Audrey is a good friend of mine here in Vancouver. She is one of the most generous and kind people I know.
Her story as an emigrant started in the ’70 when she left Scotland to move to the Middle East with her husband. It’s then that her life as an expat began. Her husband, a pastry chef, got a job in a hotel in the United Arab Emirates. They lived there as expats for almost 5 years to then decided to move to Canada and try to settle permanently. Although they had help from family members in Vancouver, they had a hard time fitting in. A few months later, her husband had a job opportunity in Tahiti, so they decided to go back to live the expat life for a few more years. Even though Tahiti was beautiful and she had time to take care of their two children, she couldn’t work, and having a career for her was important. So after living on that beautiful island for 2 years, they decided to move back to Vancouver and give it a second chance. She started her career in a small startup. After growing inside the company and becoming director of global communications, she decided to open her own marketing agency.
Hi, Audrey. Thanks for being here today. And welcome to the show.
Hi, Daniel. Yeah, nice to be here. Thanks for inviting me.
My pleasure. So you live in Vancouver. I know you for a couple of years now. But how long have you been living in Vancouver for?
So let me see. I came here for the first time in 1982. And I left I didn't stay. And I came back in 1985. So 85 95 like is that 35 years
Yeah, that's right.
First time I came was 1982. And I stayed here. I think we were here probably around six or eight months. And we didn't like it very much. So I left.
Why didn't like it.
So I've been living in the Middle East and as an expat, so I'm originally from Scotland. I was I was born in Scotland. I grew up in mostly in England. I didn't really like the UK very much. So I knew I wanted to leave. And I got the opportunity when I was 19 to go live in the Middle East, so I jumped at the chance, and I was there for almost five years. And it was pretty cool. They're like, we didn't pay any taxes. We earned really good money. A company paid for our apartment, paid our telephone bills, you know, pretty much took really good care of us bought us a ticket to send us home every year, and so as an expat, it's a different lifestyle. I got tired of expat life and decided that we were going to immigrate somewhere other than go back to the UK or Europe. And so coming to Canada was a bit of a shock because this is not expatriate community. So yeah, it was really hard to settle When you're in an expatriate community, then you sort of make your own family really fast because your family's not there. So you make friends and you make really good friends pretty fast. Whereas here, it was completely different. Everybody had their family around the corner. So no one really was looking to make a friend. So it was really hard to make friends here. That was the hardest thing was to make friends
still still not very easy to make friends, in Vancouver is at least even for me that I come from, like a small town. It's, it's a big city, and it's, it's hard compared to other maybe. I dont't know, I never actually live in a big city. So I can't really compare but compared to other places where I lived before is like Yeah, it's definitely more challenging. Um, he was talking about x Patreon. What's just like, I don't know what that means. And I mean, like, people that emigrates
No, so essentially, there are places in the world That are developing that require labor, you know, workforce from elsewhere, particularly expert professionals that bring them in on contract. So, I was still a resident of the United Kingdom. But I had a visa a work visa to go work in the United Arab Emirates. Well, actually, my, my husband did. So I just backed on that. And it was the it was for a limited period of time. So I don't remember how long a contract was it was probably five years something like that, but it was renewable. So you knew you weren't going to live there forever. It was temporary. So you know, expatriate means that Yeah, you're you're you're being repatriated back to your own country. You're just there for for a contract period.
Okay. Is it any different from like a work permit like a like, me. People that move to a different country a managed to find a job and have a work permit for a couple of years. Is that what you're talking about?
Yeah, no, it's actually a little bit different. Because you came on spec. So you came to Canada, you decided you wanted to move to Canada. And you got a work permit and you came here to look for work. For us. It was different. We got the job before we left the UK. So
so the company was sponsoring us to go work there for a year or two or five. So, you know, large, large companies knew that they needed to bring people from the developed world there to help. So they would have, you know, they might have hundreds of expatriates there. So when you're an expatriate normally you're under the protection if you like, or the the company that's hiring you is taking care of you. So they're providing you they're providing with accommodation They're providing you with a ticket there and back. So it's just a little different because you came under your own steam, you just decided to take the risk, get a work permit and come so it's not quite the same.
