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FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Fit to be Canadian

We moved to Canada in August and loved discovering the parks near our apartment. I have always enjoyed going for long walks and after the first few weeks of settling in, I decided it was time to get back to my regular brisk walks if I didn’t want to pile on the pounds. Specially since I had noticed the cravings for rich comfort food as it got colder.

The walks went well until winter set in. It was our first winter and with winter gear for kids being our first priority – jackets, scarves, hats, mitts and winter boots – boots for me came last on the list.

How bad can it be, I thought, bundling up one frosty morning before setting out on my walk in my regular sneakers.

A few minutes of slipping on the icy sidewalks convinced me to retreat inside.

How was I going to walk until I got my boots, I wondered.

That’s when my neighbour introduced me to the concept of mall walking. She offered to take me with her when she went every morning after sending her kids off to school. I wondered what the mall security’s reaction would be to people who just come in to walk around and not buy anything, but she assured me that is was almost a Canadian tradition and everyone did it. So I went with her one day and we did a few rounds of the mall. It was fun, and I quite enjoyed it, but I couldn’t really see myself doing it day after day.

When I hesitantly told my neighbour that perhaps I wasn’t the ideal candidate for mall walking, she suggested skipping.

She said that since we were lucky enough to be on the ground floor of our apartment building, I could skip without fear of disturbing neighbours.

It had been years since I skipped – in fact, not since I was a little girl, but I was willing to give it a try.

I picked up a skipping rope at the dollar store and thumped and stumbled my way to 10 skips before abandoning the idea in frustration on my first attempt. Then the next day I persevered a little longer and more on the day after that.

Slowly building my stamina and also rediscovering an old skill.

Now I skip every day and think of my skipping rope as the best two dollars I ever spent!

– Chitra Joglekar

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: Jan 2, 2017

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