Best Travel and Expat Blog, eh?

Friends, readers and fellow bloggers,

I am thrilled to announce that thanks to your support, my blog has been voted Best Travel and Expat Blog in the 2014 Canadian Blog Awards. I was beyond humbled to even get nominated. So, this is a HUGE compliment.

Thanks for reading, liking, commenting and sharing. I hope to keep giving you reasons to keep doing all of that.

Much love,

xxR

best travel expat blog
PS: That’s me at the Amber Fort in Jaipur. A post is on its way!

5 things I miss most about Canada

Canada Day 2012

Parliament Hill, Ottawa. Canada Day, 2012

Eleven months ago, I left Canada to chase my wanderlust and get a degree while I was at it. I have since lived in three countries, including my current short stint in Singapore, and travelled to many more. While I enjoy embracing new cultures, I often catch myself saying, “If I were in Canada, this would be different.”

There are also moments of “I wish I was in Canada for this.” That includes Stanley Cup playoffs, friends’ birthdays and other milestones, and the Canada Day long weekend. For the last two years I have been road-tripping to Ottawa to celebrate Canada’s birthday, and also fume over the hooliganism of our young, intoxicated, underage Canadians.

The most I can do this year is rock a red and white outfit (which also happen to be the colours for Singapore’s National Day in August) and actively miss Canada.

After almost a year of living abroad, here are the five things I miss most about Canada:

1 – Tim Hortons

Whether it’s with classmates before lecture or coworkers before the big 10am meeting, lining up for Timmys is an integral part of our daily routines. Yes, it’s not the best coffee in the world. In fact, it’s quite awful and many of us can’t figure out why we are so addicted to it. But, I haven’t found any other coffee chain in the world that is cheap, addictive and part of a national identity. Continue reading

The Fudge Factory at The Falls

Cheers from Niagara Falls folks!

I have to be in Niagara for 11 am tomorrow morning so Mom and I decided to put the long weekend to its appropriate use and show up a day early to explore, eat and re-explore.

We’ve been to Niagara several times before. It is ritualistic among the South Asian community to bring all your visitors to Niagara for a day trip. We get a lot of visitors every year. Therefore, we come to Niagara Falls several times every year.

But, it was the first time that Jacques (my Canon 60 D) came with us to Niagara. Naturally, he was up and about soaking in the Niagara downtown. Since I’ve taken countless tourist photos in front of the falls, I was determined to steal some shots of the non-Falls-attractions in Niagara and there are tons! My favourite of the day has been The Fudge Factory. Enjoy these photos from Willy Wonka’s Wanna-be Wonderland and more!

Welcome to The Fudge Factory

And deliciousness awaits you inside

You are faced with the tough choice of what to get to satisfy your sweet tooth craving

Continue reading

Oh, Canada!

2000 – Applied for Canadian immigration 

2005 – Moved to Canada

2009 – Applied for Canadian citizenship

2010 – Became Canadian

It took me ten years to become a Canuck so I appreciate my certificate of citizenship (signed personally by Jason Kenney), perhaps more than people who were lucky to be born in Canada.

My co-workers at Daily Planet keep saying “Welcome to Canada” (I mean, what else do you say to someone who just got their citizenship? “Happy Canada Day”? “Happy Canadian Day”?) and my friends ask me “how was it” so this is a post dedicated to the details of the not-so-glamorous process of becoming Canadian.

After I completed my “time” as a permanent resident in Canada, I applied for citizenship. I applied in May 2009 and heard nothing from them until January 2010 that they had started working on my application. And then my permanent resident card expired. I didn’t re-apply because, why would I? I was going to be a Canadian soon. Ah well, not so soon. For almost a year I was passport-less, permanent resident card-less, stuck in Canada, hadn’t shopped at Buffalo, bitter, little immigrant.

And then, one fine day when the sun shone bright… (I actually don’t remember the weather that day) I got a letter telling me to come take my test for Canadian citizenship. Having been to school in Canada, I was confident I would nail it until I discovered how much about the history (and military history) I needed to know. The night before the exam, I studied. The day of the exam, I was irritated to have to wait an hour and a half to write an exam that took me five minutes to complete (the officials had to verify every applicant’s papers – that’s what takes so long).

At the exam they told us it would take 3 to 4 months to get a date for the oath of citizenship but to my pleasant surprise it only took a little over a month. Continue reading