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FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Counting down to a newcomer’s error

Prior to coming to Canada, I had never seen an Advent calendar, it being an unfamiliar concept where I come from. When I saw one at a store – it was steeply discounted a few days before Christmas – I thought it was a fun gift idea for neighbours’ children, being filled with candy and all!

My colleague had told me that neighbours exchange small gifts at Christmas and I bought several, pleased at having saved a good amount of money in the process.

Come Christmas, I delivered these calendars along with some home-baked cookies to our neighbours. They all thanked me for the gesture, and presented me with gifts for our family in turn. But I thought I caught a couple of the intended recipients, the kids, looking at me strangely.

After the Christmas break, I thanked my colleague for having told me what to do at Christmas and told her about my finding the Advent calendars at a great price.

“But you gave those at the beginning of the month, not for Christmas, right?” she asked, looking a little concerned.

“Well, no,” I said, feeling concerned in turn. “I thought you said to do so at Christmas, so that’s what I did. Are you supposed to give things in the beginning of the month, too?”

“No, Rekha,” she responded. “Not unless you are giving Advent calendars!”

And that’s how I learned that the little windows or sections on Advent calendars are meant to be opened one day at a time for the month leading up to Christmas!

                                                                                                                                 – Rekha Shah


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: Dec 3, 2019

March 2020

Centennial College

Immigration Peel Canada

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