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Newcomer learns the rules of the game

Summer seems to be the birthday party season in Canada – our grandkids attend one every week. It’s all a lot of fun. Lots of food, balloons and often, a pinata, are common to all these parties.

A pinata is a large colourful bag made of paper or thin plastic filled with candy that kids hit with a stick to break. I am including the description for those who may be unaware of  what a pinata is – just  like us when we moved to Canada many years ago.

At our grandson’s recent birthday party, they had a pinata and the kids had a great time, whacking away at it and grabbing the candy that poured out. A lady who had accompanied her daughter to the party laughed and shared a tale that brought back so many memories of our own days as newcomers. She, too, had decided a pinata was a great idea for their son’s birthday party one year, she said. Except that they were new to the country, and she had no idea that pinatas had to be filled with candy by the people who purchased them – they didn’t come filled with treats.

“It never occurred to us that they come empty,” she said with a laugh. “It’s not so light, you know, and it makes a shhhh-shhh sound when you shake it.”

So they strung it up and called the kids over to have a go at it. Which they did, with great enthusiasm. The pinata began to break, but no candy fell out.

“My friend looked at me and asked jokingly, ‘You did remember to fill it, right?’”

“Fill it? Fill it with what?” the lady said the asked her friend in return.

“Oh my gosh! You didn’t!” exclaimed her friend, realization dawning.

“And all these kids were standing there, looking up expectantly at the pinata, waiting for the candy,” said the lady.

By now other parents at the party were also listening in to the story.

“I also thought they come pre-filled,” admitted one.

“Oh, thank you, so I am not the only one!” exclaimed the lady sharing her story. “Even after all these years I can recall the kids’ faces and my panic. I am so grateful that I had bought a good amount of candy for the loot bags and had a lot left over. I asked the kids to excuse us for a few minutes as we prepared a surprise. I ran inside, grabbed the candy, asked my husband to lower the pinata, and stuffed it. Then we called the kids back and this time, when they hit it, candy fell out! And thankfully, they were all too charged with the fun they were having to ask what the ‘surprise’ was. After all, a pinata is supposed to shower candy, right?”                                                                                                                                                                                              – Aditi Murthy


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: Aug 1, 2019

May 2020

Centennial College

Immigration Peel Canada

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