Adapting: Sun Shines Everywhere

by Ling Wang

It's time again to reflect upon the past and plan ahead, and my 6-year-old daughter and I look back on the past months since we arrived in Canada from China. In the summer of 2006, we were reunited with my beloved husband in St. Catharines, and we are so amazed at what we have achieved in our lives over such a short time.

Thanks to the abundant, valuable settlement information and orientation services available from community agencies such as the Folk Arts Council of St. Catharines/ Multicultural Centre, our new life in Canada has unfolded as a very nice picture with many brilliant colors and visions of more good things to come.

Within two months, we happily bought a new home which is conveniently located in a pleasant neighborhood. I passed my driving test and obtained all the cards we are supposed to possess. I attended the three-week Job Finder's Club of the Business Education Council, which enhanced my confidence and reinforced my belief that everyone could contribute if they wish, but still need to try their best, no matter how new or unaccustomed to Canadian society.

Soon after my arrival, I began volunteer work to be part of the community. Though I am still quite a newcomer to this country, my case illustrates the truth of the saying that volunteering leads to employment. I am so thankful that my professional skills, overseas work experience and good interpersonal skills were quickly recognized by the Folk Arts Council of St. Catharines/Multicultural Centre where I volunteered, and the Centre offered me full-time employment as a settlement counselor helping other newcomers to Canada. As the saying goes, good luck happens when good preparation meets opportunity. I deem myself to be a lucky person having so much passion and love for work, people and life itself.

Our life in Canada is blessed and enriched because of the amazingly good adaptation of my six-year-old daughter MeiMei, who had never lived outside China. When we first arrived, she was a bit shy and nervous as she could hardly speak and understand English and she was dependant on me to act as her "interpreter". Thanks to the wonderful resources available from the city library, her English ability improved rapidly as we borrowed lots of cartoon videos that we encouraged her to watch every day. Soon after she started school, her confidence picked up as she found it easier to understand others and express herself with the help of teachers and ESL classes.

In her school report card, she was described as a happy and cooperative girl and a joy for both teachers and classmates to be with. We smile from the bottom of our hearts when we see her laugh and jump so readily into all activities!

For kids, life may not be very different no matter where they live as long as their caring parents are around. However, on a cozy Sunday morning when we woke up from a good sleep, without any guidance, MeiMei started giving us a very interesting description of the differences she noticed about Canada.

  • She likes Canada because there are so many squirrels jumping up and down on beautiful houses with chimneys;
  • she likes Canada because she can expect to build a big snowman when it snows, and while it may be cold outside, she doesn't have to wear heavy jackets indoors;
  • she likes Canada because there are so many books and cartoon movies to borrow for free from the city library;
  • she likes Canada because every month, she gets a chance to be the "Super Star" in her class;
  • and she likes Canada because there are many holidays, seemingly designed especially for kids, and teachers always teach them fun activities around the festivals!

There are so many reasons for her to be in love with the life in Canada. Before Christmas, MeiMei's picture "Chinese New Year" was honored by being selected and printed by the District School Board of Niagara as one of its holiday cards. The holiday cards will raise funds for the schools. She is the only representative from her school and one of the top ten talented "artists" within the schools in the Niagara region. We are really proud of MeiMei's rapid achievement in her new country Canada and we are gratified and convinced that Canada is truly a country that embraces and recognizes the diversity of cultures and people. With good health, a meaningful job during the day and a lovely home to rest at night, there isn't much more we need in the world. The sun shines everywhere and life will always be rich as we fully dedicate our hearts and efforts to every single day.

CNM