Salome Jayakody

I was raised in a land of opportunity. But don’t be fooled, I was not born here. Starting a life in a developed country is a dream for many, but is ventured by few. My father was one of these few. As a daughter of immigrants, i can proudly say that my biggest heroes are my parents My parents, who moved to a new country, learned a whole new language, and found work all while raising five children. Their broken English is a reminder of their hard work and I can’t help but respect that. Their identities have made a great impact on my life and have altogether shaped who I am. The origin story of my family as Canadian immigrants begins in the summer of 2003, when my father temporarily leaves his wife and three daughters in Sri Lanka to search for a New Life in Canada When I meet my father again in Canada one year later, I don’t recognize him because all of his hair is gone. When he reaches down to hug me

I’m afraid at first, until I recognize his scent and immediately let him engulf me in the warm safety of his arms. It’s sprint 2004, and my mother begins diligently sewing clothing and watching her diet. When I thoughtfully let her know that the clothing is too small for me, she laughs for a while before calling my father and then they laugh together. She practically glows as reads with me at night, promising something good is an its way. Soon, we move out of our basement into the house next door, and the next. thing I know I’m helping them pick a name for my newborn baby brother. My mother pacifies my constant jealousy of the new baby by encouraging me to read to her. I didn’t realize it yet, but my mother couldn’t understand much of the English books I read to her; nonetheless she encouraged me to keep reading. It’s December 2, 2005, and my second younger brother is born. My sisters and I are forced into one bedroom so that my parents can give the third bedroom to my brothers. My sisters constantly tease me, but it is after one particularly vicious argument regarding my second rate report card that leaves me running, once again, into the comforting arms of my father who is resting before another night shift. He tells me that I should be proud of myself no matter what, and not much later my mother finds us both asleep in his bed with the report card tossed to the floor. It is calm one Saturday morning until my TV time is interrupted by my father coming home with garbage bags full of clothing and toys. After a quiet argument between my parents, my mother gives us permission to play with them. My sisters and 1 are thrilled as we dig through the bags, claiming the best items for ourselves.

We overhear my father who says that the toys and clothing are from one of his old friends whose children have long grown out of them. I don’t mind very much because all of the clothes I already own were my sisters’ before they were handed down to me. It’s not obvious to me at this time, but my father has been out of a job for a while. I remember numerous nights eating canned soup for dinner, and repeating the same prayer at night before bed, “Dear Jesus, please give Daddy a job and keep us all healthy and safe. Amen”. It’s the summer of 2006 when my prayers are answered. My father has found a job as a transport truck driver, and the dark cloud that has covered our house for months finally dissipates.

That summer my father lets me come to work with him on numerous long distance trips. His deliveries take us to Buffalo, Pennsylvania, Ottawa, London, and more. 1 spend my summers this way for the next two years, until my dad decides he wants to take a shot at something bigger. He and a friend begin a partnership for their own transport truck company in 2009.

My mom isn’t happy about this change at first, because he spends countless late hours and weekends at work. However, she accepts it because we have moved to Canada to seek new opportunities and my dad is only taking a necessary next step for our family. It’s April 2010 and my parents tell us that we are selling our house to look for something larger. There’s no resistance because we know our family of seven can’t continue living in a three bedroom house. So during the summer of 2011, we leave our comfy Brampton subdivision and move to a brand new house, designed 10 our liking. My dad spends the next three years working to pay it off, so he’s only home at night and on Sundays. In this time, I learn things from my mother. Often my mother’s advice comes in the Form of stories about an experience in her life, which eventually guides me to a decision; either I can learn from her mistakes or follow in her footsteps (the latter has become second nature to me). IL has become evident to me that my actions are greatly affected by my parents. They never pressure me to get good grades; I am motivated to do well because I appreciate the struggle they went through to get me here. The hard work, courage, and natural inclination to aim higher are traits that I hope to pass down to my kids as well. In my experience, I have noticed that in a child’s earliest years they are somewhat a version of their parents. II this is true, and every day I become more like myself and less like my parents, then I don’t want to grow up.