Oh Canada!

How long does it take to uproot an exotic tree from South America and replant it in North America? How long does it take for its roots to strengthen so that one could consider it adapted to the new and colder environment?  I read in a magazine that in some cases it takes 19 years!!!

And how long would it take for a newcomer to completely integrate into their new country and start calling Canada home?  In addition to possible “roots issues” of a tree, we could add feelings of displacement and nostalgia, unrequited dreams, self-doubt or “did I make a mistake?”, and let’s not forget ”where would I be today if I stayed behind?”

Many career development and immigrant integration specialists believe that successful immigrants are those who have been able to fully embrace Canada. They ‘immerse themselves’ into the experience.

“Look around and see the beauty of this country!”, I say to people. When you take the bus in the morning, the bus driver says a “Good Morning” as if he was waiting especially for you to show up. Does the bus driver in your country of origin greet you like that?  Not where I come from! When an older lady is too slow at the cash register, are people in the line-up in Canada patient? And what would the people in the line-up say to both lady and the cashier in your country of origin?

Construction workers of Jockvale Bridge in Barrhaven, Ottawa, were ordered to stop when it was discovered that endangered barn swallows were nesting underneath the bridge. So the “project is now temporarily delayed and work will resume after Canada Day weekend”, said Mayor of Ottawa, Jim Watson.  Wow! How great is that?

How about the recent volunteer response in our Alberta flood zone? Canadians went to Calgary on their vacation to help flood victims! Once again, how great is that?

As immigrants, it depends on us on how soon we realize the greatness of this country, Canada. We often go back to our countries of origin for vacation and visit with relatives and we are so surprised, at least in some cases, that we do not have the same feeling for the place anymore. Well, what happened?  Have we integrated or adapted without noticing it? Have we established new roots without realizing it?

My feeling of belonging was established when the Canadian Border Officer on my way back from vacation look at my Canadian passport and said “Welcome Home”!

O Canada….Happy Birthday!

Get involved!

Build the careers of skilled immigrants and promote a global perspective in Edmonton's business community.