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Thread: Adjusting to your new country.

  1. #11
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    Johanna thanks for the helpful information!
    I too live in Mississauga and in the process of waiting form husband to arrive. We just started the process but am hoping he will be here by the summer.

  2. #12
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    I was in chat the other night and someone said I should write in this thread - not about the issues of bringing my husband to the Uk, but about the key issues I have had bringing myself here!! My husband is Dominican and I am English and we have been together around 7 years - married for 3 1/2. Funnily enough the issues are almost exactly the same!!!

    1. Money. He now is not allowed access to any bank accounts or cards as he will just spend all the money! Has no concept of saving for the future, or even saving to pay the phone bill next week. So he earns the money, gives it to me, I give him an allowance and I pay the bills and keep the bank accounts.

    2. Family. Not a big issue for us. His parents are dead but we only help out the brothers and sisters if they have big medical problems and that has only been once or twice. He stopped them visiting us as they would help themselves to too much and the sisters would not stop cleaning and reorganising the house!

    3. Giving things away. This is an issue in that everything he is given he ends up giving away. He is the most generous person I know, but it is no point buying him anything for Christmas or birthday as he will use it for 5 mins and then will give it away to someone, and it is a tad galling to see a motoconcho wearing that new shirt you bought last week for your husband!!! In fact I cannot think of one thing he still has that I gave him! That includes a digital camera, clothes, jewellry......

    4. As I think with all Dominicans her enjoys bringing home the money but has no problems with me working, nor has he problems with cleaning and cooking if I am tired. He cooks around twice a week and will do the shopping too if asked.

    So all in all no major problems but is is hard for Europeans/North Americans to adjust to the way of life here.

    The lax timekeeping - he says he will be one hour and then is five. You just have to permanently take a chill pill.

    The insects - tarantulas, centipedes, mosquitos, cockroaches.

    The heat in the summer.

    The impossibility of having any electrical, plumbing, mechanical work done well first time.

    Still over all it is still much more fun here than in would be in UK!!!

    Matilda

  3. #13
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    Ezequiel: As a Dominican living in The US I can relate...a lot. I remember I used to take huge suitcases full of clothes and all kinds of stuff when we took our trips down there, because if you took something for one person in the family you'd have to take something for every person in the family.

    I send a monthly allowance and every month it is something new from at least one of the nephews, uncle, etc...

    Thanks god the airlines are not allowing you to bring all kinds of junk anymore, so that's my excuse and I know just give everyone money when I go down there...and of course give away pretty all my clothes, shoes, etc...Much easier though.

    It does help that I'm not the only one from my family in The US anymore, so they get to spread their begging somewhat...

    My American wife doesn't bother me much about me sending money as I'm the one making most of it. It is hard for foreigners to understand why we Dominicans do this, but suffice to say that we grow up with this ingrained mentality that everyone helps each other out and you're loyal to your family as they are to you. Trust me if it was the other way around and I was the one living down there they would be sending me stuff...and if I fall in hard times I can always trust in them to bail me out...

  4. #14
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    We went on Friday to apply for OHIP.
    We had two pieces of proof of Ontario residency so it was a very simple process (bank statement and new G1 driver's license ).
    There is a form to fill out which they have at the office.
    We arrived around 9:30am on Friday and the Mississauga was not that busy and we did not have to wait to long.

    The OHIP coverage will begin 3 months from the day that my husband landed here in Canada - it is not 3 months from the day that you apply at the office so do not stress if it takes you a month before you have a document that proves your spouse's address.

    There is a requirement that you stay in the country - it states 6 months online and 5 months in the brochure at the office - from the time you land. I asked what happens if he had to go home for an emergency and they said to keep all of your information; boarding passes etc. I'm sure that you would also have to prove the emergency that you left for.

