20 years ago this year, my parents and I immigrated from Mexico to Vancouver, Canada. This picture was taken minutes before we got on the plane…
If you aren’t familiar with my origin story, I was born and raised in Mexico City by my amazingly brave parents.
Late 1998, my parents went on an Alaskan cruise. The cruise just so happened to take off from Vancouver. Even though they only spent a total of 48 hours in Vancouver, my parents applied to immigrate there the day they got back to Mexico. They said they fell in love immediately and knew that that’s where they wanted me to grow up. While they thought it was a long shot, they wanted to give it a try anyway. Much to everyone’s surprise, we got approved. This is the picture we sent with our application:
My parents then had to take on the herculean sized task of uprooting our life. They sold our house and their business and a short twelve months later our closest friends and family met us at the airport to see us off. I get a lump in my throat whenever I see this picture.
How were my parents so brave? What was going through their mind in this picture? How gracious were our friends and family to be losing us yet they still showed up in support to send us off? And could my parents have imagined that 10 years after this picture was taken they would be the ones sending me off to immigrate to the US for the next decade?
I was only 6 years old and until we got on the plane I had no understanding of how far we were moving. I apparently thought Canada was a restaurant that was advertised “more than McDonald’s! We should try it!”
This is us 4 years later as brand new Canadian Citizens:
I’m in awe of my parents willpower and sacrifice! They started over from scratch in a new country with a new language! Sure, we took english classes before we left but the first year was our crash course. And boy did the sacrifice pay off! I had the most amazing childhood in Canada and my now parents have a huge friend community and business is booming… I’m so proud of my parents and to be their daughter.
Even so, we miss Mexico with our entire hearts and try to go back as often as possible to see family. If you see me at an authentic Mexican restaurant, a Mariachi show or at a Luis Miguel concert. I’m the girl in the front row who cries the whole time. (Pro tip: if a Mexican restaurant serves limes and corn tortillas, that’s a good sign. Mexicans do not eat cheddar cheese or lemons! I have nothing against Tex Mex, I love it. But I digress…)
Thank you Mami & papi for your courage and sacrifice. I wouldn’t be where I am if you hadn’t been brave. Thank you for giving me my wings and teaching me to fly!
I spent 10 of the happiest years of my life in Vancouver, and this year I am celebrating my 10th year in LA… stay tuned for part 2 of my immigration story: Why I Moved Out at 16.
Are you originally from the country you live in?