Canada – Taking Jamaica’s motto “Out of many, One People” to the next level

I know after reading the topic you may be asking yourself what kind of madness is this? Well, after being here for three years I can say that one thing Jamaica and Canada have in common is diversity. Canada though, because of the influx of immigrants may have the biggest mix of cultures than anywhere else in the world and yes that includes the US. In the city of Hamilton where I live it’s incredible the mix I have had the privilege to meet.

Below is a list of all the people I have met from different countries since I’ve been here. It’s for personal reference but decided to share what I think is awesome. I’ll update every time I meet someone from a new culture.

1. Syria

2. Turkey

3. Nigeria

4. Ghana

5. Belarus

6. Colombia

7. Guatemala

8. Costa Rica

9. India

10. Thailand

11. Vietnam

12. China

13. Philippines

14. Jamaica

15. Cuba

16. United States of America

17. North Sudan

18. South Sudan

19. Haiti

20. Italy

21. Sri Lanka

22. Iraq

23. Congo

24. St. Vincent

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How to Gain Lean Body Mass

This is a new feature I’m adding where under fitness I’ll have videos and other forms of tips to help in our fitness journey.

Change continues

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In an effort to consolidate some of my projects including YouTube and Instagram. I’m featuring two of my favorite vlogs from  as well as five of my favorite pictures. I love feedback so let me know what you think.

How can you say no to this face? #doglovers #dog #android #animal #stbernards #eyes #bigpuppy

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Early morning run with the chica @breakingbada2z

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Lovely #hamont #waterfalls #myontario #mycanada

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Jamaican in Hamilton, Ontario – AW Update

What’s up guys? It’s been a while since I’ve updated you on whats going on.  I have been asked several times about the blog and why no updates. I have no excuse except that I have way less time than I had before. I have yet to put out a Ainzlee’s World Youtube video this year and my other projects are moving at a slow pace. In doing this update right now, I have limited time so I promise that I won’t be long. Time seems to be flying along and soon it will be two years since I’ve been in Ontario. I finished school almost a year ago and started working within two weeks of getting my work permit. I’ve been on many adventures but not half as much as I want to be. I’m still trying to adjust to the fact that six months out of the year is extremely cold and all you want to do is hibernate like the animals. The six months good for outdoors doesn’t seem like enough time to do what needs to be done.  This has been a challenge and I’m slowly but surely finding ways to make use of the indoors. For those who know me I’ve always been goal oriented and even though I’ve been making slow progress and I am a bit behind because of unforeseen circumstances I’m not giving up and plan to complete them all before the year ends. I now live in Hamilton which is the fifth largest city in Ontario.  Its referred to as the armpit of Ontario and I’m still trying to figure out why.  All I know is its way cheaper than Toronto and I love the mix of old and new architectural buildings not to mention the ridiculous amount of trails and waterfalls of which I have only been to two.  I plan to extend my work permit as there is so much more to explore and I’ve just started digging in. I also plan on
running in at least two 5k races this year and find time to get to Montreal as well.  Seems easy doesn’t it? It’s not seeing that I work 6 days a week but you only live once so I will make time for it.
Not much more to say at this point so I’ll let the pictures do the rest.

Remember I’m on Twitter and Facebook… let’s chat! Please leave comments as well. Any feedback is welcome.

Until next time, peace….

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Closest park to my apartment

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At work during one of the worst snow storms in years

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Escarpment Rail Trail – One of the many trails in Hamilton

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Further down the Escarpment Rail Trail (Autumn Pic)

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Bay Front Park – The Lake makes it a breathtaking experience

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CorkTown Tavern – One of the many historic buildings found in Hamilton, Ontario. This one is over three hundred years old

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One of the places you will have to use if you live in an apartment and want clean clothes…LOL

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One burger I know that no Jamaican will ever eat…..LOL

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Q & A on Canadian Immigration – School and Life

Since I made the trek north side I have been asked by many people not only from Jamaica but other countries about the processes I went through and what they need to go as far as coming to Canada and trying to get permanent residence. Now this sentence is my disclaimer because I am no expert and all that I will put in this blog is what I’ve found out since I’ve been here. Some can be considered hearsay while others fact. The laws here change often so the best source is the Canadian Immigration site, http://www.cic.gc.ca/ … This will be an ongoing blog which I will update as much as I can with questions asked and random tips or facts that may come to me that may make the transition to Canada easier. I’ll be taking questions from the comments, Twitter and Facebook and adding them to this blog. The questions will be added randomly so they will not be in any order other than chronological.  Let the questions begin….

