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FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Newcomer warms up to Canada

As the weather cools and we pull out the woollies, I remember  the time I asked for mufflers at a department store and was told I might find them at an auto store.

“Or Canadian Tire might carry some,” said the lady I asked for help from in locating said item. 

Why would they sell mufflers at an auto store, I wondered. I was looking for something to wrap around my throat to keep me warm! However, assuming this was how people did things in my new country and adding it to the list of new things learned, I headed to an auto store as recommended. 

Not seeing any displayed and not finding any aisle where they were likely to be, I repeated my request for help in finding mufflers. A young man pointed me down one aisle, and then helpfully, walked with me towards where he said I would find them.

“John here can help you,” he said, handing me over to another young man and walking away with a smile.

Looking around me, I still didn’t see any mufflers and was growing increasingly confused. But since everyone seemed certain I would find them here, I might as well ask, I decided.

“I was looking for mufflers,” I explained to John. 

“We have a few, what’s the make of your vehicle?” he asked.

One needed a vehicle to get a muffler in Canada? No, that didn’t seem possible, even to a brand new immigrant like myself.

“I need something to protect my throat in the winter,” I explained, covering my throat with my palm to demonstrate what I meant, for good measure.

“You mean, like a scarf?” he asked. He was now trying to cover his confusion over why I was at his department.

“Yes! A scarf!” I said, hugely relieved I had managed to convey what I needed. I know the word, of course, but used it for the light, pretty silk squares I sometimes use to dress up a plain shirt. The thick, warm comfort I want in winter came from mufflers!

Well, in Canada, those, too, are called scarves, as I discovered that day. Also that I might have been feeling cold in September, but it wasn’t yet time for the stores to put their fall/winter merchandise out. Within a few weeks, I found a ton of mufflers, er, scarves, without asking anyone for help!  



What’s your story? Every newcomer, no matter how savvy or where he or she comes from, has a Fresh Off the Plane (FOP) story to share about their early days in Canada. Do you want to share your story? E-mail it to us at canadaboundimmigrant@rogers.com.

Posted: Nov 2, 2018

February 2020

Centennial College

Immigration Peel Canada

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