Our First Winter in Canada (Our Immigration Story)

By Piyushi Dhir

We may have spent the better part of the year in our new home, Canada. Yet just when we thought we had got a hang of things, we are experiencing how irrevocably our lives have changed as we see the onset of winter.

We arrived in this country when spring was on the horizon. Little buds were showing up and the terrain was waiting to go into full bloom. Summer followed soon enough and we have enjoyed these months of sunshine, warm weather, greenery; all the things that we have grown up with back in India too.

The unfamiliar began a few weeks ago. The days have been getting shorter, until we see it get dark before 5pm. Trees turned to the brightest possible colours, before going bare. Cold winds started shaking the house. A few unexpected nights of snow sent us scurrying to buy shovels. We watch our neighbours to learn how to clear one’s driveway.

Hours of conversations with people who have lived here helped us stock up on the right kind of footwear, coats, gloves and caps. Even inner layers are critical to keep you safe from the ruthless cold that is to come. We’ve learnt to check the weather forecast before we head out to determine what we should wear.

Our First Winter in Canada

We’ve brought home snow brushes to clear our windshields, blocked away the fireplace with thick insulation, and draped uncovered windows with blackout curtains and blinds to keep the warmth in. We’ve changed our car tyres to winter ones, cleared out our toddler’s toys from the backyard and shut and sealed all windows.

Gone are the days when we would step out at any time of the day to take a walk around the block or walk our son to the park. Where earlier we would combine grocery shopping with our evening walk, we avoid going out until we have a longish list for purchase. When I’m truly desperate to stretch my legs, we drive down to the nearest mall to walk around and get some exercise.

Truly, with the onset of winter, life is different from anything we’ve ever experienced before. While it can intimidate us, we are trying our best to embrace it instead. It may be completely new to us, but millions of people are living this life and we too, will learn and adapt. It will happen sooner if we welcome it with open arms and later, if we try to hide away from it.

I work shoulder to shoulder with my husband to shovel the snow, while our son, dressed to the T in a thick snowsuit plays nearby. He is delighted to play with the snow and we take pleasure in his happiness. No matter how blustery it is, I try to take short walks to keep myself active and to truly experience nature’s cold caresses.

Christmas Cheer is Infectious

The best thing about this country is that even before the weather gets desolate, everyone is busy bringing cheer to their homes in the form of Christmas decorations and trees. One can’t help but smile at the merry Santas and jovial snowmen standing guard outside people’s homes. We too have put up our first ever Christmas tree and are looking forward to celebrate our first white Christmas.

The world around us is turning white, but we are ready for it. Dressed in our goose feather jackets and warm mittens, we are waiting to experience all that Canada has to offer to us.

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About the Author

Piyushi Dhir is the author of 'In Search of Love', 'I'm Yours, The Next Time', 'Silent Promises' and 'Enmeshed Evermore'. She is a contributor in 'Nineteen Tales of COVID-19', a collection of short stories. A voracious reader, a keen traveler, a businesswoman and a mom, Piyushi currently resides in Canada. A nomad at heart, she loves to discover new places and capture the hues of life with her pen.