Asian Heritage Month 2021



by Cao Li Jie

Before we moved to Canada we lived in Pattaya,Thailand for 7 years. Before that we lived in Shanghai,China where I met my husband who was there for 6 years. He is the only reason that I am here now. He is a Canadian citizen

I was born in Shanghai, my parents hometown and spent my childhood in a very small town near Chongqing, a city in southwest-central China. As a teen I lived in a small city in northeastern Jiangsu province. In my early 20’s I worked in a toy manufacturer in Guangzhou, a port city northwest of Hong Kong on the Pearl River. I decided I need more education after a few years of factory work and finished a 2 year accounting course at a college In Jiangsu province. Finally I moved to Shanghai in my late 20’s. We have been living in Canada since August 2017. The first two years I was happy, excited with my new life in Canada. Everything was new to me even though I had visited Canada more than a dozen times before we moved here. Then things started to get difficult. I was frustrated and got angry with little things that were not even bothering me before. I felt isolated and lonely. I started to ask questions of myself and looked for the answers. How do I adapt to a new lifestyle and integrate into the local community? What can I do to make it feel more like home?

Thankfully I met May Ip who co-founded the Grey Bruce Chinese Heritage and Culture Association. She gave me a great opportunity to meet with three wonderful ladies of Asian Heritage and share our immigration experiences together.

Lijie1 Muna, a beautiful young lady who is originally from Nepal has been in Canada for 5 years. She heard about Canada when she was very young and always wanted to come here. Also, she wanted to give her daughter a better life. Her new life here was very difficult at the start without knowing anyone but she just made small steps one by one such as finding a job,becoming a volunteer, getting connections with people and having a lot of friends! Now she’s very happy with her new life in Canada.
Navneet, a wise lady with a warm smile, immigrated to Canada 21 years ago from India. She was here to look for a new life with freedom, safety and equality. She had faced racial discrimination in public during her early years but she wasn’t afraid. She worked hard and became a volunteer. She met a lot of people through her daughter’s daycare and her workplace and made some friends. Now she’s living a happy life here! Lijie2
Lijie3  Pearly, a very intelligent lady who is a teacher, volunteer and a mother of two children, has been living here for more than a decade. Like me she moved here because she married a Canadian. She lived in Singapore before she moved here. Compared to Singapore, the new lifestyle is easy, relaxing and enjoyable.


Thanks to Muna, Navneet and Pearly, for sharing their stories. They are strong and beautiful. They broke barriers and changed their lifestyles in a brand new way. I think I have found the answer to my questions. In order to adapt to this lifestyle one should embrace the new life with an open heart. Try to understand Canada, Canadian people and culture, and get involved in the local community. Soon you will feel at home in this wonderfully diverse country.


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