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My First Anniversary in Canada

Written by CNN Team

The following is a guest post by Jesi D. Mase, a proud member of the Canadian Newcomers Network.


Our family started with humble beginnings. I grew up wearing my cousin’s “hand-me-down” dresses and shoes. Through hard work, patience, and motivation, my father had his break in his business and he started to build his brokerage company. 

On August 14th of 2020, I took my very first step in Canada. The entry point was Vancouver, British Columbia. I had mixed emotions of fear, sadness, and excitement. At that time, many students were denied to enter Canada due to border restrictions. I consider myself one of the luckiest because I was allowed to enter. I felt sad at that time because we were supposed to travel together as a family. I felt the excitement because I was venturing into a new chapter in my life – to be a college student again.

Studying abroad has always been my aspiration since I was in grade school. I tried applying for international education but did not get the chance to be selected. I parked this idea when I started to gain my confidence in our HR profession and worked my way up to be HR Manager and aspired for the Executive Level position in the corporate world. With so much passion in studying, while I was building my career, I enrolled in a Master’s program in UP Diliman – Master of Industrial Relations major in Human Resources Management. I was able to get the degree in 2010 and shortly after that, I got married. 

After 16 years of working and building our careers in the Philippines, my husband and I chose Canada to have a new start.

Finally, after more than a decade of aspiring to be an international student, I got a message from an immigration consultant and I got curious about the process of being a student in Canada. All our savings for the past 9.5 years of marriage, we put it all together and went through the process of arranging the documents and credentials. A month after, the letter of approval for my family was granted, and they were allowed to be with me. That day was very memorable. 

Now, we are celebrating our first year in Canada. Following are the life facts that I learned during my year’s stay.

1. A Positive Attitude is Vital

Being here in Canada is my long-term goal. Anything beyond that is a BONUS. I am thankful for every help, assistance, experience, and friendship. I am grateful for every Kabayan who gives their used furniture, jackets, and toys. We need it for our start-up. I am thankful for every advice and opportunity provided to have additional income to make ends meet. I appreciate the government benefits, like the tax refund and the quarterly GST credit. Again, I don’t know how words can express my complete gratitude for these beautiful blessings.

2. Be Kind

Being kind to everyone will win us, friends. It’s hard to start life if we let ourselves be in a position where people hate us. There is no peace of mind. 

3. Change of Routine

For the past 16 years, our routine is focused on work (90%) and some personal (5%), and social life (5%). Now, we have more quality FAMILY TIME with our daughter.

4. Stronger Family Connection

Now that we have more time with each other, we can communicate more and connect more. Whenever we encounter some challenges, we tend to lean on each other and solve them as a family. We celebrate our small wins like the first job, first paycheck, first tax refund, first birthday celebration, etc. (hoping for more)

5. Stronger Faith

To summarize everything, having solid faith made us this far and will achieve our goals and dreams.

We tend to envy people who have been in the fast and easy lane; we do not know it is more fun to see and enjoy the view on the regular lane. For years, we have wanted to be on the top that we forget how to be happy and satisfied with small things that matter. I am so glad because I learn to appreciate these things and experience everything with my family. It is them that fuel my motivation to move forward and be successful here in Canada. 

This new chapter started with a random text from an immigration consultant of possible opportunities added with pure motivation, patience, and solid faith.

*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.