  5. #15
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    Suarezn

    It is hard for foreigners to understand why we Dominicans do this, but suffice to say that we grow up with this ingrained mentality that everyone helps each other out and you're loyal to your family as they are to you. Trust me if it was the other way around and I was the one living down there they would be sending me stuff...and if I fall in hard times I can always trust in them to bail me out...
    Good point, i know my family will do the same if i was in their shoe .

    Does that mean i need to keep sending money????????????

  6. #16
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    We've got the sending money home subject covered so let's stay on the topic of providing helpful info to new Dominican immigrants.

    Thanks
    Last edited by AnnaC; 10-14-2008 at 03:34 PM. Reason: It's provide Anna not prove hahahahaha!!!

  7. #17
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    Default Here's a "To Do" list for Canada

    One thing I really found helped my husband adjust was being able to buy and make his type of food. It might be harder if you don’t live near an urban area to get everything but for those near a city… it’s a common complaint I hear from Dominicans in Canada is that they miss their food. If you don’t have a copy of Aunt Clara’s Dominican Cookbook – get one fast! It’s my bible.

    Getting your spouse a credit rating is really important. We did not realize how important until we went to buy a house and my husband had no established credit in Canada so we had to put the house in my name (we were able to transfer it into both once the purchase was done by writing to the mortgage company and telling them we wanted to add my husband for estate planning purposes). The best way to get a credit rating is by getting them a credit card and getting some of the utilities in their name. I know this might seem scary to some who are worried that their husband/wife will go crazy with spending, but try to explain the risks of not paying off the balance each month and buying what you can afford, etc. and you just have to trust that they will have good judgment. Pay the bills together at the end of the month in a way that does not seem like you are mothering them so you can see if things are getting out of hand. It doesn’t help their credit rating if you just give them a card from your own account. They may have to put a deposit for the first year like $500 or something until the bank sees they will pay their account. Also, you don’t want to have to be in charge of everything because eventually both of you will resent the fact that you are in charge of the money/credit cards, etc.

    I think getting a driver’s licence is also essential. First of all, if they have one from the DR, make sure they go and do what is necessary to get it validated in Canada because if they wait too long, they will have to start from scratch with the G1 graduated licensing and believe me, it’s a pain in the butt. Second of all, once they have their licence in Canada, they will have more jobs available to them and also YOU will have more freedom. Before my husband had his licence, he took the bus a lot but there were times when I had to drive him everywhere and I hated it and so did he. We both gained our independence once he had his G1. Also, the sooner you get them to do that the better because it’s a long process.

    Getting them to take a driver’s ed course is really good too because if any of you have driven in the DR, they could all benefit from learning some rules of the road and what they can and cannot do here in Canada! For those who have a spouse who feels more comfortable doing the written test in Spanish or if they can’t read English that well to study the guide to write the test, the following website has the guide and sample questions in Spanish so that they can study laguia.ca. Also, they can write the test in Spanish if they ask at the drive test centre.

    Show them around and teach them the direction. I know this sounds pretty basic but I’m talking about living in a big city like Toronto. It’s pretty hard to tell someone how to get somewhere if they don’t know east from west or north from south. We bought my husband a GPS and it’s a lifesaver!!! He just types in the address where he wants to go and it takes him right there. Before that, he would get lost all the time but now he knows the city better than me. It’s important if they want to go see friends and you are not going or if they have an appointment or for work, etc.
    Teach them how to use the computer. Although there are lots of internet cafés, etc. in the DR, most families do not have a computer and they don’t teach them in school so they may not know how to use the internet, etc. They can also stay in touch with the Dominican Republic by reading the news and staying in touch with their friends and family via e-mail or on-line chatting, which will also cut down on the long distance phone bills. The more knowledge you can give them to allow them to feel independent and to give them the skills to be just as educated and knowledgeable as someone born in the country they are living in, the better it is for both of you. Also, they will feel like they fit in more.

