by Christopher Mudiappahpillai

This is a continuation of the last bit, I suppose.

There are two moments that come to mind when I think of how wonderful a place Canada (and Toronto) can be for people from other places.

The first happened as I was walking down the Danforth on a balmy summer afternoon:

There were two men walking in front of me, speaking to each other in a mixture of Cantonese and English.1 As one of them got to the end of what he was saying, he paused for a second and said, with a Chinese accent so thick I could just barely understand him: “That’s how it is, eh?”

The second, at the customs counter in at Pearson International Airport:

I was returning to Toronto on a Sunday, in the early hours of the afternoon. I had spent the weekend in Colorado, having visited for my cousin’s wedding. The reception had lasted till around three in the morning, I had arrived back at my aunt’s house by four and I left for the airport, with just a bit of sleep, by seven.

Unfortunately, because I had booked my ticket at the last moment, I had to travel there and back in a rather circuitous way: first to Arizona, and then to Colorada; when returning, again, first to Arizona, then Toronto.2

All this came together, leaving me tired and just wishing to get home as I got off the plane and made my way through customs.

The customs agent looked me over, and then took a quick look at my passport. He asked me where I had gone and why. I replied. He looked me over again. Then, he closed my passport and said, as he handed it back to me, “Welcome home, son.”

And just like that, I was home.

  • 1I guess that would be Caontonenglish then, no?
  • 2And before you ask, no, I didn’t see the Grand Canyon. I was asleep. Both ways.
    I know, I know, I’m such a loser.



  1. August 1, 2006

    Damn Canadian immigrations sounds much nicer than the American immigrations…I had a guy yell at me for being out of the country for 6 months and said people like me shouldn’t be given green cards…still a tad mistified by that comment..

  2. August 1, 2006

    Hmm… Actually, I forgot that part of the reason that coming through customs here was so great was because of how bad it was in The States.

    Shoe scanning and all.

  3. Manoj #
    August 4, 2006

    Interesting – reminds me of a time when I was on the train and someone behind me referred to another through his appearance – ‘he looks like a hindu’. He was obviously referring to someone of Indian decent, however automatically assumed he was a ‘hindu’.

  4. manoj #
    August 4, 2006

    sorry – that last comment was meant for your ‘Across the Street and Around the Corner ‘ post.

  5. Anonymous #
    August 11, 2006

    Unfortunately, there seems to be no shortage of South Asian people (ie. brown) willing to blow themselves up in passenger planes. I think the inconvenience of an interogation is better then the alternative.

    Johnny P.

Comments are closed.