Okay, thanks for explaining that a bit better. Okay. And you were talking about your husband you went for because of your husband. What was your husband was doing at the time.
So he was a pastry chef. And he was recruited by a chef that he worked with in the UK, who had a contract to go work in the United Arab Emirates. And he gathered up his whole Brigade, his whole kitchen Brigade, because he knew that he needed the experience of European chefs, rather than going to the Middle East. There's a very, very small, small population in the United Arab Emirates and certainly not skilled workers. So there may have been some locals working in the kitchen, but probably not. Pretty much everybody there was expatriate, so he took his Senior chefs from the UK and then the junior the commies and the junior staff came from either India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan.
Okay, cool. So you left the UK to move to the Middle East with your husband. And then you guys left and Middle East to move to Canada is a right?
Yes. So we'd been there for about five years and I decided that you know, expatriet wife was fun and we made a lot of money but I didn't want to stay there forever. It wasn't really home what was really building community the way I wanted to so I applied to leave there didn't want to go back to Europe definitely didn't want to live in France didn't want to live in UK. And my husband was at the time was French. So we applied for the US, Canada and Australia. and Canada said yes. So we we can came to Canada.
Okay, so you go to Canada with like a, like a some kind of like a residency or something like a, like a permit to become a resident.
That's right. With our landed immigrant status. We had six months to come. And we landed, and then we were no longer expatriates, because we were just like, living in Canada, trying to find a job trying to find somewhere to live. I was expecting my second baby, so we needed to figure that out pretty quickly. Yeah. And then I was lucky because we had my mom's brother lived in near, Vancouver. So he we had somewhere to go, and we had somewhere to stay to start off with.
Oh, wow, that must have been like a huge help.
Yeah, no, he was that was that was fabulous. Just to have family here that could show us the ropes. I mean, you might think that you know, Canada and the UK are similar, but there's lots of differences. So there's lots of things to learn. And those first couple of months
Oh, you know absolutely plus having like some family member near like, makes me feel like makes the place feel like a more like home right?
no like all you're by yourself. Yes definitely. Definitely helps. Another question but like going back to the your life in the Middle East, how was like at the Emirates back then because I, I guess they changed so much, especially in the last few years. What was that lifestyle back then? Especially like a woman's perspective because we know in this country can be a little bit challenging for a woman did you find that a problem? What was the sit? What was the situation?
Well, I'd love to go back and see it now. So to answer the first question, it was like a big construction yard. It was really like living in a construction yard because you know, back in the
in the late 70s.
Really where we were living Sharjah Dubai Abu Dhabi was just in the very early of developing They just saw the word cranes everywhere the works construction everywhere. The hotel we were working in was brand new literally wasn't even finished when we arrived, we were there for the opening.
As far as being a woman,
being a Caucasian woman was probably a lot better than being from any other part of the world. Just because we got a little bit more respect, but it was definitely a male dominated society there. And we were, you know, rather second class citizens unless you were white. So I witnessed some situations that I definitely was not comfortable with, where other women were treated quite poorly, by by men. And that wasn't good for me being young. I work for a company started off working for a civil engineering company. If you lived in in Sharjah at that time, then you needed to have a work permit. Sorry, you needed to have a liquor license and you needed to have a driving license. And you had to go to the municipality, the equivalent of the municipality to get that. So I was designated the one to go because many other companies would send some of their their junior staff members who would work normally from India or Pakistan or Sri Lanka, and they were usually males and they had to stand in line. But if you're a white woman, you got to go to the front of the line. So as soon as that's there, then you just float it to the front of the line and you got your rubber stamps and so on and so forth. and away you go. You're when you got done what you wanted to do. So that was kind of handy that came in handy. But as far as, you know, dress and you know, being alone I didn't feel afraid. I always made sure that you know, my shoulders and you were covered and that I was wearing a dress that wasn't short, you know, down to my knees when I wandered around the marketplace. We did go to the beach, and we did, you know, get into bikinis and swimsuits. Um, but we were careful to make sure that we didn't that we went, we went somewhere that was a little bit isolated, and, and safe and didn't flaunt in front of the community. So, in fact, I think at the time we were a members of a club and we would go there because it was sort of, you know, a little bit private. So you definitely have to be careful.
