Holly: English Girl, Canadian Man
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Canada, etc.
Hi! My name is Holly, I am a British expat who moved to Canada eighteen months ago to be with the man I love!
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I first began blogging a couple of days before I moved to Canada. I had thought about blogging for some time, but had never before had anything interesting to write about! I began to write initially for friends and family at home. I wanted them to know how I feel, but following that it was because of the great expat community, with whom I find great understanding and solace.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
I enjoy writing about my experiences as an expat (as well as some crafty and travel type posts), because I hope to be a source of help and information to other people considering an expat life.
- In this post, I wrote about the stages of becoming an expat, followed by an “Exploration of self-esteem as an expat”.
- In this popular post, I wrote specifically about “How to deal with homesickness”.
- In this post, I discussed “One of the creative ways in which I cope with having a long distance relationship with the members of my family”.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
Absolutely! Probably the most embarrassing one occurred when I was working in my first job in Canada. I gained employment as a personal caregiver – this is not what I am trained to do, however I had a lot of experience with caring for children and young adults with a variety of special needs – both physical and intellectual. In this case, I was providing care for a lady with physical difficulties.
One day, whilst I was cooking dinner (I learned a lot about cooking with her, she was quite the chef), she asked me whether I could pull up her pants. I obliged, this was after all my responsibility, so I reached around this poor lady and hoiked up her undergarments until she squealed and I stopped, wondering what was wrong!
Turns out I had forgotten that vital difference – pants in Canada don’t mean knickers, they mean trousers. I had gone and given my boss a wedgy and I was mortified!
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Canada?
- Be prepared both in terms of information and financial resources. Lawyers cannot be trusted to have your best interests at heart and they may not do what you expect them to do. I would suggest, even if you do get a lawyer, to research immigration on the CIC website, on blogs and forums and keep up to date with all information. Try to have more money than you think you will need. There are always hidden costs!
- Be prepared for homesickness. Make sure that you have considered how you will be able to contact people back home. Find out how they prefer to keep in touch – some people don’t like email, some people don’t like snail mail, some people have an aversion to social media. Find out exactly how best to keep in touch with people. Think about how you can make new friends, where to get food from home in case you miss it too much, etc.
- There are stages of development for expats – the honeymoon period, the culture shock period, the homesickness period and the assimilation period, followed finally by the mastery period. Ensure that you research each of these stages and understand why you might be experiencing whatever emotions you experience in each stage, as well as how to potentially alleviate them.
How is the expat community in Canada? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
Canada is one of the most multi-cultural countries in the World. I have met many, many expats from all over the World, each with a different story or view point and each one with something to teach me. The best community I have found by far, though, has been the blogging community.
How would you summarize your expat life in Canada in a single, catchy sentence?
Expat life in Canada has brought me to my knees, and taught me to stand upright, stripped me of my identity and simultaneously reminded me of my identity – it has been an emotional rollercoaster that has been coupled with the most amazing travel experiences I have ever had.