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Newcomer tells it like it is

After coming to Canada I learned that telephone manners or etiquette varies from country to country. Or if not the etiquette itself, the words used to convey availability.I came to Canada as an international student many years ago and when a new friend I made at college would call, saying, “Do you have a few minutes to chat? Are you busy?” I would respond with, “No, tell me.”Which, of course, is a literal translation of the Hindi phrase, “Nahin, bolo”,  which is what one says in India when someone calls and asks if you have a few minutes to chat.It is the common, accepted response which no one even thinks about. It is just something we say before launching into a...


Posted: Nov 1, 2017



Newcomer opens the door to a new experience

In our first few months in Canada, I did something totally uncharacteristic. I opened the door to two strangers and invited them in to taste the pulao I had just finished making after they commented on how good it smelled!Now this, as anyone will tell you, is not the most sensible, safe thing to have done. Not something anyone who grew up in a large city in India would ever do. It happened thus: We lived in one of those bungalows with the kitchen right up in front of the house. You opened the front door and basically walked into the kitchen. When I had expressed concern about the layout, our real estate agent had explained that most older homes had that – that it was a way of...


Posted: Oct 2, 2017



FRESH OF THE PLANE: Newcomer learns to fit in

Strange as it may seem to many people reading this, I didn’t grow up with fitted sheets. It was a whole new concept for me – so much so that while I loved the way they stretched over the edges of a mattress and made making beds so much easier, I thought of the flat sheets (the kind I was used to back in India) as an extra, a bonus!I always wondered, though, why the two sets of sheets came with only one set of pillow cases or shams as I learnt they are called here. I took to buying an extra set of plain ones to go with the second sheet. And would have continued doing this, blissfully unaware of the flat sheet’s real purpose if a friend hadn’t complained about being given a blanket...


Posted: Sep 6, 2017



Newcomer learns new skills

When we were very new in Canada, my husband got his academic credentials assessed before beginning his job hunt, but I put aside mine for later. Money was tight and in any case, I needed to be home with our kids as we couldn’t afford day-care if I took up a minimum-wage job.I had every intention of getting it done within a few months of my husband finding a job. But that turned into a couple of years. By then, with the kids in full day school, I had applied for and been selected as a telemarketer.With good language skills, I thought I’d be okay. But I wasn’t too sure if I could sell, never having attempted to do so earlier. But I thought it was worth a try and discovered I had a...


Posted: Aug 2, 2017



FRESH OF THE PLANE: Newcomer leaves a paper trail

When we were still very new in Canada, a neighbour in our apartment complex invited us to his place for dinner. It would be an opportunity to meet other neighbours as they would invite a few others as well to the balcony BBQ, he said. I told my friend at work about this, excited at the prospect of meeting others and quite struck by how friendly everyone was in Canada. He agreed it was a welcoming society and told me that I should not forget to take a “hostess” gift. The concept was new to me and needed some explaining. A hostess gift, he said, was something small but nice that one took to thank the host for the invitation. He suggested a bottle of wine or...


Posted: Jul 1, 2017



FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Learning to “speak Canadian”
Posted: May 30, 2017


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Newcomer finds answer to a burning question
Posted: Apr 30, 2017


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Friend points newcomer in the right direction
Posted: Apr 3, 2017


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Mystery solved for newcomer
Posted: Mar 2, 2017


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Newcomer lands in hot water
Posted: Jan 31, 2017


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Fit to be Canadian
Posted: Jan 2, 2017


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Lessons I learnt about the Salvation Army
Posted: Dec 1, 2016


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Newcomer shows neighbour how to think inside the box
Posted: Nov 1, 2016


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Newcomer loses them at hello
Posted: Oct 4, 2016


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: An egg-cellent idea!
Posted: Sep 1, 2016


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: A comedy of errors
Posted: Aug 7, 2016


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: A comedy of errors
Posted: Aug 7, 2016


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Message in a bottle
Posted: Jul 4, 2016


