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  • Amazing story of my eventful first year in Canada


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    Air Canada brought us promptly and efficiently to Calgary International Airport. I had decided to land in Alberta because I am an Engineer and heard that it would be easy to find a job and get settled quickly. My visa showed Toronto as my destination in Canada but there is no problem if you land in any other city.

    I knew absolutely nobody in Calgary. I arrived here in the warm days of June. The year was 1999. I had my two kids also with me.

    I was excited and a bit apprehensive too. I had brought the C$14000 as recommended by the visa process. This money is very useful for helping you get started with your new life in Canada in the first six months. "Welcome to Calgary!" the sweet voices said as we completed our paperwork at the immigration counters.

    We took a taxi from airport to a cheap motel (I had phoned the motel from India and made arrangement for my first few days accomodation). The taxi driver charged 25 bucks for the trip - thats a lot of money when you multiply by 30. The motel charged 300 for the first week. I started looking for a phone booth as soon as I reached here to call my parents in India. I phoned them and informed them of my safe arrival in Calgary - it cost 20 dollars to speak for 8 minutes - very expensive phone call. The motel room had a kitchnette so we bought bread, butter, milk and such things from the grocery store to get some food for the kids and ourselves.

    Next day and everday for next few days, after studying the phone book and city maps, I took a bus to downtown and started my SIN and other procedures, looking for work and also look for an apartment for rent. I found a resume centre where I made my first Canadian style resume and started visiting the offices in downtown and handing it over to the receptionists of engineering companies and manpower agencies. At the same time I was searching for an apartment. Most of the buildings did not allow kids (they were adults only buildings). I found an apartment which allowed families so decided to finalize it. They asked for security deposit and 3 months' rent in advance - which I decided to pay with a heavy heart as I was still looking for work and my balance of 14000 was going down very fast, it was a gamble with my and my families life.

    I moved to the apartment and started my new life in downtown, it was easy to stay in downtown and look for work. I continued to look for work and contacting our Indian people whereever I got a chance. I found some very nice people here in Calgary who guided me and helped me.

    My job search was going on but I did not get much response. My money was disappearing very fast as we bought a few items of furniture and grocery for kitchen. I decided to take a night duty labour job and started working in a warehouse for minimum wages (under 7 dollars per hour). I decided to work night-shift so as to keep myself available during day-time for job-search.

    After working for two months in night shifts, I got a phone call from an engineering company for an interview. I was overjoyed! I was interviewed, the interview went very well. They said that they will let me know in a few days. Next day, I got a call from them!! I was hired!!! It has been 3 years now I am working for the same company.

    This is my amazing story - I welcome your questions and comments!

     


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