IWA’s Secret Santa: An evening of sharing, learning and hearty laughs

The night of December 6, 2019, would be fabled for some light-hearted fun for the members and guests who attended the IWA’s festive Secret Santa gathering.
The Octet had arrived at The Old Spaghetti Factory for an evening of sharing, learning and exchange a few hearty laughs along the way. In attendance were Gabriela, Claudiu, Liliana, David (accompanied by Sheryl, his girlfriend), Sidharth, Vidya and Njoroge.
We had a nice cozy corner for ourselves in the beautiful Romanesque architecture themed restaurant. The night began with brief introductions from all in attendance, sharing their escapades of migrating to the Great White North!
There was a nice blend of experience, exuberance and eloquence amongst the group, leading to some deep-rooted conversations around immigration, family, travel, food, sports, movies, books, and a whole lot more.
While we shared diverse experiences and encounters of being looked down as immigrants, we all shared the sentiment of being grateful and mindful of everyone who has helped us reach a stage where we consider all as individuals (in both a personal and professional capacity); we prefer to avoid finger-pointing and using labels that make people feel “less than…”

Being one of the newest members to join the Immigrant Writers Association (IWA), the evening was very helpful for me to better understand what the association strives for – which includes presenting the right platform to bring together like-minded individuals (1st and 2nd Generation Immigrants to Canada); creating an environment where everyone’s voice matters, and where collaborating on projects is the ideal way to bring the best of all minds for being the ambassadors of the group.

One of the ideas that came up from the discussions was to interact with indigenous people of Canada and better understand the cultural differences and similarities between us, and capture this discussion in a way that can enable us as an association to approach future projects with a whole new perspective.

In the end, The Secret Santa: Blind Date With A Book was a fun-filled evening, where everyone left with a belly full of delicious eats, a book in hand for a delightful read and a warm smile to accompany us on a chilly night.

~ Sidharth Iyer

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