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Newcomer learns about plants that pop up like weeds
Posted: Jun 1, 2016


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Newcomer learns to talk shop
Posted: May 4, 2016


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Tax season is not taxing for newcomer
Posted: Apr 1, 2016


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Newcomer learns Canadianisms
Posted: Feb 29, 2016


FRESH OFF THE PLANE Newcomer finds silver lining
Posted: Feb 2, 2016


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Newcomer lands in a semantic soup
Posted: Jan 5, 2016


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: How did everyone know newcomer was going home for the holidays?
Posted: Dec 1, 2015


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Wishing you a bright and prosperous Halloween!
Posted: Nov 1, 2015


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Newcomer learns to let go
Posted: Sep 30, 2015


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Miscommunication!
Posted: Sep 1, 2015


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Newcomer feels the heat
Posted: Aug 1, 2015


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Happy Canada Day, eh!
Posted: Jun 29, 2015


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Sharing a birthday with queen gets a little confusing for newcomer
Posted: Apr 28, 2015


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Newcomer learns a lesson in Canadian etiquette
Posted: Mar 30, 2015


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Newcomer moves ahead without being pushy
Posted: Mar 2, 2015


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Newcomer can’t believe her eyes!
Posted: Feb 3, 2015


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Home truths about Canada’s culinary diversity
Posted: Jan 4, 2015


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Newcomer bites into a new tradition
Posted: Dec 3, 2014


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Newcomer goes nuts
Posted: Nov 3, 2014


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Newcomer gets spooked!
Posted: Sep 30, 2014


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: A walk in the park
Posted: Sep 1, 2014


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: No silly questions, only silly answers
Posted: Jul 29, 2014


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Newcomer learns to let kids be kids
Posted: Jun 30, 2014


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Newcomer in a pickle!
Posted: Jun 2, 2014


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: A lesson for a rainy day
Posted: Apr 30, 2014


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Mystery solved for new Canadian!
Posted: Mar 5, 2014


Newcomer makes a clean sweep
Posted: Feb 4, 2014


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Newcomer develops a taste for lemons
Posted: Jan 2, 2014


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Ho! Ho! Ho! And a hearty Christmas dinner!
Posted: Dec 4, 2013


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: A Canadian cross-connection!
Posted: Oct 30, 2013


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: She had heard of arranged marriages, but what’s a ‘love marriage’?
Posted: Oct 2, 2013


Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary among the best 10 cities in the world
Posted: Oct 2, 2013


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Lost in translation!
Posted: Sep 5, 2013


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Going with the flow
Posted: Jul 31, 2013


Premier Wynne meets India's High Commissioner as Ontario creates opportunities for newcomers
Posted: Jul 31, 2013


Newcomer finds bows and arrows in multicultural Canada
Posted: Jul 3, 2013


Canada trolls Silicon Valley for entrepreneurs
Posted: Jul 3, 2013


Welcome to our open house
Posted: Jun 5, 2013


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Newcomer parks his confusion
Posted: May 1, 2013


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Same English word, different Canadian meaning
Posted: Apr 3, 2013


Canadian Immigrant Integration Program helps newcomers succeed
Posted: Apr 3, 2013


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: I landed in Canada with my old fears
Posted: Mar 3, 2013


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Newcomer gets the nod
Posted: Jan 31, 2013


Strengthening Canada’s international student program
Posted: Jan 31, 2013


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Going potty in a new community
Posted: Dec 31, 2012


Canada’s new Skilled Trades Stream begins accepting applications
Posted: Dec 31, 2012


FRESH OFF THE PLANE:The day I found a doctor on a road!
Posted: Dec 4, 2012


More immigrants to be admitted through Canadian Experience Class
Posted: Dec 4, 2012


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Learning experience on tap
Posted: Oct 31, 2012


Revised Federal Skilled Worker program unveiled
Posted: Oct 31, 2012


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Winds of change
Posted: Oct 2, 2012


