Fifteen Years In Canada

The First Two

This week was our family’s fifteenth anniversary of arriving in Canada, and while I do a whole lot of soul searching and looking back at these years I want to mark the ocasion by posting a translation of an article I wrote for the Correo Canadiense, an Hispanic community paper, on our two year anniversary.

With the benfit of hindsight I found that the optimism projeted in this article was similar to that of a runner who is only 5Km into a marathon. Many hard challenges came later. But I haven’t hit the wall.

Two Years in Canada

Our family recently reached the two-year anniversary of arriving in Canada, and for me they have been two years of significant growth. It has been difficult but the overall balance has been very positive There is no doubt, today I am a much better person, and there is still a lot to do.

Coming to Canada has been a bit like being reincarnated, but with the benefit of keeping my memory, like starting a new journal after putting the old ones away, full and ink stained (dating myself?) in a trunk. But it’s a trunk without a lock that I can open at any time to review and avoid the mistakes and stains of the past.

Even the dues that most immigrants have pay in pursuit of the vaunted “Canadian Experience” have helped me grow. They made me take jobs that I would have never considered doing in the past, but now I know that if it ‘s necessary I can work at anything and everything. I learned that I can contribute under any circumstance, and reconfirmed that doing so bears fruits. Keeping a positive attitude is essential.

I smile when I recall my adolescent son’s horror stricken face when I mentioned that I had probably met his friend’s parents, who live in a tony neighbourhood, while working close by as flagman on an asphalt laying crew.

I learned about Toronto’s multiculturalism while biking to work with a Jamaican; working at a metal stamping plant with Sri Lankan ladies that spoke more Tamil than English; with Urdu speaking Pakistani Muslims that made time during the day to pray to Mecca; had lunch with people from Iraq and Newfoundland; and got rides home after work with Sikh friends, listening to Hindu music at full blast.

Today I work with Anglo Saxon Canadians, Canadian Italian, Portuguese, Ethiopian, Somali. and Latin Americans (from almost every Spanish speaking country).

Today I feel proud of my experiences, they have been like a difficult exam that I have passed with a good grade. The search for work forced me to re-evaluate myself, take risks and to re-confirm my willingness to learn. During this process I have re-discovered things about myself that I like, and taken up activities that I always wanted to do and never did, maybe due to the routine of survival and the familiar. Starting from zero is difficult but it gives you the opportunity of exploring and taking new paths.

Today I am on a permanent quest for growth, reading books I never had the time for and looking for an evaluating community activities to et involved with (something I never did before). There is a long list of things I want to do, discovering a new world and re-discovering myself. I feel that I’m growing again, more centred than ever, and on a road to becoming a better person, a better partner and a better father.

Not everything has been positive, we have experienced very difficult times, but the final result has been very good. The road is hard, but with time we are going to go far.

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