Q:  Why did you decide to move to Canada?

A. After trying unsuccessfully to follow through with my plans in Jamaica because of theft of property, extortion, bureaucratic red tape, just to name a few, I decided to try overseas. The decision to leave was hard but was made a bit easier one of my best friends almost died defending a business interest of mine. To cut a long story short, I shortlisted Japan, The United States of America and Canada and after Northern Caribbean University (NCU) failed to deliver my transcript to me on time to be a part of the Japanese English Teacher (JET) Programme, I decided to go with Canada and further my education.

Q. What is the best time to come to Canada?

A. I’m Jamaican and being in a country that was four seasons I’ve learnt to appreciate the sun’s warmth.  If you are coming for vacation and you have never experienced snow, then try coming around the end or beginning of the year.  If you don’t care for snow then come in the Spring or Summer.

Q. What school did I attend?

A. I attended Centennial College.  It was the school that what was recommended when I did a consultation with a Education Lawyer before coming to Canada. I was accepted for a 18 month Project Management.

Q. Where do I live?

A. I currently live in Hamilton, Ontario. While I was in school I lived in Scarborough.

Q. How do you get school and work permits?

A. If you want to enter Canada as a student you have to g through the process of getting qualified. All information on this process will be provided after being accepted to the school of your choice. If you want the information beforehand the CIC website mentioned above will help. For work permits, the school will help you acquire this during the period of your study. Depending on how long you’re studying for the process will be different. For shorter than two year study you will get a work permit when you’re finished studying that will be the equivalent of your time at school. If you study for more than two you may be granted the permit on entering the country and it may be a little longer than the time of study.
Q. Where is the best place to come and settle in Canada?

A. There is no hard and fast answer to this question as every province has its pros and cons but the short answer is Saskatchewan. The province has jobs and tax breaks and will actually accept you in many jobs without Canadian education or experience.
Visit saskjobs.ca for jobs and more info.

Q. Is it true that there are provinces where a friend can file for a friend?

A. I’ve only recently heard of this but yes, it’s true. I don’t have much details but that seems to be the case in some areas of Alberta.

Q. What’s minimum wage in Canada?

A. Effective June 1, 2014, the minimum wage will be $11.

Q. What is the biggest benefit you have seen while being in Canada for its residents?

A. I’ll give you three. One is free health care and two, everybody is entitled to educational loans. The third is the mix of cultures is an interesting one and reminds me of Jamaica but even more so. With restaurants and hangouts everywhere you can explore culture from across the world all in one country.

Q. Can I have two jobs?

A. You can have as many jobs as you want but you have to make sure that you have the right work permit.

Q. Can I pay my bills outside of the country while I’m there in Canada?

A. Yes, but there will be fees involved for processing as well as other minimal fees.  Usually using banks that can be found in your country make the process a little easier.

Q. Would I have to stay with someone?

A. No. You’re responsible to find somewhere to stay. I used rental sites (Kijiji among others) and found a place where I spent my college time. Staying with a family usually works out a lot cheaper.

NOTE : ALL QUESTIONS MAY BE EDITED TO PROVIDE THE BEST POSSIBLE ANSWERS.  FOR THIS REASON CHECK BACK EVERY NOW AND THEN FOR UPDATES AS WELL AS NEW QUESTIONS ASKED THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA.

