Building blocks

As 2020 begins, I’m thinking back on the previous year of building a new life in Halifax after moving here from my native India.
At this time every year, I make a dozen New Year resolutions as countless other humans do. I make them when my enthusiasm for change runs sky high and for that simple reason, as the days pass and my spirits run low, I ignore the resolutions or water them down to a bare minimum. So instead of making a long list of resolutions, this time I want to count the blessings I received in the past year.
I had a fabulous job for six months which I enjoyed tremendously though it didn’t pay much. Like all good things in life, this also had to end. But I do believe I made a lasting impression on the people I worked with, learned new skills, and received valuable experience in the Canadian workplace which every newcomer to this country needs to have. That I count as a real blessing.
Apart from that, life has not changed much. I live in the same apartment, worry about the same problems and keep wishing that the days ahead will be better in every way. Often, I got the feeling I was fighting against a system I couldn’t change or integrate myself into.
Even today I am neither in this country nor out of it. I have talked to some of my immigrant friends and acquaintances about it, and they expressed the same sentiments. Hearing their views only made me more frustrated.
Exploring my new hometown, discovering its art galleries, enjoying the beauty of the landscape, and learning the significance of its historic sites, brought me immense satisfaction and made me marvel at the greatness of Canada. I plan to explore other interesting places. I’m eager to see the Cabot Trail, which I’m told presents breathtaking beauty in the fall. I dream of driving through the trail when every tree transforms into a giant colourful bouquet.
You may say this wish is too small to ask for. As Ellen Hopkins, the famous American novelist and poet, said, “Sometimes the little things in life mean the most.” Years ago I realized that big things didn’t really matter and I tried to simplify my life. My needs and wants became fewer. And so far, I have lived my life the way I wanted to, with the necessary adjustments to accommodate my family.
Another thing I wish to do is to delve deep into the history of Nova Scotia and this nation. While training as a heritage interpreter at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, I had to study the immigration process of Canada and the challenges other immigrants faced while coming to this country. It raised my level of curiosity to know more about the history of the country.
Learning more about the literature of the province and the country is another accomplishment I have in mind for the future. Literature teaches us the universal human experience. I want to explore Canadian literature that mirrors the society and its peculiar characteristics. I want to study the soul of the nation and how it affects every newcomer to this country.
I would also like to take some courses which would improve my eligibility for jobs, but they cost money. If I stop work to pursue studies, I will have no income. Educational fees are usually very high. Financing for studies is hard to come by. It is a catch-22 and I’m at a loss.
My primary aim in the new year is to secure a well-paid permanent job so that I can live comfortably in my new home and be happy. There is a saying in Malayalam, the language spoken in Kerala, India, which roughly translates like this: The creator who gave the mouth will provide the food it needs. I know that to sit and wait for things to happen will be foolish. Finding a job in Halifax entails hard work and perseverance.
So let me stay positive and optimistic rather than negative and disheartened. A new year brings new beginnings and new hope. Who knows, by this time next year I will probably be painting a rosy picture of my life in this country. I wish the year brings peace and prosperity to all.

This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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