So I have been in Canada for close to two months now. I come from one of those countries the American vile douchebag president Trump calls “shithole countries,” …because you know, Africa. I’m not even surprised anymore. Not even mad. I have already offered two thorough courses on modern African civilization right here so am not about to get into that right now. There’s no cure for people that deliberately choose to remain ignorant.
First big shocker: It’s November, we land at Toronto airport from Dublin, am exhausted and just want to get on with the connecting flight to Ottawa but there’s a problem somewhere with the plane we were supposed to use. Behold, that’s not even the shocker considering I come from a country where most people are late for two hours or so for anything…and that’s when they’re being polite. We call it Zambian time. Good thing is that not all African countries or people are terrible at keeping time…because you know, there are like 57 countries in Africa, each with its own distinct culture. My country folks just happen to suck at keeping time but they make up for it in many ways than one.
Back to Canada, so am trying to find my way around terminals and check-points and the shocker for me is the amount of self-service am seeing. I would later see this at malls or just about any place offering service to a large number of people. Everyone appears to be sorting themselves out everywhere while the airport stuff just sits or stands in their positions doing whatever it is they’re doing.
There are signs and posts everywhere to help you find your way but I can’t help feeling like the Canadians assume everyone that lands at the Toronto Airport is Canadian and therefore should naturally figure out what to do next. I am used to looking out for the longest queue of people waiting to be served and then asking the person at the end of the line what the queue is for and bam! am in the right spot! Not in Toronto, at least not at this point of my arrival.
The place looks so organized it makes me feel bloody uncomfortable! It’s like, I was expecting a maze or some sort of puzzle to maneuver through and when everything appears so easy, I get that gnawing feeling telling me “no, something is wrong somewhere. A storm is coming, run for your life!” LOL. But everything is okay. Of course, my flight was delayed for two hours because apparently the maintenance team ‘forgot’ to do something with the plane we were supposed to use so we had to wait for another one to be prepared for us. This was perhaps the only ‘normal’ thing to happen to me since arriving in Canada! I started to feel right at home. HAHA.
So far nothing else appears out of the ordinary around me; people wear clothes just like we do in Africa (hahaha) although I suspect we are more fashionable because am coming across people dressed in things that had no business appearing beyond the four walls of their bedrooms. The airport is obviously bigger and more advanced than the one back home but that’s not surprising. Everyone is on their mobile phones or laptops and that’s an all-too-familiar sight.
We land in Ottawa, I’m going to check-out my luggage and as am coming down the escalator I spot my very excited Canadian family. My dearest friend who happens to be my handsome brother-in-law offers me a coat and I dismissively turn him down. “Oh, no, am okay. It’s not even cold!” I quipped. Let us just say that those words would go down as the most ridiculous I would ever utter in this colder than the North and South Pole land of the Canadians! Je-Sus! I was so caught up in the excitement that I missed the looks my family was exchanging upon hearing my response.
A few minutes later we reach the airport parking lot and boom! This thick wave of coldness swept across my face and rendered me numb immediately. Images of my frozen body lying in a casket flashed through my head and immediately I ran for that coat I had rejected earlier faster than the speed of light. I don’t know what Big Shaq was trying to prove when he sang “man’s not hot” coz this girl was freezing! My family burst out laughing because they had been anxiously waiting for that reaction. Traitors…such traitors I tell you. SMH.
“Welcome to Canada!” They chorused.
The drama was just getting started. Dating, lifestyle change, weather, more dating, christmas traditions, shopping, weather, tours, infrastructure, architecture, weather, the people, weather…and weather again, family life, partying, and did I mention, the weather? LOL. This and more coming up in my part 2 of Culture Shock for the African in Canada.
*I was going to title this – ‘…for the Zambian in Canada’ but after living in these parts for a while now, every brown person somehow is identified as African simply, to hell with the name of their country. I am yet to decide whether I find that insulting or not.