Having just recently moved my family back to Canada after spending ten glorious years in China I have found that things are not as Ii expected them to be. Now don't get me wrong we are all really loving this new home of ours, but after being away for ten years, things have changed.
No longer can I take the short cut through Dutch Village Road to get to Bayers Lake Park, it seems that they have put a building there. Damned if I knew as I U turned around in the middle of the road to back track my way out of there. It seems the new short cut is on the next road.
The other day my wife was sitting in the car with me as an Ambulance was coming up behind us in the line, the whole line pulled off the road to let it pass, a look of amazement passed across her face. I could see her eyes swelling as she fought back the tears. Asking her what was she thinking about she said that her father died because the Ambulance was stuck in traffic and if people in China would do this many more people would be saved. I touched her face with a gentle smile. Welcome to civilization dear I wanted to say. But remained mute to my words.
It seems there are many things here that surprise my wife just as I expected there would be. I keep hearing about how Canada People like this and Canada People like that and that Canada people are funny as they like this and that. It is a good thing the next chapter in her English book is nationalities, maybe then she will start saying Canadians instead of Canada people.
After spending the first snowy month of our new life in my sisters basement in backass nowhere, we moved to the small, yuppy city of Halifax, Halifax sits on Canada's east coast, kind of snuggled in a valley with a giant harbour in the middle. One side of the harbour is Dartmouth, and on the other side is Halifax, we chose a 4 bedroom townhouse on the west side of Halifax in an area called Clayton Park, Yuppy central as it turns out. The area is filled with young professionals building their families and careers. Man do I feel out of place here. I hate yuppies.
The first step was to get my daughter in school which turns out to be a 20 minute walk in the morning and back home at night, my daughter is enrolled in Grade one after 3 years in Chinese schools with 50+ kids in one class room and 3 teachers trying very hard to get those 50+ kids to do anything, my daughter has found law and order in the class room. She has 15 classmates who are all trying really hard to be her friend, so she is getting all the help she needs.
My wife on the other hand, who is enrolled in English class as part of the free services she receives as part of her immigration package, has found herself right smack in the middle of an ethnically diverse class of 10 people who all speak English with different accents and she cannot understand anyone but the teacher. The one Chinese student that is in her class, as it turns out is a gossip mill and only wants to get all the poop she can from everyone in the class so she can tell it to all her friends outside the class and laugh. Man what a laugh I had as I wrapped her up in some bull shit story about how we were running from the Chinese secret police because we had vital information about a senior official who shall remain nameless. She called me all weekend trying to bribe, convince, flirt with me in any way she could to get more information about what I knew and who I knew it about. Man what a laugh.
As it turns out we do not have very much to do with her outside the classroom activities that my wife must attend. I can still see her talking out the side of her mouth every time I see her, I just know she has changed my bullshit story and added names and messages to the mix just to impress her friends.
So I have my work which I am doing from my basement office, which is great as I can work when I want and not when I am told to. The work is still getting done at the right time and the quota is still being met, so the bonus is still coming at me, or it will be once I get paid again.
My wife is really starting to like it here as she has made a few friends, one girl who lives right next door is a new immigrate as well from Guangzhou, we met her and her husband, who has been here for a year studying at one of the local universities, at the supermarket. It seems that many Chinese are now considering somewhere else besides Toronto or Vancouver when they want to study in Canada, with Halifax being a smaller city with a lower cost of living, the student body at all three major universities here is growing in Chinese population. Are the Chinese getting smarter with their money? It is hard to say as I am still hearing stories of some helpless YCG with a purse full of Daddy's money paying cash for a year's rent on some over inflated housing for her and her sisters to live in while they attend university here, yeah it happens, the funny thing is it is Chinese people who are here taking advantage of these helpless YCG's not Canadians.
There is one guy who has been here for a few years running a real estate company just for Chinese, yeah that is right her won't even sell to anyone but helpless Chinese and he gets them every time no matter how many times they are warned by the locals to not use this guy. Funny how the culture of trust Chinese first over anyone else is backfiring right in their faces. I get it all the time from my wife who tells me her classmate has this for less then we have it for and so on, wanting me to get on the Chinese program, but she is only getting part of the story, as I dig deeper into the facts I am finding out that yeah they get this and that for less money then we get it for but they need to do this and that besides which I will not even consider doing, as I like my mores. As it stands I make sure I get the full story before I go off and do anything, now that the population of Chinese people is higher in this part of Canada there are more and more scams in the making. Now don't get me wrong these scams are being run by all types of people but mostly they are being run by Chinese directed at other Chinese. Good old brotherly love, steal from your kin.
So getting off my rant for a minute, since I have been back I have met some wonderful Chinese here through my wife and it has been these people who told me about these scams. I know how you all like to jump on stereotypes here so I am closing that door right now. The fact is don't take your culture to Canada it will backfire on you.
It has been a big change for my wife and daughter coming here, my daughter of course is adjusting like it was her home the girls next door are her new friends, they come over every day after school and play and laugh at us eating with chopsticks and watching my wife do Taichi. We are new to them, the new neighbours from across the sea, but still we get no stares, no jaw gapping looks, no looks of degust as we walk across the street. We have made new friends and new lives and they are just beginning..