July 26, 1999
This story was written by Nevenka Klacar, from Toronto, Ontario. Nevenka and her family have lived in Canada for three years. Nevenka lives with her husband and children. She worked with her tutor to improve her spoken English and her reading and writing skills. When Nevenka first came to Frontier College she was working part time. She is now working full time in a job she enjoys. Nevenka's husband is Milovan Klacar the master puppet maker.
Many years ago the name Canada didn't mean that much to me. It was just the name of a country I had learned about in school. To me it was a white country, without sun and with lots of snow. It was very far away, a lonely country at the end of the world.
At the same time I was living my life in my lovely country, happy, never dreaming of going somewhere else. It seemed that happiness would last forever.
But, as always, something happens and our lives are changed completely. I was forced to leave my country over night, not having the time to say goodbye to my friends, to my city where I had spent the happiest days of my life. I didn't have a chance to take a last walk along the streets of Sarajevo. That part of my life was over and I had to start a new one. I was lucky because by family was with me. There were too many families that I met that would be separated for ever.
I was going to Canada, looking for a new home in a new country. In the mean time my lovely country was torn to parts and it was lost to me. I was scared. I was crying all the way across the ocean. I was afraid of that cold unknown country.
How am I going to survive its cold winters, I asked myself? I kept fighting with that part of me which wanted to stay. All of you who have never been in a similar situation could hardly begin to understand these feelings.
It was September, a beautiful sunny day my first day in Canada. This day will live forever in my memory. Where is the cold country without the sun and the flowers? I must be wrong. Canada was waiting for me with a smile and hope. All of my concerns and worries were wrong. Everything was like a dream. Many happy faces around me. On such a day everyone must be happy, or was it just my imagination. When an immigration officer said with a smile, "Welcome to Canada," I felt welcomed more than ever.
Three years have just passed, since my family and I came here. It's taken a long time to know the people, culture and the way of living. I can tell you that we have found in this country our home and our new life. Sometimes in my dreams, I go back to my small country, searching for a life and when I wake up and see the blue Canadian sky, I know that my home is here.
[Taken with permission, from a collection of stories written by learners entitled New Beginnings in Canada, published by Frontier College.]