18 May 2011

What is "The Great Canadian Life"?

On my taxi ride home from the airport, I engaged the driver in conversation.  Probably something they are not used to.

A good portion of taxi drivers are immigrants, and I like to talk cricket with them, because there is no one around for me to talk cricket with at home.  Also, I think it is a surprise for them to see someone so white, and so Canadian talk about cricket.

However, this time around I thought I would ask what his hours were like.  He responded with Sunday through Thursday 4pm to 1am and Friday & Saturday 4pm to 4am.  Thats about 70 hours of work a week.  He mentioned to me how in India he had time to be with family and to play, whereas here it was work, work, work.

This had me thinking, what is this Canadian dream life?  To me, working is important, but my time with my family is far more valuable.  So why would I immigrate to a country to loose that time.  Plus, for immigrants, a lot of their secondary education is not recognized in Canada, nor do they have a chance to upgrade it. That taxi driver could have had a Master's degree for all I know.  So why make that move?

It has been something that has been on my mind.  It is a huge sacrifice to loose family time, the financial costs of moving to far, the implications of immigration, and the increased hours of work.  There is obviously a hidden bit of reasoning for the sacrifice.  Something that I don't understand about his country of origin and his reason for being here.  Is it the free health care?  Is it certain freedoms?  Is it for the sake of his children to have a better future?

Nonetheless, engage, if possible, your taxi driver in conversation, you never know what you may learn, or what may intrigue your brain.