcomers in a national federally funded program that has unfortunately since closed. And that became my key to success.
My first employers, who I always call my first Canadian family, were much more than employers. They gave us helpful tips on a range of topics from inexpensive car repairs to handling a fourteen-year old’s rebellion. I will be meeting with them this weekend for Christmas. They provided the warmth that insulated us from the cold winters, something that was very alien after Dubai’s 40C heat!
They were not the only Canadians who took us into their hearts and homes. Our landlord would pull out maps (yes, this is pre-GPS days!) and tell us to pack a picnic basket and spend the day discovering this wonderful country.
And my many mentors, who so selflessly gave their time and expertise to help us succeed in this country.
Which is why I say if you have warm loving friends, it cannot be cold outside!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

P.S. Something all of you should be aware of this Christmas. Alcohol or Marijuana consumption could create serious residency issues if you are not a Canadian Citizen. Be careful!

New Marijuana, impaired driving penalties could bar newcomers from Canada