Be You International

Canada? As in Igloos and Eskimos?! Days of Gratitude | Day 2/5

Today I want to express gratitude to Richard and Jennifer. Many many years ago, back when I was still in my early twenties I moved to Italy. I had only been there a few days when I decided to take a day tour to San Gimignano, a charming little town near Florence where I was living.

On that tour, there was only me and this Canadian couple. It just so happened that they were immigration lawyers, and of course, naturally, the conversation went to a comparison of countries and the like. They were curious about the status of women in my part of the world and as always I was ever so happy to ‘enlighten’ them about what it is really like and not what most westerners know it to be because of media platforms that distort reality at best.

And then it happened… those magic words were uttered, and through my ears, they went and the seed was planted in my head. See you never know when it is that you will bump into someone who will tell you something that would change the course of your life.

Richard casually said: ” So why don’t you apply to immigrate to Canada? You’ll make for a good candidate.”
To which I replied: “Canada? As in Igloos and Eskimos? As in at the very far end of the world? No thank you.”

Randa El Zein standing in front of Niagra Falls

Like, come on!! I had just arrived in Italy, I had the whole of Europe to explore and he was suggesting I go to Canada, and do what? Build snowmen! I’d never been across the Atlantic up until that time, had no clue what it was like, and had no ambition or desire whatsoever to even consider going there.

That was the end of that story. Sure enough though, towards the end of my time in Italy, and as I realized the bitter reality that I was to go back to Abu Dhabi… (aka my apparent prison at the time)… Canada all of a sudden, didn’t sound all too bad. And before leaving Italy for good, I gave the Canadian embassy a call and I went and got the police certificate that was one of the requirements of the immigration application… I thought to myself why not, let me get it, just in case.

Within 2 months of being in Abu Dhabi, my papers for immigration were sent. A few years later, I got my landing papers and got my butt on a plane across the Atlantic for the very first time. Canada was home… the sweetest home… for the following 10 years. I would never have gotten onto the path I’m currently on with life coaching and working with youth and with women had I not gone to Canada. Therefore, I have so much gratitude for Canada and all it represents to me.

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