My husband (Wicttor Rios) and I arrived in Canada in 2018. Even though we had never been here before, after an armed robbery, countless disappointing incidents and no good future in sight, we decided to leave Brazil for good.
We got here with only 8 bags caring our entire lives, no job in sight, and with enough money to get us going for just a few months. Back then, we didn’t have the best English and we also didn’t know a single soul in this country.
Everything was hard. Adapting to a completely different culture, colder temperatures than I could ever imagine, not having credit, prejudice towards newcomers, bureaucracy, not knowing how to get around in Toronto, not having North American experience (which btw is something that I will never understand. Experience is experience).
For folks who have never lived in a different country, try to imagine how you feel when you get lost. Now imagine living with that feeling everywhere you go, at every second of the day, and on every decision you make. From choosing what toothpasteto buy to deciding where to rent an apartment. Everything was difficult but, in a weird way, also crazy exciting.
And somehow we made it.
We got good jobs, I graduated, we made friends, we started to grow in our careers, and three years later we have made a great life for ourselves out here. And we did it all in the middle of a pandemic.
Today we finally got our Permanent Resident cards. It’s the first big step towards the Canadian citizenship and I couldn’t be prouder. If that doesn’t make me feel empowered, I don’t know what else could.
Thank you to every single one of you who crossed our paths and helped us somehow, whether giving us a chance or some very needed encouragement.
I can only hope I can also make a difference in another struggling immigrant’s life someday.