My Place is Here

I came to Canada last summer. This was a good season to be here because the weather was warm (too warm sometimes!) and that made the transition from my country to Canada easier. After a while, I realized that even if I felt like being on a long vacation, it was difficult for me to speak with people and to understand them. I started to search on the Internet and I found some useful information.

One challenge was when I got assessed for my English level. After that, I started LINC program at the level 6. I attended the English class almost every day and I always did my homework no matter whether I had or didn’t have time. During the classes we had many guest speakers who taught us how we can settle in the school and in the community. We listened to a variety of topics, i.e. newcomers stories, police enforcement, health, gardening, job search, transportation, you name it. We also participated in field trips to: Children Festival at Granville Island, Deer Lake, Port Vancouver, CBC, Eco-Sculptures – an event organised by Burnaby community.

Eco-Sculptures are a modern form of horticulture focusing on community and environmental themes in Burnaby. A sculpture provides the three-dimensional elements of texture and perspective. I enjoyed working on a 2-meter salmon with my classmates and my teacher and suddenly I had an idea: what if I could bring my grandson to this event? So, I made an appointment for Robert -my grandson.We arrived there too late, so we couldn’t enter the Eco-Sculpture area. I called his mom to tell her that we cannot enter and she told me not to return at home because it was better for Robert to stay outdoors and breathe fresh air than play games on his tablet; and because Robert wanted to work as an Eco-Sculptor, we spend some time on a playground near the Eco-Sculptures location. Around 11 o’clock when a group of people finished their work and left, we entered and we only succeeded in visiting the location because it was lunch time. After one hour, we returned and we started the activity. Robert worked with me like a grown-up. I poked holes into the “skin” and Robert inserted the plants. He was very meticulous and he did an awesome job because he has tiny fingers. We planted a big owl with red and green little plants.

When we arrived at home, Robert told his parents that he enjoyed what he did very much and that he wanted to go again to the Eco-Sculptures event next year. Robert was very proud of “his owl”. Also, his parents were happy because their son had spent more time outside, successfully planting green stuff on the 3-D owl Eco-Sculpture.

I appreciate the opportunity of being able to participate in field trip activities organized by our school. These kinds of activities help both me and my family to get to know and enjoy the community and to make me feel better and settled in Canada.

Now, due to all these challenges, when people ask me about directions or about other information, I can answer as a native Canadian. After a year of living in Burnaby BC, I still feel like being on a long holiday at this stage in my life, and I am getting used to the idea that this is home.

By Daniela Coman

This story is Daniela’s submission about overcoming a challenge which was submitted to our Literacy is Life contest in September, 2016.

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