Okay, that that's, that's interesting. So you stayed in the Middle East for about five years, and then you move to Vancouver. How long did you guys stay before you decide to leave again,
we were here. Probably about six six to eight months. And then we didn't like it. And so my husband got a contract with the same hotel chain that he was working with in the Middle East
And it was an opportunity to go live on the island of Tahiti in French Polynesia. And I remember us getting this offer and kind of going, how could we say no?
like, why would we stay here when we've had the chance to go live in Tahiti? It just sounded sort of idyllic. So he went before me and then off I went by then I had my second child. And off I went to Tahiti. And yeah, it was really cool. It was a really neat experience. We had a I used to call it our Snoopy dog hut was our home.
It had a car gated iron roof. So when it rained, it sounded It was really noisy. And it was pretty much you know, it was really hard to keep the insects out. It was fact that was impossible. And the cockroaches and the mice we were on a septic tank. Can we were surrounded by this beautiful garden. We were two minutes from the beach. The beach was gorgeous. The garden had the most spectacular flowers. We grew grapefruits and bananas in the garden. Yeah, it was just, it was a really cool experience. And the hotel was gorgeous. And the weather was fabulous. And
yeah, sounds horrible.
Yeah, it was, it was it was it was pretty cool. The only thing with Tahiti is it's a very small island and you can drive around it and half a day. And again, we were expats we were considered x pass because we were on contract and the company was taking care of us, provided us with accommodation, tickets home, etc. And we made friends really quickly there, again, similar to the Middle East, because there were lots of other expats from Europe that were, you know, just didn't have their family close. So, you know, we formed a really close knit bonds with a really neat group of people quite quickly. But it was somewhat limiting for me because at that time, there was no reciprocal agreement. There was no EU back then that said that I could work there. So I didn't, I couldn't go to work. Right. So I was kind of staying at home with the kids. And I'd always wanted to have a career. So it wasn't really forever. It was small, it was you were limited. And it was sort of kind of like being on a vacation for me,
which wasn't too bad, right? Because you just
had your second child. So being like in Tahiti, and not be able to work on this kind of vacation. give you more time to actually take care of your children's right?
Yeah, I mean, you're right. For the first couple of months. It was kind of nice. But then I started to get a bit antsy because I yeah, I want to, I want to have a career. So we decided to, we decided that we hadn't really given Canada a chance. Yeah, we had heard sort of on the circuit that if you really wanted to make it home, you needed to give it at least two years. Even if it was difficult, you had to stick it out two years, and we really had only stayed. I think it was probably eight months, I was probably in Canada, eight months, I didn't really give it a chance. I didn't really get a chance to make any friends. So we decided that we would return. So we did. Okay, so that was 85.
Yeah, I agree with you with the fact that Yeah, you you're at leats you need to spend like at least a year or two before we do actually start liking the place and actually making a decision if you want to stay or not. Yeah, I agree with you. So you stayed in Tahiti for like three years or something like that.
Ah two years, Yeah.
two years. Okay. Like, okay. And then back to them back to Canada.
Yeah, back to Canada back to the same house. So we had we had bought a house and we had rented it out. So We moved back into the same house. And yeah, I got a job. So I said, I started my career then I felt Finally, like, you know, this was good. And the other thing that really was key was that my husband got a job. He was a pastry chef, and he got a job, a good job at the Hyatt, which is like a big, you know, four star hotel. So we felt like, it felt it felt a lot better than it had the first time because it was hard for him to find work the first time and I couldn't work because I was pregnant. But this time, we just we settled in fairly quickly. And we knew the ropes. It was easier coming back, because, you know, we already learned a lot of the stuff yet, you know, about Canada and how it was different. So it was way easier to settle in the second time. And I was determined that we were going to give it a run. And we did. I'm still here.
