See ehn, my waka today was one kain sha. It was a mixture of some highs and lows. I’ll write about the lows later.
So, remember the career mentor I spoke about earlier? The one who suggested we meet up at the Toronto Eaton centre?? I finally met with her today and she actually is a delightful person. It was a little bit awkward before now, communicating with her through chats on LinkedIn and phone calls. In real life, however, she didn’t turn out bad at all. We had agreed to meet at the Starbucks cafe at the Toronto Eaton centre, only for me to arrive there & realize there’s more than one Starbucks cafe at the centre. Trying to get to where she was, involved some quick prayers, using of Google maps and hoping I wouldn’t be misled (cos in the past Google maps has gotten me lost downtown or taken me through an incredibly longer route than usual).
Google maps came through for me and I found her easily enough and as we hugged, the first thing she said to me was, ‘Oh my gosh, you really fit right in, you look like you’ve been here all your life’ ????. See ehn, I could have given her a big, sloppy kiss for that comment. Let me explain why.
Canada is a completely new experience for me. Before arriving here a month ago, I had never ever been to North America. I literally got on a plane and arrived here for the first time, with no close family or friends to cushion the effect. Everyone I have met here has been through referrals from back in Nigeria and friends of friends. From day 1, I had to hustle to find a place to stay & thanks to my hosts, that is temporarily sorted. I’ve also had to look for decent work. I’m also dealing with the small stuff here that does add up to slowly frustrate you. Like learning how to use my transport card (Presto) correctly on the GO train, subway and buses. Perpetually asking for directions to wherever I’m going to and constantly wondering if everyone I run into has figured out I’m a full JJC on these streets. I’ve had to dial back the part of me that learns by doing, to learning by observing the world around me as it goes by really fast. I know once I get comfortable, all my Naija crazy will come out, but right now, this girl is like fish out of water. She’s having mini panic attacks wondering if her Nigerian cards will work at the store; trying to understand how to build a positive credit history from the start; wondering why people are almost always quiet on the train and the conductors here don’t argue like danfo drivers back home. Essentially, EVERYTHING is different! And overwhelming!!
So imagine in the midst of all this, running into a black woman who has lived in Canada all her life, who takes one look at me and comments on how comfortable I look?? Like ???. Over the next hour though, I opened up to her and shared some of my insecurities. I talked about the small stuff that bugs me and she was very understanding. She told me to take my time learning about all the social nuances here. As we wrapped up our meeting, she helped me map out the route on the subway for my next meeting.
I will definitely be staying in touch with this lady in the future ??.