When I was a kid growing up in a boring rural town in Pennsylvania, I always wondered how it was that out of all the cities and towns across the country we ended up in that one. The town did not boast high incomes, sunny weather, world class museums, or even a McDonald’s. In fact, its only unique qualities were that it had a large Amish population and it smelled like shit — apparently shit makes for great fertilizer. Now, looking back, the answer to why we were there was pretty obvious. By the time we arrived in Pennsylvania, we already had three aunts, two cousins and many more ‘paisanos’ my parents knew from Mexico living in the area. I now know this is a pretty typical immigration pattern; perhaps this is how you ended up where you are now, too.
This, however, is not how it will likely work out for you when you move to Canada. If you are like us, you will likely be the first in your family to move to Canada. You will be a trailblazer. It sounds exiting, and it is, but it can also be a lonely affair. My husband and I are very lucky in that we had each other, so we have been insulated from the loneliness that comes from being a new immigrant. But I can still see how easy it would be to become isolated — especially during winter, when the frigid temperatures coax us to stay home.
To fight isolation I suggest you try everything: joining clubs, gyms, volunteering, and anything else you can think of. I am sure some of you are naturally gifted at these sort of endeavors, but not all of us are, and some of us need help. So I have something to ask of you. Will you be a friend?
I recently created a Facebook group to help identify those of us who have already moved to Canada. I want to create a network of friends across different cities, to be each other’s community. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was someone you could reach out to in the city you are moving to and get some tips on what neighborhoods you should live in? Or take you out for lunch on your first week? You probably won’t have that, it is still early, but you could be that person for someone else.
The group on Facebook is private, and it’s got a neutral, nondescript name so that it keeps your DACA status on the down low. It’s called “the Leaf Network” . Once you join the group, make sure to answer the poll so we all know which step of the process you are in, and also leave a post introducing yourselves and whether you’re willing to be a resource if you’re already in Canada.
P.S.If you move to Calgary, send me and email and I promise you a glass of some local brew, bubble tea, or whatever strikes your fancy.