    If they live in Canada, get them a U.S. visitor’s visa. We found out the hard way how important this is when my husband could not get a flight out of Toronto to a relative’s funeral and he could have flown through the U.S. if he had had his U.S. visa at that time. Also, he has family in New York City and we have now been to visit them several times. Until they get Canadian citizenship, they will not be able to enter the U.S. without a visitor’s visa despite the fact that they are a permanent resident of Canada. Having said all this, make sure you wait long enough to apply so that it doesn’t look like they came to Canada as a stepping stone to get into the U.S. because a friend of ours applied about three months after he arrived and he was denied. I went with my husband to his interview and he was granted a 10 year visa.

    Show them your country. Go camping. Drive out of the city and show them the countryside, lakes, mountains, etc. There are lots of places to vacation in our own country rather than always going back to the DR.

    Get satellite TV. We don’t have this yet but have recently learned that there are several satellites that you can get in Canada that allow you to view stations from the Dominican Republic.

    And finally, I have to agree with Matilda on the issue of gifts. I too have been angered when I see something I gave to my husband as a gift being worn by one of his relatives the day after we arrive for vacation. He always says “oh it was too small” or I don’t use that any more, etc. but I decided that rather than get frustrated, I just don’t give him stuff that will likely get given away. For Christmas, we tend to buy a joint gift for “us” that we can use in our house, etc. It’s hard to get mad because they are very generous and just want their friends and family to feel as happy as they are.

    Okay… that’s all for now. I’ll let someone else get a word in. Hope that helps everyone who has already brought or is in the process of bringing a spouse to your country.

  8. #18
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    Fiesta Mama,

    Are there any stores in particular that you would recommend for "Dominican food shopping" in the GTA?

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johana View Post
    Fiesta Mama,

    Are there any stores in particular that you would recommend for "Dominican food shopping" in the GTA?
    No Frills and any Chinese supermarket have pretty much everything, save and except for brand specific items and this sazon liquid that I can’t think of the name of right now. It’s in a clear bottle with a yellow/orange/red label and has a plastic red cap. At No Frills or Chinese supermarkets you can find yucca/casava, plantain, green non-gassed bananas for boiling, batata, conch (called lambi in the DR) – usually only in the Chinese markets for this item, cilantro, thyme, chicken or beef boullion cubes (they are the same thing as the “Maggie” brand but with a different name), dried salt cod, vinegar, avocados, Tayota (called Christophenes sp? here), eggplant, eggs, cabbage, peppers, okra, coffee, sugar, rice (long grain white is what they use the DR), red kidney beans for stewed beans, pigeon peas (guandules), beef, chicken, etc. Also, most Latin stores (there are a number in the Jane/Wilson area and along St. Clair, sell the cheese that you can fry (coating it in corn starch helps it cook better without melting). We live in an area where there is a large Asian population so that could be why our No Frills carries all these items, but if yours does not, go to a Chinese supermarket (they are also really cheap).

  10. #20
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    Toronto - Language Learning Materials
    Join the Metro Toronto Library. http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/
    This will give anyone new to the country free access to books, magazines, literacy/ESL materials, audio books, music, CDs, DVDs, etc.

    You need photo identification and proof of an address to get a card.

    Once you have a card you can access and download materials from the online collection as well (audio books, language courses, videos, music).

    Toronto Public Library > Download Books, Music and Video

    Many of the local branches have literacy/numeracy programs with volunteer tutors. As well, they have employment resources.

    Money Management
    I personally find the free services of my bank’s financial planner useful. It’s always good to get the budgeting, savings and investment advice of a third party professional. Bring in all your records and they’ll help you set up your plans for realizing your dreams (emergency fund, getting out of debt, saving for a vacation, retirement, home ownership, helping the family etc.). All the major banks have branches where you can get that advice in Spanish as well. This way you can include your spouse in the planning and help them get acquainted with money management.

    Second-hand Clothing
    Consignment shops (where you can buy and sell nearly new items)
    Consignment Shops in Toronto Ontario - Gold Book

    Second hand Clothing Stores
    Value Village - Welcome
    Welcome to Goodwill

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