Yeah, I'm glad you I'm glad you did. But even then, like I was, How easy was it to because you went to Canada, the first time Like on these, like a permit to become a resident, and then you left for two years, could you just come back to Canada? With a first permit you've got? are you actually needed to apply for a second one? How did that work.
Yeah. So back then the rules were that you could leave for a certain period of time and not lose your landed immigrant status. And we got back just under the wire. So we just sailed back in. And the other thing was, we had to prove that we hadn't abandoned Canada. So we kept our home here on a bank account. Okay. And we still filed our Canadian taxes. So really, it was almost as if Canada didn't even notice we'd left you know, there was nothing okay. Yeah, we just so we so we got back in. I mean, had we waited another few years, we might have had to have reapplied, but but we didn't.
Okay, no, because I might be wrong here but um, I think right now if you go like a apply for residency, if you get a permanent residency in Canada, you need to stay in the country for like six months a year for not losing your residency. But even then, I might be wrong things change so quickly and I can't keep up with everything. So,
ya know it I'm sure it was different back then. And when we came back in, then we really hunkered down and did the three year I stayed for a full three years to make sure we got our permanent residency, like we became Canadian citizens as quickly as we could, because that would give us freedom to leave and come and go as we pleased, whereas this landed immigrants we were more limited.
Unknown Speaker 18:43
Have you ever thought about because you've since then, you've never left Canada and I guess you were happy to stay to live here in Vancouver. But have you ever thought about like what if, instead of like, getting into the opportunity to go to Canada you had the opportunity to go to Australia how to thet would be right?
Or something like that?
Oh, yeah, I think about that often, like, you know, it was just chance that Canada said yes to us. And it could easily have been the US or Australia. So I don't really have any regrets. I'm actually just grateful that it was Canada. I love it here.
US and Australia didn't get back to you, or did they just deny it or they just get back to you too late?
You know, I don't really remember Daniel. I don't remember. I think they probably got back. I know the rules in Australia at the time. So this is a long time ago, was the rule was that you had to find a job and get a job offer. And then within Australia, the company that offered the job had to prove they couldn't find someone there to fill the job. So you had to have a pretty unique skill set. Like you had to be like, you know, a rock star or a scientist or like something really unique like
That hasn't change that much even even right now even for like a to apply for a work permit you need to, the company that sponsors you need to prove that is hiring you immigrant because there's no any other local that can do your job, which means that you need to have like a, I don't know more experience or like a more qualification or something like that so it's just fairly normal for like to get a work permit at least that was for me in New Zealand and was the same things here for me in Canada.
Yeah. I think it's a pretty challenging though when you're young because you're more likely to be accepted into a country when you're under 35. And when you're under 35, you don't necessarily have a unique skill set because you're still learning you're still early in your in your career. So I do know of one couple from Ireland that did get into Australia
and he was a chef
but I think it was pretty tough. I think it was really hard. And it wasn't just proving that there was no one else to do the job. They had to advertise the job, I think for six months or a year at the time, maybe it's still the same, I don't know. But your specific job, so they would hire you conditionally. And then they would advertise it. And then they had to go back and prove that none of the applicants were as good as you. So it was quite stringent. And I think the US was just saying, No, I think we just got a rejection letter from them. So yeah, yeah.
But ya know, you you're probably right, I probably have taken for granted that I've managed to get a visa in when I was in, in New Zealand when I moved to New Zealand, and to Canada, and probably I take it for granted I started working after high school straight out from high school, as a telecommunication technician in one of the biggest probably the biggest company in Italy for telecommunication.
and I gained like a seven to nine years in telecommunication in Italy before I left so as an immigrant it was actually a good skill to have and which is like a so I was coming from Italy with like a nine years of experience in telecommunication, which is not an easy field to get in. And so I probably even like as I say, like a probably took that for granted. It's Yeah, I think it's more challenges as you say, like if you're 30 years old, you like work as a bartender, for example. You like a small jobs here and there. It's definitely Yeah, it's definitely harder to to get a sponsorship because you don't have the years experience that you were talking about. Yeah. Thanks. That's a good was a good reminder. Thanks. Okay, going back to when you were in Tahiti, you said you wanted to leave because you couldn't work. And because you wanted to have a career. When you went back to Canada, did you manage to find a job and start a career? Do you want to talk more about that?
