A few months ago, I received an email from a complete stranger, Henry. Apparently, Henry has been reading my blog stories about immigration for a while. In his email, he introduced himself and explained to me that he and his family were soon to immigrate to Canada. He was excited but also very anxious about the unknown future settlement in Ontario. He asked me many questions in his email which I gladly replied with the best of my knowledge.


Although Henry was not the first stranger to contact me for information about immigration, I was still a bit taken back when I read his first email. How on earth did I get an email from a passerby? Years ago, I would probably delete it right away and change my email account all together. After years of blogging and hundreds of emails and messages from strangers later, I’ve learned to be “brave” yet still careful whenever I receive an email like that. I am a very private person. As much as I carry a different persona online, I am still a very serious person in real life.


During our course of communication, I was quite let down by another annoying experience I had encountered at another social site. I was very disappointed how people, total strangers, could judge and criticize one another blatantly online. Honestly, I had a second thought about how much I should get involved to help others.


Anyway, Henry and his family turned out to be wonderful in every way and very grateful with all the information I had given them through our email exchange and Skype communication. They arrived two weeks after we started chatting online via Skype and later comfortably settled in a rental condo in a city not far from me.


The total strangers have become friends all because of the amazing Internet. On the other hand, total strangers could also rip each other apart from different ends of the world in the comfort of their own home. It was crazy!


Henry and his wife are young professionals who know how to research for information through various channels. All they needed was a little guidance to direct them to the right resources, and the guidance was pretty much all I had to offer from this end of my computer or phone line. Henry’s family and I exchanged phone calls for many times and they ended up paying me a few visits as well.


Their lovely children are finally in school and they have moved into the new condo. Now, it is time for the adults to start looking for jobs. Henry asked me how they could thank me. My reply to him was that he could set up a blog and start writing down his experiences to share with others. One day he may be able to help somebody along the way. Pay it forward! Humility is all I would wish for.



This article is dedicated to Henry and his family. Best wishes to them for a good life in Canada.

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