In this op-ed, Omaira, a Canada-based lifestyle blogger and self-proclaimed “HR Evangelist and Mommy” reflects upon life as a brand new immigrant, and the sacrifices our parents make to ensure better opportunities for their children. For more from Omaira, be sure to check out her Instagram page!
We moved to Canada some 12 years ago. Being a young and energetic 21-year-old, I had lots of dreams and hopes for a bright future in this country.
All I was feeling was happy and excited, but alongside me, were my parents.
First generation immigrants, well into their early 50’s, my parents had sacrificed their happy, settled lives and careers to move to an unknown country, where everything was unfamiliar. From the language to the food, the attire to the weather.
I’m sure they were happy about the prospect of a bright and safe future for us, their kids and the upcoming generations. Alongside that, however, I’m sure that they were feeling a lot of other things. Fear, nervousness, sadness, anxiety, and a million “what if’s?!”
Yet, they maintained a strong face. They listened to all our tantrums about school or university, or how they just didn’t understand our struggles enough. They worked the odd hours, the so-called ‘odd’ jobs. They did this not to afford lavish vacations, but merely to be able to put food on the table.
Today, as an adult, when I see people in similar situations who show up to my job fairs, stand in line for hours, give it their all during the interview process, all with a big smile on their face, it does shake me from inside out. It reminds me of how indebted I am to my parents.
For I, my siblings or kids, will never know the struggle of standing in the freezing cold and rethinking buying a $1 cup of coffee a thousand times.