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FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Newcomer feels a lot like Scrooge

As a newcomer, I made several mistakes as I learned my way around Canadian ways, however, none was worse than my faux pas one snowy December day.

Rushing home from work, I remembered I needed to pick up winter gloves for our son who had lost one of a pair at school earlier in the week. I had sent him off with a pair of woollen mitts, but I knew they were inadequate for outdoor play in the weather.

This time, I would pick several pairs, I decided, so that we would get through winter without emergency runs to the department store.

While at the store, I couldn’t find the mitts I was looking for, but spotted a hoody that I knew he would like. It was in his size, but my son was one of those tall, lanky kids whom standard sizes didn’t seem to fit. If something was long enough, it was also too wide; if it fit at the shoulders, it was bound to be too short. So I rarely bought him clothes without him being there to try them on first. However, this was on sale, and I was already there... I picked it up and asked the cashier if they would be open the next day if I needed to bring it back.

She gave me very pained look. “No, ma’am, we are not open tomorrow,” she said. The next day happened to be Christmas!

It’s not like I didn’t know that, but it had slipped my mind in the frantic rush of the day. I was relieved to remember that with Christmas break having begun, I had a few days in which to stock up on gloves. But more than anything, I was embarrassed that the cashier must have thought I came from a place where Christmas wasn’t celebrated and didn’t respect local customs.

“We celebrate Christmas in India, too – it is a public holiday in India, I’m sorry I just forgot the date...” I was fumbling for words as I tried to explain.

She took pity on me and said, “No worries. It’s a busy time for all of us. Merry Christmas!”

– Nidhi Patil

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 4, 2018

February 2020

Centennial College

Immigration Peel Canada

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