December 20th, 2016 signalled six long years since I immigrated to Canada. The day passed by without me even remembering. Six years ago, on that day, my life changed forever. Being a fourteen year old who had already formed a close bond with my group of friends and settled into high school, it was difficult to leave the place I called home. I remember being tearful as the areoplane lifted off and I left my home country, not knowing when I would get to see it again. Needless to say that I was miserable my first year here. It was difficult for me to adjust to the new country and I wasn’t that great at making new friends. I’m still not. However, I’ve grown so much in the last six years and I actually like the person I’ve become.
However one thing I really struggled with was the guilt that I sometimes felt when speaking about my home. Here in Canada, if you’re an immigrant you’re very familiar with the term “back home”. The problem is that at which point do I start calling Canada my home? Is it possible to have two homes? I love Canada, but that doesn’t mean that I love my home country any less. I believe that a major portion of this guilt is reinforced or stems from the citizens in our “home” countries. Where I’m from, those who leave are often taunted by those as being foreigners and “changing” just because they left for a better life. People use this to taunt us in a joking manner. However, there is some truth behind every joke. What they are unkowingly doing is creating conflict within our hearts. Is it wrong for us to move away, move on and try to create a better life for ourselves? No, I don’t think so. But they would argue that those of us that leave often forget those that they left behind. I would like to say, “No! it’s not that we have forgotten you. But we also have our own lives to live. We have to start from the bottom and work our way up and that is not an easy task”.
I love both places equally. They both have their positive aspects as well as their faults. I am incapable of forgetting the people who raised me as well as where I was raised. Do you know that saying, “It takes a village to raise a child”? Well, I was literally raised in that village. It was a village where every older woman was my auntie even though we weren’t related by blood. Growing up in a place like that taught me strong family values as well as the importance of community. Those values get lost in a big city like Toronto, so I’m lucky to have had that experience before the move. My heart is big enough to have many homes. My childhood home and the Toronto – the birthplace of my adolescence.
Who knows, maybe this isn’t the end of my journey and there may be many more homes to come.