‘Welcome home’. Listening to these words always feels good.
It was evening of September 26 just before sunset when I landed at Toronto’s Pearson airport for the first time . The only thing I had in mind was that finally I am going to settle down here. No family, no relative, no friends …just a new land to discover and a wait to see my fate unfolding what it holds. First time in my life I crossed the Atlantic..the large water desert I used to look at from the Cliffs of Mohr. It was not my first venture of the kind so there was no anxiety, no worries and to be honest, no real excitement. Once the immigration officer was through with my papers he stamped and handed them over to me and smiled ” Welcome to Canada”. That one simple phrase and the voice tone was so good that I had never experienced on any other airport in any country I have lived or visited. I really felt welcomed. From that day on, alhamdolillah I am very lucky to get things going my way. Job, friends, business, social circle, activities…everything enhanced my positive attitude. The beautiful autumn, the lively spring, warm and sometimes burning summers and snow blizzards in freezing winters adds to Toronto’s beauty. Toronto without any doubt is one of the best livable cities on this planet. Every second person has roots somewhere else. A very diverse and multicultural city not only in appearance but in essence. The same applies to whole of the Canada, in general. The values of freedom of speech, respect and justice are being upheld, something that every Canadian feels proud of. People respect differences and appreciate diversity and we do laugh at each other…when friends walk together telling joke about a Muslim, a Jew, a Christian and a Buddhist. Ofcourse, as a Muslim Pakistani Canadian I must respect others and initiate the good but I feel good when my colleagues do reciprocate by respecting the values I bring in; one stops swearing because it is Ramadan, another wants to observe fast with me and a third one learning about five basics and studying Quran. This is Toronto!…and as they say ‘Toronto: you belong here’.
I have traveled few times out of the country but wherever I go this city awaits me and no matter what time of the day I land at the Pearson’s I am greeted with the same smile ” Welcome Home!”.