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An Immigrant’s Ode to Canada

An Immigrant’s Ode to Canada

In June 2017, the Vancouver Art Gallery asked me to speak about my experiences in Canada. Other speakers were also present. Robert Orr was the Visa Officer at the High Commission of Canada then in war-torn Sri Lanka. After my talk, one of the other speakers told me that he knew Bob from his days in the diplomatic corps, and provided me with Bob’s contact information. I immediately sent Bob a message. Few days later he responded. We agreed to meet for lunch in Ottawa.

It was nice meeting and thanking the man three decades after I had been granted entry to Canada. He thanked him as well, which was a pleasant surprise.

“You have no idea how much it meant to hear from you and to know that things worked out so well,” he said. “As a visa officer, you would see the ‘before’ picture, but rarely do you know what happened after to people you had the opportunity to accept.”

It’s true that, as much I admire and respect Bob as a person, my friendship with Bob is not an isolated one. I’ve been a Canadian for many years, and I’ve met countless Canadians that have treated me with open-heartedness. I remember…

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