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My Introduction to Canadian Life & Plans for My First Summer Here

In mid-September 2022, I flew to Canada from my home city, Mumbai—the “city of dreams.” I’d come to pursue the Certificate in Communications Design program, offered by BCIT in partnership with Emily Carr University of Art + Design. 

Moving here to study was not entirely easy for me, especially since my parents were always (and still are) super protective. I had grown up in a secluded household where I only had to navigate life’s little challenges, like doing chores (my parents would handle the rest). That meant I never had the chance to learn what it was like to be independent—until I came to Canada. 

My first few months in Canada were particularly challenging: I greatly missed home, having grown up binging on the delicious food that my mother cooked—this always filled my heart with joy. My mother’s dishes feature her special south Indian fish curry, meals rich with pulses, and biryani. I also missed going out at midnight for dinners at my family’s favourite restaurant, Facing East, which is located in Juhu (the heart of Mumbai).

Still, life here continues to be overwhelming overall. As an international student, I have various responsibilities, which often leave me feeling stressed. Additionally, chilly weather would occasionally and unexpectedly strike in the affluent Burnaby neighbourhood I currently live in. 

On a positive note, all these experiences have taught me to become more resilient, embracing things as they come, whether that’s homesickness, stress, poor weather—or something entirely different. Better yet, I had the chance to spend time with my mother recently: I pretty much spent my whole winter vacation with her in Canada. And beyond that, I’ve gotten to know the city some more: I would roam around Metropolis at Metrotown, at times splurging like a true shopaholic, or just go for long walks when the city lights dimmed. 

Now, as the end of this term approaches, I’ve been giving my summer plans some thought. This will be my first time spending it all by myself, and I’m excited. I remember feeling desperate to experience the warmth of summer on my skin.

This is the summer bucket list I’ve come up with so far:

  • Work full-time as a sales associate to increase my wealth
  • Volunteer for design events
  • Watch a movie while curled up on the couch 
  • Recreate my mom’s delicacies—I’ll have my mom virtually teach me how to prepare the perfect dal (a pulse-filled dish) with a blend of spices and aromas to soothe my soul and light up my day
  • Put my mental health first by painting my thoughts and letting my feelings flow through ink
  • Work out like a lioness at home by trying meditation tricks and yoga; I am a fitness fanatic at heart

Having been suffering stormy heartaches from my design projects, I truly can’t wait to dive into these activities! After all, physical (and mental) activity is the best remedy for the body and soul, and I look forward to maintaining this over the summer.