February 4th marks the 53rd anniversary of leaving my home in São Miguel, Azores for Toronto, Canada. Fifty-three years in the life of a sixty-two-year-old means that the balance of time is weighed heavily on the side of Toronto with only a few years of life in the city of Ponta Delgada.
Yet, it’s the balance of my younger life that in some ways weighs the most. I have already written enough about my inner journey of discovery and self-exploration; what it means for me to be someone who came from an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean to settle by the shores of Lake Ontario. The parallel between these two landscapes has continued to be a geographical mirror reflecting where I came from with where I live.
In 2008, I wrote Coming to Canada to celebrate my 40th anniversary with the intent of sharing my journey of immigration with my family and especially the younger generation; namely, my nieces (and later my nephews) and my cousins’ children all of whom were born in Canada. They were not immigrants but instead first-generation Portuguese Canadians.
I think all children’s stories of their immigration experience are important and I wish more people told their stories so that our collective diasporic memory gets documented and shared. I have said it often, but I’ll repeat it now on this anniversary date: Coming to Canada was the best thing my parents could have done for all of us.
Still, I miss my visits to São Miguel but I hope to return when the world health situation allows. Visiting the Azores is a gentle reunion with a place I love which still has the familiarity of home and yet is not home anymore.
I already posted Coming to Canada on my blog years ago, but here it is again, for anyone who is interested in reading it:
Where the road goes, I go…