As the saying goes, time really flies when you’re enjoying. Six months ago, we landed in a cold and unfamiliar country called Canada. We’ve been waiting for this since that day in EDSA. We were excited, nervous and to some extent, afraid. Having a job before arriving here somehow alleviates our doubts and fears.
Our First Few Weeks in Canada
Mainly, our first few weeks in Canada is the getting-to-know stage. We have to finish most of the post landing activities in two weeks since I have to start work after that. We made friends along the way. In my opinion, building your network may it be in work and personal will help you a lot during your adjustment period. Reaching out to relatives, friends, friend of friends and looking for a community are some of the ways to build your network.
We also squeezed in a few trips to some of the nearby tourist spots in Toronto. We went to the CN Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium and Toronto Centre Island. The three of us braved the cold and visit nearby towns and malls that are easily reachable by public transportation.
After Six Months
As permanent residents (PR) in Canada, we have accomplished the following in six months:
- Secured our Social Insurance Number (SIN)
- Applied for a new comer bank account and credit card
- Got a G1 driver license (I failed my first road test and hopefully I will pass the second one)
- Applied for Child Tax benefit (CTB) previously
Having a car here in Canada is a need especially for people who live outside Toronto. We are very blessed to have found work and our home in the City so having a car is really not needed for now. Going outside of the city is hard and expensive though. We are lucky to have good friends who are always willing to give us a ride.
Owning our own home is really not an option in the next three years as prices of real estate here in Toronto are really high. Monthly rent is a little bit high too, but it depends on location. Our monthly hydro (electricity rates) is almost the same with what we are paying in the Philippines. Water and heating (during the cold months) is covered by our monthly rental fee.
The farthest we have been in Canada is in Niagara which is around 140 km from Toronto. It’s as far as our trip from Manila to Tayabas Quezon in the Philippines, only it took us only 1.5 hours to go there compared to the usual 4 hours in the Philippines. The Niagara Falls is so majestic that you can stare at it for hours without getting bored.
We have seen and experienced three seasons already (spring, summer and fall). In the past few weeks, we have been busy completing our winter gears. Most of these items such as the winter jackets and boots are expensive but there are a lot of discounted items available all year round so Karen (my wife) is always on the lookout for them.
Living in Canada has been a really good experience for us so far. Except for the times when we miss our loved ones in the Philippines, most of the days here are fun because of friends and the good people that surround us. You can only repay other people’s kindness by paying it forward. I can’t wait for the time when I’ll be the one helping new comers here in Canada just like the way our friends helped us.
We are looking forward to seeing real snow, although as per the people here, we’ll enjoy it for the first few days and hate it the rest of our stay here. We’ll decide after we’ve done an obligatory snow angel picture.
I’m also looking forward to weekend trips which are really hard to do when you have a toddler, you only have a student license and you have no car. God willing, I’ll get my G2 by end of November.
In five years, I’m hoping to have my own car, my own home, become a citizen and have my own business here. As per our first host here, “Canada is good country for hardworking people” and I plan to work hard enough so most, if not all of my experiences and stories looking back will be a good one.