As a young kid, I watched a lot of Cartoon Network and Disney channel shows on weekend mornings and evenings. I always found it intriguing that Cory from “That’s So Raven” ate cereal for breakfast, or how Raven wore casual clothes to school given she was still in high school. I thought it would be so cool be just like them one day.
That one day happened and it was a bittersweet moment for me. Ten years ago, my family immigrated to Canada from the Philippines. I’d always pictured myself and my future children growing up, learning, and living in my hometown, so moving to Vancouver made me realize my future would not be what I imagined.
I remember my first few months in Canada. It was what they said it would be: picturesque with a lot of trees, gardens and parks properly groomed and taken care of, streets clean with barely any litter. I was very eager to try and have cereal for breakfast. It was good while it lasted but I quickly came to conclusion that something was missing: at home I was so used to having eggs, rice and another side cooked for breakfast that I started to become homesick quickly. Don’t get me wrong, cereal is amazing, it just isn’t as cool as Cory depicted it to be. Every now and then I would go off cereal, and even now it will never take the place of eggs and rice in my stomach. Rice in general is a main staple in my culture and everywhere I go, I always take a rice cooker with me.
I always questioned what would happen to our religion (Catholicism), which is a big deal in my culture, when we moved here. I thought it would be sweet since Canada is not big on religion, because as a kid I never really liked going to Church, and so I thought we could forget all about that. But I was wrong: if anything, moving to Canada brought my religion closer to me. My family and I continued going to Church on Sundays, and as much as I hated it back then I came to realize that it is a huge part of my identity, and it gives me a lot of stability.
Much of my culture remains strong and is even enhanced due the richness of Canada’s cultures; it really is the best of both many worlds. While I can never forget my culture, being in Canada has given me a chance to learn more about other cultures; for instance, this October not only is Halloween happening but also Diwali (the festival of lights); this is a great chance for people from other cultures to observe and enjoy.
I am thankful to call Canada my home because here I can be whoever I want, practice what I preach, and relish what others have to offer.