"9 months in Canada". this is written by someone from Poland. a lot of similar feelings in Chinese immigrants. this guy not only regrets his immigration, but decided to go back.

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Hi all,
I'm about to hit my tenth month in Canada. How do I like it? Well, I'm gonna
be frank. Let's start from the beginning.

Myself and my wife landed in Calgary in early October last year. Our first
impressions were far from positive althuogh we kept telling ourselves that
the place just needed some getting "used to". Well, as for me I never did
get "used to" Calgary. It's a grey drab looking place with absolutely no
entertainment value whatsoever. My Father in law had a more exciting time in
PyongYang, North Korea than we did in Calgary. Not really Calgarians' fault
but the truth is that their city grew but the social infrastructure didn't
grow with it. It's a pretty sorry state of things. The best it gets as far
as dining goes is a couple of restaurants on the 17th avenue but even those
I wouldn't describe as upscale.

The worst was still to come. After ten days in Calgary we headed off to
Saint John, NB where I was offered a job at the local up and coming
development house. I won't delve into the details of that place but suffices
to say that their stock is being considered for a reverse split and analysts
recon the business has about twelve months to live. What's interesting
though is Saint John itself. Not really an interesting place to live but
it's quite incredible just how poor a Canadian city can look. If we were
slightly dismayed by the grey towers of Calgary then Saint John simply
horrified us. The place has all signs of a typical rundown. The south end of
the city is a great unemployment blackspot full of crack houses and girls
who work if you know what I mean. There is a strip joint right in the city
center together with a hemp shop and a sex toy store. A good bookstore or a
decent coffee shop (Tim Hortons doesn't count) are naturally missing. Old
pseudo Victorian houses are not being maintained and are slowly turning into
moulded ruins while the city council gives more permissions to raise
communist style, stalinist era style tower blocks right in the middle of
said heritage buildings. There isn't any social life to speak of in the
European sense of the word. Bars are no-go zones full of rednecks and girls
that work. An unsuspecting visitor wandering into one of those places can
put themselves in a serious trouble.

Despite being less than 100,000 in population Saint John manages to have two
polluting icons of industrialisation. The Irving refinery and the Irving
paper mill (just about every bloody stone in this province belongs to the
Irvings). The refinery pollutes so much that I have a nice even coat of ash
and fumes on my car almost every week while the paper mill stinks so much
that whatever tourists we happen to lure tend to leave faster than they
come. Jobs are few and far between. I was the lucky one to ride the last
crest of the dotcom wave and landed a cushy position with the aforementioned
FC. My wife wasn't this lucky. After fruitless nine months of searching and
beating the pavement and rehasing the resume for the zillionth time no jobs
are on the horizon. Things are looking so bleak that we just need to call
the situation desperate.

Frankly we're thinking about giving up. Canada may be for some but it isn't
for us. We don't come from an afluent place (Poland) and money isn't high on
our priority list. But my wife's unemployment is a menace. She's a well
educated woman with a Masters degree in financial risk management and speaks
fluently three languages and can communicate in another two. Seems like
Canadian employers are not in a need of people like her. So I'm thinking
about calling it quits. I'm fed up and sick and tired of seeing my smart,
beautiful wife get tired and more depressed every day as things are looking
sad and bleak. While money isn't an issue (I get paid well) my wife's
situation is depressing.

Why am I telling you all this? I don't know I suppose I want to warn some
people on this forum. Canada isn't what it's cracked up to be. It's not
pretty, in fact its cities are rather depressing looking. Halifax which is
apparently the nicest city in Canada can't really hold the candle to my
beloved Warsaw. And that's not saying much as Warsaw is admittedly uglier
than most European cities including Vienna, Prague and Edinburgh. I guess I
want to trim down some heightened expectations that people here seem to have
about Canada. It's not my kind of place in fact I don't know who would fall
in love with Canada. Signs of neglect are plenty. Roads are so terrible I
nearly lost my exhaust pipe on the streets of Saint John. Granted, housing
is dirt cheap but it doesn't seem to be very durable as most Canadians
wouldn't even consider a house older than 20 years. I imagine you get what
you pay for.

If there is one good thing about Canada it's the people here. I can't praise
Canadians enough. They are good honest people who are very welcoming and
embracing. I haven't had the slightest bit of trouble making friends and
keeping them. Canadians are humble about themselves and very patriotic. They
seem to enjoy who they are and feel good about themselves. I like that and I
think they should maintain this attitude. They really truly are the best
kind of people you may want to have around you.

Well, I am going home my friends. Not because I miserably failed but because
Canada turned so so disappointing for me that if the High Comission was a
company I'd ask for a refund. Frankly my former eastern bloc homeland holds
much more promise (in economic terms) than Canada even if the salaries there
aren't quite as high as Canadian (alas we're slowly but surely getting
there). Oh, well at least I'll be able to say we gave it our best shot...

take care
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2001-7-30 -04:00
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