Yeah. When I can back to Canada.
I felt like I had last time I had graduated in business studies in the UK and then gone to the Middle East, it was pretty hard to pursue a career in the Middle East because women were really mostly would would fill administrative roles. So I had an admin role there in the Middle East, and then I went to Tahiti and couldn't work. So, you know, from my perspective, by the time I got here, I was I think about 27. And I've been, you know, wasting time because I hadn't started my career at felt. And then when I did get a job, it was a pretty administrative type role. So that was kind of disappointing. So, you know, here I am. Feeling like I'd lost a lot of time. But I was lucky I went to work for a small startup in a high tech company was a startup that were just nine of us and
I was able to
get promotions as a company grew. So I was there with that company for 17 years. I feel like it wasn't boring at all. I just did so many, I played so many roles in the company. And we went from, you know, 2 million Canadian a year to 160 US. Hundred and 60 million US per year, we were acquired by another company I before. Before I left, I was director of global communications, marketing communications. So, you know, I really, I felt like I could get ahead here. And I don't know that I could have gotten ahead in the same way had I stayed in Scotland, and things just felt a lot more limiting there. And there's a lot more. There's a lot more opportunity for people here. There isn't the same class structure that there is in the UK that can really hold people back. And then at the end of that stint with that company, they decided to move had moved the office down to the US and I didn't want to live in the US. So I started my own company. And I'm still running my same company today. So that's been 19 years of being owner operator of a marketing consulting company. So, yeah, it kind of just been really good to me from that perspective. I feel like there's a lot of opportunity here and there's a lot of help
and encouragement for people to get ahead.
Oh, that's cool. So you after 17 years to work for like a startup company, you you decided not to go to the US and decided to, I'm gonna go my own way. I'm gonna start my own agency, like a marketing agency, right?
Unknown Speaker 25:48
Yeah. Yeah, um, I, you know, Vancouver, you say Vancouver is a big city, but it's, in my perspective. I don't think it's a big city. I think it's a small town and there aren't a lot of headheadquarters here. And you know, there aren't a lot of positions that are global. in in in Vancouver. There's a lot of companies that are, you know, city wide or province wide or national or maybe North American. But to actually have the opportunity to have a global position is kind of rare because there aren't many headquarters here. You really need to go to Calgary or Toronto for that. So I figured, though, that there were a lot of other small startups that wanted to become global or wanted to, you know, conquer North America because of course, our biggest market market is in in the US. So I thought, well, maybe I could, you know, take what I've learned in the 17 years, I worked for the the technology company, and help other technology companies in Vancouver and that's that's what I did, except I've worked with some technology companies and malls and you know, lots of different types of companies I didn't stick to only technology. Yeah, it's been fun I really enjoyed it.
Yeah, definitely definitely. I don't know Vancouver for me feels like I really like a huge city and I don't know, we have like a different perspective even I see along with a lot of like I mean, as I said my background like I was a small town in northern Italy and then New Zealand which is like a remote island in the middle of nowhere. So coming here for me like I can see like, now there's an office in downtown for like a Microsoft Office in downtown. Many other like, big tech companies got like their offices downtown. So for me like this is like a huge hub for like technology. And I definitely see Vancouver as a huge city and you don;t probably with time I will see Vancouver in the same way. Mm hmm.
Mm hmm. Yeah.
Okay, so he traveled So you went you left the UK, you move to the Middle East, then Canada, then Tahiti Then back to Canada. So now it's been in Canada for a while now. What didn't make you stay in Canada? Why didn't you try something else?
