Guillermo: Los Ziegler en Canadá
Our first recommended blog for Canada is entitled Los Ziegler en Canadá, a Spanish blog on run by Guillermo who relocated to Canada from his native Buenos Aires in 2004. Having grown constantly over the years, the blog is more than a recount of the daily lives of Guillermo and his family; it is a Spanish language info page on everything immigrants to Canada might want to know in advance.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Canada, etc.
My name is Guillermo, I am from Argentina and my family and I live in Canada since 2005.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I decided to start “Los Ziegler en Canadá” back in 2004, while I was still undergoing the immigration process in Buenos Aires. I thought it was the best choice for me. I wanted to share my experiences to help those coming behind me in the process and, at the same time, I wanted to be personal and be able to express what I wanted to using my own voice.
In 2010 I started an English version as a challenge: try to express the same feeling in a second language. Not easy.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
Although “Los Ziegler” has around 3400 entries I do have a few favorites. I can share these two: “7 semejanzas entre la inmigración y el matrimonio” (something like 7 similarities between immigrating and marriage), and “We are the rats, we are the cowards”.
Tell us about the ways your new life in Canada differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
I come from Buenos Aires, a 5+ million people city, a chaotic metropolis governed by anarchy. Living in the cities I lived in Canada (Gatineau, Waterloo and Ottawa) is a pleasant, peaceful experience. Nevertheless, you always have to deal with cultural clashes, at least for the first few months.
If you ask me if I miss BA my answer would be “not that much”. There are certain small things that you may miss like the big city cultural and night life or the ability to go from one place to another without having to drive.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Canada? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
No. You are never prepared, no matter what you think. There is always something that will be missing or overlooked. If I could, I’d go back in time and put in the moving container all the hand crafted furniture I unfortunately sold in Argentina. I will never be able to buy that stuff anymore.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
Sometimes the “cultural clash” comes from where you cannot imagine. Even while dealing abroad with people speaking your same language.
One night, a few summers ago, we were invited by some Colombian friend to have dinner at his place. We were going to have “Arepas”, he told me. Not a clue what that dish was, but as you do most of the times I brought a wine and got ready for a good, typical Colombian dinner.
Time passed, chat was OK, wine was not opened and table was never set. At some points he started baking something like a thin toast. My family and I were looking at each other in silence. We had a few of those “tostadas” and that was it. The “arepas” were more a snack than a formal dinner.
We left the place and got on the car. There was a strange silence. No comments regarding what happened a few moments ago. Like everyone was trying to avoid the thing. After a couple minutes drive I saw a quick food place. I just pulled in and said “I don’t know about you but I’m so f… hungry!” The acclaim was unanimous: “Oh Yeah! Please. I’m starving” We all laughed.
So next time someone invites you for a food you don’t know, just ask what are they talking about. You may want to be ready and eat something before!
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Canada?
- Always ask when you don’t know something. Canadians are helpful guys and never hesitant to help… as long as you ask for it.
- Don’t overreact with the winter thing. Life goes on and there’s always something great to do. Enjoy the seasons as much as you can!
- Never be too personal with Canadians. For a first “chit-chat “, weather and local news are OK. Just wait for them to make the first move.
How is the expat community in Canada? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
Being that Canada is such a multicultural, immigrant-open country, you never have a hard time finding an expat community here. On the other side, I prepared my immigration with a lot of time so I already knew some people living here and quickly got introduced to a bunch of Argentine expats in the vicinities.
How would you summarize your expat life in Canada in a single, catchy sentence?
Canada, the place where anything is possible if you are willing to make it happen.