The first thing that comes to mind when you realize a year has passed is how fast time is flying, but the truth is it’s been a long, busy yet rewarding year. There are so many firsts to complete when you’re moving to a new country, many that you can plan in advance and others that you can never prepare for.

For example:
– Reading about Canada’s traffic rules and watching videos about driving in Canada vs. actually driving here.
– Understanding how the medical system works vs. experiencing it first-hand (getting a family doctor, going to walk-in clinics etc ..)
– Examining the job market vs. applying and going to interviews.

Even the simplest things, like shopping at Costco and how everyone says it’s so cheap, yet the face you make when you end up paying a $500 bill on your first visit 😁 ( P.S: I love Costco but with time, you will learn how to shop smart and reduce your bills).

I previously shared my first impression on the country and listed five essential things for new comers, but the most important of all is realizing that moving abroad is not just some logistical endeavor but having the right mindset.

I’ve had a lot of friends ask me if I recommend they also make the move, and I always tell them that they cannot come here with a rigid mindset, that they have to be open, flexible and must embrace the new values, new social norms, new ways of doing things and new habits of their new country of residence. More importantly, I advised them to ask other expats, especially those for whom things didn’t work out, to understand the challenges they might face and make up their minds before making such a big decision.

Personally speaking, we didn’t have any language or major cultural barriers, and we chose to live downtown, not in a Lebanese-dominated area to get exposed as much as possible to the local culture but also for convenience purposes. So far it’s been working out great but the next big step for us will be to move out into a house and a more family-friendly area especially that Brian is starting school in few months time so let’s see how things play out.

2020 will be as busy and exciting as 2019 that’s for sure! I’m grateful to what this country has offered us so far, and I’m more and more convinced we did the right choice especially for the kids.

Happy New Year to all!