Unknown Speaker 28:09
Yeah, that's a good question. So I, I've often thought about leaving Canada even thought about going back to the UK got a very good job offer probably around 10 years ago. I really didn't want to go back to the UK. I and I thought about going somewhere warmer or somewhere better. I mean, I think that we're just programmed to think that the grass is greener on the other side. But a few things have kept me here and continued to keep me here. One is that I had traveled enough to recognize there really isn't. There's no utopia, right? I didn't like the UK went the Middle East. I didn't really you know, want to stay in the Middle East forever. Came here went to Tahiti definitely don't want to live in Tahiti forever. So I realized that it's what you make of it. And also, I was challenged here I had a career I had a family that were in school, it becomes a little bit more difficult to just pack up and move when you've got three kids in school. And especially when they get into high school, which is, you know, one of the reasons I said no to moving to the US is because my youngest daughter was in high school and I thought it would really be disruptive for her. So and now of course, the kids have grown up and if I leave, then I'll be leaving them because they're not coming with me. They've got their own lives here in Vancouver. So you know, that's kind of partially it. But I think really, the biggest part was recognizing there is no utopia. It's pretty darn good here. I've made some really good friends and the weather's not too bad. I mean, it's pretty dreary and dark in the winter, but you know, Suck it up Buttercup like it's not the
summer's pretty nice
Unknown Speaker 30:05
you know until COVID-19 you know the you know the economy's been good and Vancouver has been good to me i've you know made a good living I you know like I like the work that I do I'm established here I think about you know moving sometimes somewhere else and having to start from scratch and just have just makes me feel tired so yeah, I'm pretty happy to be here and when this COVID-19 when and if it's over you know just to retire here and you know travel I'm seeing more of the world that way.
Yeah, no, that's true. And I think is even because when you know like a move from country to country and you will start feeling like a need to have like a some a place that you can call home. At least that was for me. Because Yeah, when you actually you settle down you go your circle of friends, you go your job, you start your career. Whatever you feel like at you're home while you keep traveling Yeah, it's pretty cool. You meet different people leave like exotic places. But you're missing you're missing home, you're missing a place that you can call home while it takes time before you can actually call a place really home. And that's more like a it's I think for in my, in my opinion, maybe your perspective is different, like a home is really like about people around you. It's not just like a place. It's not like a building. It's not like a cool town with good weather. It's actually the people around you that makes you feel home.
Unknown Speaker 31:38
And it's interesting that that you know what you reminded me by saying that is that for me, I always call Scotland home. Like even though I've lived more of my life here. I say I'm going home. And when I say I'm going home. In that context, it means I'm getting on a plane and I'm traveling to Scotland. I'm traveling back to what was my house originally. Home. But this is definitely where I live. And this is where I intend to stay. So and the other thing that crossed my mind there is, you know, that's where that term came from home sweet home. Like, it's great to travel but there's nowhere like home, like coming back to, to your own place and your own people. So yeah, yeah, I heard once that, you know, as a as an immigrant, you're you're neither fish nor fowl, because your home really isn't you when I travel to the UK now, people don't think I'm from there. They think that I'm, you know, they, they recognize that I speak a little bit differently and that I, you know, something, just clues them in that I'm not from there. So I'm a foreigner in my own country. Until recently, most people didn't think I was from here either. So you know, they can if they listen really carefully, they'll detect, you know, and I accent that isn't truly Canadian that there's a bit of a lilt or there's something there that just triggers Yeah, she's not from here. Where's she from? Is it South Africa? Is it Australia? Is that Yeah, where is it? So neither is this home although it feels they both feel like home to me so you just you just learned to live with that. That's no big deal.
Yeah, no, that's true. I don't know for me like I don't know probably the thing is personal. By even when I go back to Italy I maybe comes like natural calling home but I don't feel like a home because it's not a place where I want to leave and that home of where you actually want to leave my perspective so I don't Yeah, don't call italy home even though it's by hometown, my home country but it's doesn't doesn't doesn't at least as a feeling doesn't feel like home. Even though I love every time I go back. I love people. I love spending time with friends and family. love everything about it. Because I don't want to leave there. I have like a strong feeling that I don't want to live there. That doesn't make me feel like Oh, home.
