It’s very easy to feel homesick when you first arrive in Canada. You’re so very far away from everything you grew up in the Philippines. There are two ways you can approach starting a new life in Canada, the positive and the not-so-positive. Like we found out for ourselves, it’s so much easier to be sad than happy. That being said, there are so many things to be thankful for. Here are the top 8 reasons why we are thankful to be in Canada.

8. The opportunity to learn new things

Most of us here at are reasonably well travelled. Some of us have experience working abroad (HK, Singapore, Taiwan), while others have gone on vacation to visit friends and family in places like the United States.

Not a single one of us have ever gone to Canada before arriving here for the first time, so it really was a brand new experience for most of us. Shocking, is another way to describe it.

Everything was so brand new, from learning to cross the street to ordering a cup of coffee. Even paying for groceries was something new (as was not having cash on you all the time).

Perhaps the most important thing we learned when we first arrived in Canada was to say “sorry” and “thank you”. Canada is a kind country, and we learned early on that you don’t have to be afraid to be kind to other people, even if not everyone returns the kindness.

7. Being able to send our kids to a nice school

We’re lucky to live in a country where school is publicly funded (AKA free) until high school.

We try not to say “free” because most Filipinos associate the word with poor quality. That’s why we say “publicly funded” instead of “free”.

Some of us were fortunate enough to have parents who worked hard to send us to private schools back in the Philippines. Like most Filipino parents, they didn’t have a very high regard for the Filipino public education system at all.

Imagine our surprise when we came to Canada, where school is free (until high school)! Aside from suddenly having so much more extra income to spend on other things, we also found out that the kids enjoyed going to school in Canada more so than they did in the Philippines. Unless you have a particularly gifted child who requires access to specialized sports or arts programs, the public school system here in Canada is equal to (or even better than) anything you can find in private schools in the Philippines.

6. Reconnecting with our spouses

Life happens at the speed of light, and with the hustle and bustle of getting things done on a daily basis, we sometimes forget to spend time with our spouses.

Most Canadian families can manage with both parents working, and we learned from friends and family who have been here longer that quality time is super important.

Honestly, most of us have been married for so long that we’ve forgotten what it was like to spend time for each other. And because we live in a country that allows us to do just that, we’ve managed to rediscover who we were and have a better appreciation of how hard we’ve worked at bringing things this far.

There, we said it. If you haven’t done so already, it isn’t too late. Schedule for someone to look after your kids, take your husband or wife out for a nice dinner and a movie and be thankful that you still have each other. There are a lot of people out there who are not as fortunate.

5. Being able to earn a decent wage

Canada has a pretty high standard of living. We’re not going to lie to you, sometimes, it feels that it’s just as tough to make ends meet as it is in the Philippines. At the end of the day however, it’s all good.

Making a decent wage gives you the opportunity to enjoy more of life. That’s just it, plain and simple. We are talking about more than just things like a fancy new car and other big-ticket items. We think that being able to afford the smaller things are more important.

Like being your kids out for some ice cream whenever you feel like it. Or treating your husband to a nice dinner out on your anniversary. Dropped your iPhone in the toilet? No problem, just go out and buy a new one.

Seriously, not having to skip lunches to buy a new iPhone is a pretty big deal for most of us.

4. Having access to healthcare

If here’s something that you should be thankful for, it’s universal healthcare. True, it doesn’t cover everything but just having it is such a comfort.

Everytime we feel something not quite right, we go to the doctor right away. Some of us live in the bigger cities, where it’s a bit of a challenge to get an appointment that’s convenient for us, but having a stable job with medical benefits paired with provincial healthcare coverage, most of the time we don’t pay out of pocket for anything.

Did we mention that in the province of Ontario, prescription drugs are free for everyone under 25 years old?

Anyone who thinks “free” is a bad thing, please raise your hands.

3. Becoming a Canadian citizen

We have travelled all around the world, but nowhere else will you be made to feel right at home.

True, there are plenty of unkind people walking around, even in Canada. Generally speaking though, Canadians are super kind. They will hold the door open for you, ask you if you need help and even pick up your wallet and return it.

While no one is made to feel unwelcome, don’t forget you can still get deported from Canada if you don’t behave (we’re looking at you, Permanent Residents). The only exception to this is when you are a Canadian citizen.

Don’t believe us? Just you wait until you take your Oath of Citizenship and sing “O Canada” for the first time. Niagara Falls, for sure.

2. Spending time with family

While we mentioned earlier that we’re thankful to be able to reconnect with our spouses, we’re also thankful for having our families finally together in Canada.

Family time is a top priority for most Canadians. Do not get in the way of Canadians and their three day weekends.

When you’re quite done with your second (and third) honeymoon, it’s time to spend time with your spouse AND kids.

Go on a road trip, attend service during the weekends. Whatever you missed doing with family, now’s your chance to do it. It doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive, just as long as you guys do it together.

1. The chance at a second life

Not everyone gets a second chance at life. Coming to Canada gives you just that: a new lease on life.

Whatever mistakes you might have made before coming to Canada are in the past; start of with a new slate and reinvent yourself if you must. Don’t be afraid, everyone else has done it before you.

So thank you, Canada, for giving us a new chance at life. We promise to do the very best we can and be good Canadians.

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