On my way home today, I met my elderly neighbour B. B was standing near a busy traffic junction, watching the traffic whizzed-by.
As I passed by, I smiled and greeted her, "Good evening" and that became the opening for B to share her migration story.
B came to Canada 50+ years ago and has lived around the same area since. She originated from a Eastern European country, and shared that she came to Canada alone, via Austria. Her mother gave her this advice before she left her home, "Work hard and try to fit in."
When B landed in Canada, she did not speak a word of English. She went to a nearby fruit-canning factory and quickly got a job on the factory lines. She picked up the skills required on-the-job, mostly through imitating her colleagues. Not long after, she attended night classes at a Vancouver college to learn English. Time flies, she met and married her husband (also of Slavic-origin, but a 2nd-generation Canadian); moved in with her in-laws; had 2 girls; and is now a grandmother living in a 3-generation household.
This evening, B was standing at the road junction, reminiscing how that area used to be all farms, fields and undeveloped patches, and remarking about the changes to the landscape over the decades. As we parted, she advised me, "Take things as they come."