Deep and aged roots of families in genetic and historical context, our roots tell their own story of who we are and how we came to be as individuals and societies. Each one weaves the fabric of kinship across networks of life, across place and time.
In 1972, at the young age of 7, I traveled with my siblings and mother to her homeland, in hopes that we would reach our destination in time to see my grandfather before he passed. It was an opportunity to meet my grandparents and extended family. It was a quick trip, but nonetheless a memorable one for a child. I learned more about my family and grew to love, understand and appreciate not only my heritage but the sacrifices my parents made.
Being a refugee or immigrant in a new country isn’t easy by any means for anyone. Learning the language, finding work that provides a roof over your head, putting food on the table for loved ones, learning the culture, to name a few are all challenges faced. What would you add?
It takes guts and courage to face challenges without fear. Adaptability and an open mind, perseverance, resourcefulness, independence, compromise, a desire to live life to its fullest.
“We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.”
– Mother Theresa
My second experience was in 1986 when my father’s mother was ill and we received notice that she wouldn’t survive much longer. My father could not travel to his birthplace, he was a landed immigrant in Canada, at that time. If he had returned, he would not have been allowed to leave because the country was ruled by communism. I had just started working for the Government after graduation and wasn’t even there a year. I had requested time off on compassionate grounds to go be with my father’s mother and was denied. I quit and went anyway. I spent 5 ½ months with my parent’s siblings and family.
Upon returning from my trip I was fortunate enough to get my position back with the government. I spent an additional 4 years with them before leaving to pursue experience in a different area. Many companies, lots of different experiences, some great, some not so great. Nonetheless, worthwhile and thankful for every experience in this journey we call life.
“Many people are passionate, but because of their limiting beliefs about who they are and what they can do, they never take actions that could make their dream a reality”
– Anthony Robins
Fast forward to 2002 when my beautiful angel daughter was born into this world and 2008 she left this world. As you can imagine, this personal journey, was heart-wrenching but was also showered with love and beauty. Her story and our journey will be highlighted in my upcoming nonfiction novel.
I hope to have my first book published in 2017. One that would never have been possible if it wasn’t for the people here that inspired me to try. Every dollar made from this book will go back into the organizations that helped our family – The BC Center for Abilities, BC Children’s Hospital, Canuck Place Children’s Hospice and towards international initiatives that promote the well-being and lives of children, families and their communities.
“Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.”
– Henry van Dyke
I’m not rich monetarily and I wasn’t born into money. In fact, my father came from a very poor family. I was fortunate that at a young age I was taught about the value of hard work. It allowed me the opportunity to travel extensively both professionally and personally and spend quality time with family and people from different parts of the world.
“Sometimes it’s a form of love just to talk to somebody that you have nothing in common with and still be fascinated by their presence.”
Shortly after we celebrated the start of the new year 2016, my father became ill and we thought we would lose him. I came across a chest that my father kept in the garage. It was the chest that contained the items my mother and father needed as they journeyed by boat to start their life in Canada in 1960.
Little did I know at the time that the chest would be full of newspapers from the home country. Years upon years of stories and articles. If that’s not history I don’t know what is.
I also learned by going through pictures that my father was an active advocate for his homeland while living in Canada and this is where I believe advocacy began for me.
I hope each one of you takes the time to travel back to your roots. Ask yourself what you can do differently in your life from now on to experience more meaning, success and fulfillment. I wish you all the best in finding your way to a richer more meaningful life that inspires others to try.
“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”
– Oliver Wendell Holmes