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Creating Community

When I immigrated to Canada at the age of 16, I had a difficult time adjusting to the country. I wanted to return to Trinidad and Tobago during the first 5 years of being there. My grandmother encouraged me to stay, but what really changed my heart and made me settle down was a letter that her sister wrote to me. She heard that I was having difficulty adjusting and instead suggested that I look at the beauty of winter, the beauty of things around me and create my community. I had a much better life since then and I learned how to make winter seem shorter in my mind. I also learned how to appreciate it more and embrace its beauty. I still think winter sunrises in Canada are some of the most spectacular sunrises I have ever seen.


She suggested I find what is familiar to me and encouraged me to join my high school's Alumni in Canada, which I did. It was exactly what I needed. Familiarity. Being here in the Azores I am so inspired by the expat community. People's lives are so interesting. I love hearing their stories especially of how they ended up here. I mean, it's such a small island and so many people have traveled the world only to land here and fall in love with it. Many have made it their home.


In this picture, the one person we came to visit, Ernest's uncle, is helping me with the clearing of a section of our future garden. I love working alongside him and learning about his life. I have a very deep gratitude for all of his help. Uncle was the first member of my community.


I'm adjusting very well I must say. I am now a member of different online expats groups including one for a church community, gardening, general interest on the island and even Canadians in Portugal. These groups are particularly resourceful for finding things from North America that I cannot seem to find on the island. If I feel I am struggling with something, there are people in the group who feel the same way. I don't feel alone. I also love hearing their success stories of adjusting and making this country their home. If you are considering immigrating to another country, I strongly suggest you do exactly that, join some of the expats groups, engage in discussions and I assure you, when you arrive, you will feel more at home. I've found the people we met face to face from these groups to be very understanding and shedding humour on situations that challenged us made our burdens seem much lighter.




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