Coffee Break at Timmy’s

Ottawa has many identities, many nationalities, sometimes; depending of the place can be anything but Canadian,despite for many people Montreal is and will be the insignia of multicultural town.

For those who has been in this country, one of the most popular coffee retailers and beloved for all federal employees is Tim Horton’s. Coffee is good and cheap, muffins and the traditional Timbit are good as well. Since I’m here in Canada and after a year of being in the capital border, this retailer has and will remain the face of immigrants. Behind the front desk, people of all nationalities work, and most of the time, this is the kind of place where an immigrant can find a job. Your first job in a different country is a real nightmare, just to find one can take months. I knew a guy who was working there despite his engineer background; he works part-time there and the other half as janitor in a building. Her wife does better; she works as a quality control agent in a factory.

I work in an office downtown, the person in charge of cleaning is an immigrant woman. She’s very shy, her English is weak and poor but she always smiles every time I open the door for her. I guess nobody would like to have her job, picking up the garbage, cleaning shelves, emptying dust bins, cleaning toilets..tough job for me.

I was very curious  and I dared to ask her where  she was  from. She said smiling again Ethiopia …I said “woooow, that’s far” and she asked me back the same question. She wears the typical Muslim veil to cover her hair, she has a nice face and beautiful smile, I can’t imagine what kind of hair she has, I guess curly and black but still, she hides in her smile and hair something private and beautiful. After theses questions we went to work.

 I’ve forgotten many immigrants when come to Canada don’t speak French, not needed if you go outside Quebec, so French is worse than Japanese. If you come with your family you speak your mother tongue at home. And if you’re unemployed and you look for a job at home, so you speak your mother tongue 24 hours full-time. In those cases integration is very difficult, plus, you keep you cultural background with you, you refuse what is outside your window. Family keeps that hermeticism and push you not to change. Of course, after when you get a job, the adaptation and cultural shock is the theme for an anthropologist student.

Without being totally gay, Ottawa has a rainbow in its heart, I mean, colours, sounds and smells, everything is so different, of course, if you want to see real Ontarians you should go to a suburb. And to be honest, most of the immigrants want a job, money, have security, have good services and good education for their children, so integration just means work, work and money.

But honestly, Tim Hortons should receive a price for integrate immigrants to the Canadian labor.


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