Enjoying life in Canada, my new home

By Veronica Chavez

Veronica Chavez came to came to Canada from Ecuador almost 10 years ago

Almost 10 years ago I came from Ecuador to work as a caregiver. I was very fortunate to be hired by a wonderful Canadian family who have treated me as part of their own. I always dreamed of living here. It is not easy to start over again, however having a pleasant and stable job made it possible to adjust and get settled faster. I have been working for the same family since I arrived in Canada. Thanks to my job I was granted permanent residence. I feel blessed to have seen the child grow all these years. She is sweet, kind and caring.

I became a Canadian citizen two years ago and I was able to vote for the mayor in the municipal election and recently in the federal election. It feels good to participate in my duties as a citizen.

I have hiked with the Toronto Bruce Trail Club to different areas, such as Blue Mountain, the Dundas Valley and Niagara Falls. Many close members of my family have suffered from cancer and to support that cause I have walked in the Terry Fox Run and volunteered for the CIBC Run for the Cure.

Even though I will always remember my roots and my homeland, I feel I belong in this great country. Thanks to my Canadian family, I have not only been able to learn about Canadian culture, they have also been an inspiration to me. I want to live the Canadian way, embracing the weather, engaging in the community and moving forward to succeed.

Ecuador is a beautiful country with amazing landscapes and great weather. Unfortunately, the economic and political instability makes many of us decide to emigrate in search of new and better opportunities. I often go back to visit my family and I can see the differences between the two countries. In Ecuador, the public health-care system is not as great as in Canada. I like the fact that public education is amazing here. In Ecuador, teachers are not well paid. Canadian roads are the best as well as access for disabled people.

One thing Ecuadorians and Canadians have in common is that we like to persevere to achieve our goals. I am a continuous learner. When I came to Canada I had an intermediate level of English. I studied high school in the U.S. in my teenage years. In Canada, I attended English classes at a newcomer’s centre and reached an advanced level. I have a university degree from Ecuador and am getting a certification in one of the city’s community colleges.

As I look back, it brings a smile to my face when I see how much I have accomplished. I have volunteered in different schools of the community and at the moment I am working as a lunchroom monitor at a local school.

The Centennial community has everything anyone would desire: a community centre and library with friendly and helpful staff, the shops and restaurants in the Centennial Plaza and good transportation. I still remember the fun times I spent playing with the child in all the parks in the neighbourhood, attending the different activities for children in the Recreation Centre and the Port Union Library.

What I appreciate about Canadians is their respect for diversity. Everyone here is accepted and included. Canadians are polite, kind and compassionate. It is great to be here.