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Here & Now

Time 0:02:52


I didn't know how cold it would be in Canada until our arriving in the winter of 2007. In that December, we received winter storms almost every week; people wore heavy boots and thick coats, streets were piled up with snow like grey walls. Coming from Taiwan where we have six months of summer, I wondered how could we survive such a severe, cold winter for next month or even longer. At the same time, I was determined to stay strong for my children: feeling sorry for us was never our intention for immigration.

Something had changed me then. Volunteering as a language tutor for an Indian newcomer family at the downtown public library, I clearly remembered how kind and gentle the family had treated me, how devoted the library staff and other volunteers were in that warm, cozy library; though I hardly knew anyone of them. I knew it was extremely cold out there, but while in the library, I was wrapped by whole hearted warmth through the people that connected to me. From then I realized that I needed to reach out and connect the world around me. I read these words on my cell phone to remind myself every day “Be up and front.”

Growing up in Taiwan, I’d never felt a moment that I needed to connect or reach out for people; we shared the same local dialects, similar cultural background and liked interests.

Life takes me to an unexpected turn. On August 21, 2007, my family of four arrived in Charlottetown. At first, we were excited to embrace the firsthand Canadian experiences: the first walk in the pumpkin patch, the snow fight and winter skiing; I even drove across country in a moonlight evening all alone.

My husband left us to be with his aging parents. Since then, I have hard time to sleep; quite often I woke up in the midnight and wondered where I was. It was difficult to remember that we were once a whole family. One night, my husband and my Skype communication came to a sudden stop and we could only text each other. Later I realized that it was because he cry so hard that he couldn`t do anything to respond my video-chat.

Fortunately, we have the supportive church family and benevolent neighborhood but I know that I need to do more to reach out and connect to my current community. Volunteering, participating at schools, in markets, listening and sharing: by being a Canadian teacher I become more critical in research the meaning throughout our immigration journey. What does it mean to us as Canadians? — I start to explore by connecting people, here and now.

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