The Hamilton Tiger Cats Game on Labor Day

Since I was a little kid I’d always watch the NFL and wish I could be at a live game. There is always so much going in the stadium, you just want to be a part of it live.
Fast forward to many years later and an even longer bucket list than I’ve ever had. I’m currently in Canada and even though the NFL is big here, they have a league called the CFL. Major towns have teams just like the US.
So I was excited when a friend of mine at work told me his uncle had some extra  tickets and he wanted to let them go cheap. I didn’t hesitate. Watching a football game live? Wow!
So the big day came. It was Labor Day and it was a sold out game. The Ivor Wynn stadium  where games have been played for close to a century was in its last year as it is being torn down to make way for a new stadium for the Pan Am Games. I was glad to have had the chance to be there.
The game was between the Hamilton TigerCats (home team) and the Toronto Argonauts.  It was hot and my empress and I had problems finding our seats. Apparently the tickets were for the away crowd so we ended up on the opposite side. Did I mention it was hot.
Then during the game they had a draw for prizes. I excitedly checked my pockets and guess what? I couldn’t find my tickets.

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In the end the Ticats lost but in exciting fashion if that counts for anything. The crowd, the food and the company made the experience well worth it. Even though the NFL game is still on my list I am glad I had this chance. Taking them as they come.

SN : Because I lost the tickets we couldn’t get on the free shuttles so we had to walk home. Next time the empress keeps the tickets.

Ainz

 

 

 

 

Reflections on my Leadership Passport Journey

Written below is a reflection I did as part of a program at Centennial College. It was considered extra-curricular and would give me extra credit and a distinction in Leadership on my transcript. The program called the Leadership Passport involves being apart of at least seven activities which ranged from working with the school to volunteering for anything that would involve interactions with as many people as possible. I chose a tree planting exercise which was very fulfilling for me.  Along with the seven it was required that we attend two workshops to be the foundation for what we have to do and also to give us an idea of how to write reflection papers and what they were looking for. we could either write a reflection paper for each activity or write one that would cover all. I chose the latter.  I didn’t ask for permission to mention any names in this blog but I want to mention that this program has helped me to grow as a person which is one of the reasons I decided to do it in the first place. Mission accomplished.

My reflection got some recognition and I was chosen as one of three to represent the program in front of the Board of Governors at the Centennial College. It was a great experience and I leave the school proud of myself and of the school who offered such a great program. Below is an edited version of the paper.

My journey for my Leadership Passport began when I came off the plane in Ontario from Jamaica.  I was in a new place and would meet many different people from different cultures. The culmination of all the experiences would change me into a not only a better leader but a better person. Never in my wildest dreams did I think my experiences would be so rich and so deep.  I will leave centennial College with memories that will stay with me forever.

I first started on the journey for my leadership passport after seeing the posting on the school’s website and immediately identifying with it and what they intended for the students who would be involved. I was excited. I immediately started sending letters to the relevant people but actually did not get to start because of the strike at the time. I kept on querying about it until I got a response. I went into the office where I met with Christine and the way the programme was presented to me made it even more appealing. I immediately signed up and attended the relevant workshops which would be my guideline to being a better leader.

By being an international student I qualified for the international education aspect of the program.  This for me was an international experience as I had never left home for so long or interacted with so many cultures.   I was required to work in teams for my course project management which also had a course called Project Leadership where leadership was taught not only from a Canadian perspective but an international one as well. The investment of time into understanding the cultures around is very important.  The interactions with people from Turkey, China, India and from many other places helped me to appreciate even more what I was taught by my parents to be tolerant of others and always look for the advantages of a situation.

As I write this portion I am actually staying with all my Indians friends overnight at their place discussing our cultures, the similarities and differences. Now you may say why did I include that but through interactions with them and others I have learnt that an effective leader understands the difference in culture and that understanding these differences and also the strengths can make him more effective in the way he leads.

My Canadian experience as a student has truly changed my life. At times there was frustration due to language barriers so one thing that I developed for sure during this experience was patience with teachers and students alike.  I also developed close bonds that helped in terms of networking and helped make my transition from home smooth.

