By Rafael Najib
When my friend emailed me about this, I was a bit hesitant to say yes. Not because of my friend or the relationship we have, but because I have never done such a thing; where I have to actually set my writing and try to catch someone’s attention.
Where do I begin, where do I begin? You see, like many of us, we all think we are meant for bigger and greater things, but for myself I have realized that I am not. It was October 1998 when I first arrived here in Canada. I still remember how stressful it was being on that plane, the anxiety of actually knowing that I was going to stay in this country. As we disembarked out of the plane, I felt the cold chill in the airport; I remember that long walk that my father, my sister and I took. I was 17, many emotions were present during those moments and one of them was fear. As we approached the custom’s booth, my father answered the required questions and without any hitch, we were walking towards the arrival exit area. We were officially “landed immigrants” here in Canada.
We were greeted by my mother outside the arrival area with one of the people she had befriended. You see I don’t know if you should continue reading this, but if you do, I am sorry if it is not funny during the first few entries that I make. I had great hopes when we arrived. You see my father worked overseas all his life and my mother, sister and I stayed back home. Moving here to Canada meant that my family would be able to live together.
I don’t remember much of that first night. My family and I were really exhausted. That ride home with my mother’s friend was cold and many parts of it I kind of decided to drop it out of my memory. I should have been focusing more on my father’s expression during that ride, but never really put any meaning to it.
I remember waking up for the first day here in Canada. I slept on this brand new couch which my mother purchased on credit which I will carefully elaborate later. My mother managed to get a two bedroom apartment for us in Scarborough, and I still remember that first morning I woke up and stood and walked inside the apartment, it felt surreal. I was lost; I did not know exactly where I was. I was standing in the living room looking at these long drapes to my right. I noticed the bottom part of which looked like a door, I walked slowly towards it and parted the drapes that covered the big glass windows and the door with my hands and stood on top of this cold cement. I stared outside and looked at this brick building right across from mine. I turned the door knob and felt the coldness of the metal with my hand. As I opened the door this cold breeze whips through underneath my shirt. It almost felt like I was wearing a layer of cold air under my shirt. I stepped outside the balcony and saw the parking lots, with cars in them, and took in my first impression of Canadian life….
(To be continued)