I’m a teacher, and my subject is English. During university years, I aspired to teach literature. I wanted to be admired for my eloquence and knowledge. Well, I was pursuing that self-important goal during grad school when I began to feel a growing sense of disappointment. “What’s the use of all this?” I can remember thinking. “There is better stuff written about every poet that I care to read.” I had the mental image that my contribution to literary criticism did as much good as throwing a pebble on top of a mountain.
Now, a few years later, it’s my privilege to teach English to newcomers to Canada. I don’t care so much to be admired; I love what I do because it’s intensely practical. On one day, my students come to class not knowing a thing about the passive voice, and they leave able to write it and use it in conversation. Not only is the teaching practical, but it also connects me with wonderful people. As I hear their stories during lunch and break times, I come to admire their courage and perseverance. That’s why I want to take this week and next to share two stories of people who have come to Canada and made it. This first story is written by Emilia from Romania:
I remember my first day in Canada and I will never forget. It was on June 18, 2003, a sunny day. My daughter, my husband and I arrived at 13:55 at the International Toronto Airport. We were very tired after 13 hours of flying and very nervous.
Our first impression was how big the airport was and how many people were travelling in this airport. In our native country the airport is very small.
|Disembarking at Pearson International Airport|
The big impact was the language, because we did not speak English well, and when the officer from emigration started talking with us and when he started asking questions about our legal documents, I started crying. I did not understand anything and I felt lost. My first reaction was looking at my husband and asking him, “What are we doing here? These people speak a different language than us and we can never understand and talk with them.”
But now after nine years we are still here. I am taking ESL English classes, my English is improving every day, I can make conversation with my co workers, and many other things.
That was my first day in Canada. It was very confusing, but I will never regret choosing Canada. Now we are Canadians and we live in a free country with free people.