My three years as a newcomer in Canada

At the end of the year, it’ll be three years since we left the big city of Lima in Peru to start a new life in Ottawa. How did it turn out? If I have to say something about the big adventure we took 3 years ago, I’d say it has turned out surprisingly well.

We were lucky to have adapted so well to our Canadian life, something that I really doubted would happen for a number of reasons before moving. I thought that in a year or so, I would want to return to my old life in Peru.

I couldn’t imagine that I’d become very fond of Ottawa. But what swung me was the quality of life the city offers, with the most important thing being the sense of security we have here. That really makes a huge difference from my home country, and makes for an almost stress-free life in Canada’s capital.

From the very first moment, I liked the beauty of Ottawa and the natural landscapes, the fact that there are two main languages in use, the multicultural environment, the respect for rules, and the Canadian sense of a shared well-being that has become very scarce in my home country.

My three kids are doing well, and have completely adjusted to their Canadian life. My husband is also happy to be back in his native land, and I’m happy too. I’m sure this is the place where I want to be and where I want to raise my kids.

In the beginning, there was some uncertainty for sure. There were a few moments when my husband thought he had made a mistake in bringing us to Canada. Having lived 20 years abroad made him feel like a foreigner in his own country sometimes. Fortunately, there were only a few moments of doubt and uncertainty.

I think the most important thing to do when you move and you try to adjust to a new life, a new country, a new culture, etc., is to set up goals. Even the smallest things will make a difference in your state of mind and attitude if you work on them every day.


In my first year in Ottawa, I didn’t do much. In the beginning, I had the status of a temporary visitor while my husband worked on the paperwork to ask for permanent residence status for me under the sponsorship program.

The move

During that time, I just stayed home and worked on making sure my three kids had a smooth transition to their new lifestyle. Part of this work was providing them with a home as similar as possible to their home in Lima, and the most important thing was the food.

So, I started cooking on a regular basis, something that I didn’t do in Lima. I burned food and scorched pans many times but my kids were happy seeing me making an effort to cook the Peruvian food they always loved.

Something that I will always remember about this period is seeing my older kids assume responsibilities, and helping around the house. I think they matured a lot in the first year in Canada. Another thing I remember was the feeling of being closer to each other, more united as a family.

First winter in Canada


My second year in Ottawa was 2019. My first goal of the year was to get an Ontario driver’s license, and I did it during the first days of January. After failing twice in the written test, I passed the driving test on the first try!

Then I made the decision to work on acquiring skills that would help me to find a job. Since we were living in Ottawa, that first skill would be French.

So, I started French classes in January with the goal of not stopping until I finished all the courses. The good thing was that I had a base in French from school in my country and I love the French language, so I really enjoyed my classes.

And one great complementary thing was that I met people and made new friends, so my social interactions grew a lot that year, and I regretted not having taken the French classes earlier.

In the second part of the year, I decided to look for a job as a Spanish teacher. I started inquiring in the academy where I was studying French and they gave me some contacts in elementary schools. And that’s how I found a paying job teaching Spanish to kids on Saturdays.

It was not my initial idea to teach kids but I thought the experience would be good especially in order to gain the so-called “Canadian experience”.

Third-year: 2020 The pandemic

I started the year continuing to study French but in March the Covid-19 lockdown started. So, I finished the 8th level course in April with some Zoom classes. I reached an intermediate level of French but I had to stop because of the pandemic.

I had also started volunteering as an teacher’s assistant for English in February but sadly, that had to end too because of Covid-19.

During the lockdown, I had to teach Spanish through Zoom and at the same time help my six-year-old daughter with her online learning. It was a tough time trying to get used to the virtual learning world as a teacher and as a parent!

In June, I enrolled in an online course on Digital Communications and that was the origin of this blog, an academic project that I have became very fond of. With 30 posts, more than 13,000 views, and 9,400 visitors, I’m happy with the good reception the blog has received. Thank you all!

In September, I got a job teaching Spanish to adults, something that I was hoping for. It’s still a part-time job but it helps me to gain more “Canadian” experience.

And that’s how my third-year ends. I just feel a lot of thankfulness and gratitude for how things turned out. I have more goals in mind for this new year and I’ll keep working on them!

Enjoying Christmas lights in Ottawa

But I have one question.  Can I say that I’m still a newcomer? Or is three years enough time as a newcomer? What do you think? The thing is that being one myself or not, I’ll for sure keep writing for newcomers!

I’ll finish this 30th post, the last one of 2020, wishing you a wonderful end of the year, and all kinds of joys, goals accomplished, and dreams fulfilled.

Happy New Year to all!!

You may also like

6 thoughts on “My three years as a newcomer in Canada

  1. Great post, like usual, Carla. In Ottawa, there is a large number of people who have moved from other cities or country, especially to work for the federal government (me from Montral area for example). I only know of a few relations who were actually born in Ottawa/Gatineau. And many of those “foreigners” still feel attached to their home town even after many years (more than your 3). Maybe it is the “boring” reputation you refer to in your blog title: they are shy to admit they now enjoy the Ottawa/Gatineau life.

  2. I always enjoy Reading your posts! Thank you for sharing your experience with us, the newcomers. I’m from Queretaro México and I will be arriving in Ottawa with my family next march (Si Dios nos los permite). Please keep writing because you inspire many of us. God bless you and tour family. Have a great fourth Gear in Ottawa.

  3. Great experience!!!
    Thank you for share it with many of us, who are waiting for the end of the lockdown to begin our own story.

Leave a Reply