“Coming to Canada is like landing on an alien planet,” my friend Svetlana tells me. She arrived a month or so ago, and even with her perfect command of the English language, she struggles to make sense of our way of life. “The bus system, is going to drive me crazy,” she adds.
Svetlana and I became fast friends, as Ric and I volunteered to host her son’s Godmother, Tania and family. We met face-to-face on that first video call, Svetlana acting as interpreter. We would continue to have contact daily preceding her arrival. She was here last weekend, industriously cleaning to prepare the space for her dear ones.
“They are lucky to have you,” she told Ric and I. “You will cushion the blow of that culture shock.”
Tania, Mykola, Sofiia, Yehor, and Kiril are in flight as I type this. It’s been a harrowing journey for them, held up for five months by a spelling mistake and Canadian red tape. After three months in Poland, they had to return to Ukraine for health care issues, and landed right back in the war zone.
“It’s getting harder to get out,” Tania wrote me a few weeks back. “Please let me know when you book tickets and we will find transportation.”
Thanks to the generosity of readers, friends, and family, we raised enough for tickets and two weeks ago booked their passage. Every step of the way, they have encountered obstacles. Trouble with the ArriveCan app, mistakes on boarding passes: it’s been four days of holding our collective breaths.
“They are on the plane!” Svetlana messaged me this morning. “It’s on time!”
Ric is headed to the airport, while I stay back to make soup. Let’s hope all the obstacles are behind them.