My other experience as far as what is categorized on my Leadership passport had to do with working on campus which I did through volunteering.  I worked with the International Department on the occasions I was called upon to represent my country and also Centennial College. This experience was new for me because even though I spend a lot of time with social media I had never been involved with virtual meetings in the form of career fairs and web meetings.

I am a fast learner and within a very short period of time I was able to effectively and efficiently log on and contribute to the virtual meetings.  Another bridge crossed.  I was truly enthusiastic about the whole process.  Being able to help others in achieving their goals while achieving the ones you set for yourself. Isn’t that what leadership is about?  With the use of the school and its resources and making myself available I was able to do just that. It is important that as a leader, you set goals and follow through on them no matter how hard the task.  This is a trait of good leaders and proudly I can say I was tested and achieved what I said I would.  The fruit of your struggles will be always seen as was with the case while working with my beloved school. I have been asked to participate in upcoming events which will take place virtually along with other projects. What other evidence do I need to know that I have overcome and made a positive impact? Purpose is another word that is thrown around but with being given guidelines by the Leadership Passport, I was able to say I worked purposefully towards the goals that needed to be done to not only complete my Leadership passport but become an even better person albeit a better world citizen.

My volunteer experience happened during a time when I was feeling down because of unforeseen circumstances that threatened my course of study. Here is where my perseverance was tested. Would I be able to push through and finish what I started out to do?  Well, I was determined to make sure the answer to that was a resounding yes.  I did 40+ hours working at the Hamilton General Hospital along with a research coordinator who asked me to be in charge of the transferring of data as they were changing the way they handled information that came into their office.   They demanded a high degree of excellence.

My parents had always instilled in me that anything worth doing is worth doing well so that wasn’t the problem.  The challenges with the job were the tight deadlines and unexpected hiccups that caused frustration and exhaustion.  At this point it was one of two things, persevere or give up. I had already gone through a lot to be here in Canada and perseverance was the only way I saw out. You could say my mind was one tracked.

Working with the team at the hospital and finishing the project left me with a feeling of real accomplishment. So much so that this summer I plan to spend time volunteering there while looking for a full-time job. It’s definitely an environment that allows you to interact with a lot of people and at the same time observing different leadership styles.

My Service Learning experience took place at the Morningside Park on April 28th 2012.  I had grown up being a part of the junior naturalist movement but had never gotten the chance to be a part of a plant restoration before. I was extremely excited.   With things affecting the earth such as global warming, planting trees may seem insignificant but is exactly the opposite. Here is a chance to make a BIG impact I thought on the earth and its future.  When the opportunity came up I jumped at it knowing it is through situations like this that leaders make an impact. These leaders not only give orders but lead by example.

After watching Al Gore’s “The Inconvenient Truth” and even experiencing the mild winter that has just passed I saw the urgency of the situation reinforced when we got there and it was explained that the area in which we were going to work had eroded because of the lack of trees. It was up to the group of us to save that area from total destruction.

Another good thing about the tree restoration exercise was the chance to meet up with people who were as passionate about what they were doing as I was.  We have a saying in Jamaica that “one one cocoa full basket” meaning that in this case everybody coming together will make a greater impact.  We as a group shared with each other. I left making new friends and having an even deeper appreciation of teamwork.

To sum it all up the traits of leadership that were observed during all these exercises were not new to me as I had seen them before exhibited at different times in my life.  What was new though were how they were presented and manifested themselves.  I went away from all of them with a paradigm shift in my thinking about leadership and its impact on each one of us.  Integrity, honesty, humility, perseverance, patience and the list goes on, were seen in all to different degrees but showed how important each one is.  None can be considered insignificant.

As I leave Centennial College, I leave happy I saw the post which asked for interest in such a program. I’m happy I sent that email and even happier I got such a warm welcoming reply. My only regret knowing that I have benefitted so much is that more of my classmates didn’t take up the opportunity to be a part of this great program.

Below is just a pic of the group of Project managers of which I was a part. Until the next blog, peace….

Ainz