By: Yash Sharma
Without getting carried away by those emotions anymore, I quickly assured my mother that I have landed safely in Toronto and the next call would come from the hotel where I was supposed to stay.
With anticipation and curiosity, I began to look for the pick-up arranged by the college while enjoying the lively ambience at the airport.
It took me almost an hour to reach my hotel, but the driver made my journey extremely comfortable as he was busy chit-chatting with me the entire way. I shared some of my experiences from India and there he was staring at me every now and then with his pupils fully dilated in surprise as I went narrating some funny Indian stories.
I would say, the cab driver had excellent PR skills and knew how to handle newcomers to the country and I was yet another success story for him.
I spent the first few days at a hotel, which was extremely comfortable, but costly. The college was shut for Christmas and I had absolutely nothing to do, no one I knew and no sense of direction.
Google has been a boon for mankind and I was instantly exploring the place from the hotel. On the second day, I had a sumptuous breakfast on a table overlooking a patio covered in shimmering white snow and geese flying around. I was reminded of my dream!
With the first few days spent walking around and exploring the city of Oshawa, I had numerous chances to speak to the locals. I could see that everyone was extremely welcoming and accepted people from distinct cultural backgrounds. I remember reading that Toronto was the most culturally diverse city in the world, but never imagined that people from a town outside the GTA region would show so much love and affection to strangers.
One week of sheer fun and frolic made me fall in love with this place. I would share the daily experiences with my parents over the phone every night when I got back to the hotel.
A walk for around 15 kilometres, taking a ride in a mail van to Oshawa Centre to buy a warm trendy jacket, feeding the geese in a golf course covered with snow, walking an old lady to her home, tobogganing with the kids, capturing those white landscapes in my camera, a trip to Toronto to see the picturesque CN Tower, enjoying the hot cup of French vanilla and muffins at Tim Horton’s, a drive to Bowmanville and back with new friends I’d met at the hotel, some country beers at the famous Riley’s pub, and some enticing live music at downtown clubs.
These were just a few activities which kept me on my toes during the first week….