Why Canada is the destination of choice for international students
Posted: Oct 2, 2012


The other side of the new arrival story
Posted: Sep 4, 2012


Monument honours a community’s arrival in Canada
Posted: Sep 4, 2012


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Finding my way around
Posted: Aug 1, 2012


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Newcomer indulges in turf wars
Posted: Jul 4, 2012


Immigrants celebrate Canada Day with pride
Posted: Jul 4, 2012


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: I turned our driveway into a skating rink
Posted: May 30, 2012


Canada transforms economic immigration
Posted: May 30, 2012


Green behind the ears
Posted: May 2, 2012


Beware of immigration fraudsters
Posted: May 2, 2012


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Little boys’ room
Posted: Apr 2, 2012


Ontario’s first-ever immigration strategy
Posted: Apr 2, 2012


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Newcomers taken for a ride!
Posted: Feb 29, 2012


Language plays a role in finding success in Canada
Posted: Feb 29, 2012


Sticker shock in Canada
Posted: Feb 1, 2012


Ontario seeks input from newcomers, small businesses
Posted: Feb 1, 2012


Show him the money!
Posted: Jan 3, 2012


Canada will invest $2816 for every new immigrant this year
Posted: Jan 3, 2012


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Eidi for Christmas!
Posted: Dec 1, 2011


Bringing the world’s best and brightest to Canada
Posted: Dec 1, 2011


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Feeling at home at the public library
Posted: Nov 2, 2011


South Asian faces in Canadian elections
Posted: Nov 2, 2011


Newcomer caught in time warp
Posted: Oct 6, 2011


Pilot project attracts more working families to British Columbia
Posted: Oct 6, 2011


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Checking out Mrs Agha
Posted: Aug 31, 2011


More international doctors are choosing Ontario
Posted: Aug 31, 2011


FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Washroom, bathroom, same difference
Posted: Aug 5, 2011


New Canadians welcomed at special Canada Day citizenship ceremony
Posted: Aug 5, 2011


The day my neighbour led me up the garden path
Posted: Jul 1, 2011


New research report finds more visible minorities in leadership positions
Posted: Jul 1, 2011


Birthday parties, Canadian-style
Posted: Jun 2, 2011


In 2010, Canada welcomed the most immigrants in 50 years
Posted: Jun 2, 2011


How I embarrassed myself!
Posted: Apr 30, 2011


Why Canada is celebrating the Year of India in 2011
Posted: Mar 31, 2011


The stamp of a newcomer
Posted: Mar 31, 2011


The day I mistook a neighbour for househelp
Posted: Mar 4, 2011


Cricket has a long history in Canada
Posted: Mar 4, 2011


The day my dad called 911...for India!
Posted: Jan 6, 2011


Warming Up To Canada
Posted: Dec 4, 2010


Twelve outstanding Canadians receive Citizenship Award
Posted: Nov 14, 2010


I now wear a poppy with pride but there was a time I was not aware of its significance
Posted: Nov 14, 2010


Almost half of all newcomers to Canada choose to settle in Toronto
Posted: Nov 14, 2010


The friendly customs officer took a load off my mind
Posted: Oct 16, 2010


New immigrants contribute to the changing face of Canada
Posted: Oct 16, 2010


New rules to strengthen Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program
Posted: Sep 3, 2010


Who was that stranger on the cold, dark night?
Posted: Sep 3, 2010


I grabbed our valuables and ran
Posted: Aug 6, 2010


Study reveals new Canadians at higher risk of drowning
Posted: Jul 25, 2010


Adults with newly diagnosed diabetes at risk of liver disease
Posted: Jul 25, 2010


Life expectancy in Canada
Posted: Jul 25, 2010


Weight and children with developmental coordination disorder
Posted: Jul 25, 2010


How to reduce the risk of food borne diseases
Posted: Jul 25, 2010


Career change spells success
Posted: Jul 2, 2010


I felt we were home
Posted: Jul 1, 2010


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