Interesting. Yeah, just different perspectives. I guess it's a different use of the word home.
Yeah, no, no, absolutely. Yeah. And also the biggest challenges you have to face when? When you when you actually when you left the UK, or like another one, you just have to UK like in general, what's the biggest challenge from
missing family. Yeah, that was that was the hardest was missing family and back in those days, you know, we didn't have email and Skype and FaceTime like we didn't have any of those things. So I was dependent on letters and the very occasional very expensive phone call. Like if I got a phone call. I mean, I couldn't afford to phone home. I mean, we were, you know, we were I mean it was just cost prohibitive. So my parents will phone me rarely so a call was a big deal. So we were very dependent on sending letters to one another and so I was very homesick but i i love i mean i love the challenge. I love the weather. Oh my god the weather is so bad in Scotland so I mean to have sunshine all the time. I love the weather. I love the heat. Yeah, yeah, it really wasn't that hard. And we made friends very quickly. So that helps too.
Yeah, even then, like another thing I realized that using like, internet, like a FaceTime, Skype, whatever to keep contact with your family. Like it's such a great thing. Like I even less I remember the first time I went back to Italy after like a year and a half or something like that. I was seeing my family every weekend over FaceTime that when I my brother came to pick me up at the airport. We I don't know we still feel like we didn't see each other for a couple of weeks to just a weird feeling. Like I didn't feel like I didn't seem like a for a lot. Time just like, Uh oh, you know exactly what's going on with my life as we spoke over the phone the other day. I don't know there's like this. And that definitely. Yeah, definitely is a huge, huge help right now. Yeah, you're right. I can't even believe it like our means, like ne see your family. Like, just yeah. Yeah. I can't even imagine the challenge you have to face. And how often do you back then. Did you went back to
once a year once a year?
Once a year. You, ah Yes Because you were like a pay by the
Yeah. The company paid. Yeah, the company paid for us to go back. Once a year they paid our ticket.
Oh, that's cool.
Last question. Do you feel like you have an advantage or you feel like lucky to be an emigrant?
I do. Um, I remember the day that I went to the ceremony to become Canadian. And it really hit me how lucky I was. Because I was there with people who were refugees who had, you know, fled their country. and Canada was a safe haven. I felt as if, you know, the UK really wasn't that bad if you compare it to Syria, or some of the places that other people had come from, um, so I had a fallback. But it really hit me how privileged I was to become a Canadian citizen. And I think that people who were born here take it for granted. They take this country for granted, but it's a pretty cool place. And yeah, I'm, I'm really grateful. And I know, going through the application process, that it wasn't easy and there was a lot of concern that we wouldn't be accepted that you know, you have to have a a medical exam and you know, What if you fail? Or you know, what if what if, you know what if you set your interview and you fail so yeah, I'm, I'm incredibly grateful. I don't regret coming here. But I do regret not being close to my family. Especially as you know, my mom and dad aged and and passed away. I have regrets about not having an opportunity to spend more time with them.
Yeah, that's the that's the toughest part by like leaving your, your life your family behind. Yeah, that's definitely Yeah, definitely I think that's what everybody feels when they have to leave their country. But even though like do you think like, because you left and you move to a different country or to learn in your case, you didn't have to learn the language. But you have to learn like how the things work in different country do you have to integrate like a mini into the middle east so you have to integrate with the Their society like a way to, to live and then tidy up like all like a your ability to adapt. And even like, in most cases maybe like a get a job maybe you are not happy to to do just because you have to pay the bills. Do you think like that is an advantage, like having that fuel in you?
Yeah, I think that you know, as a child, we moved a lot. So for me change was normal. We lived, you know, we lived in Dundee, we moved to Glasgow, we moved down to Wakefield, we went to Birmingham, we went back up to the south of Glasgow, like there was a lot of moves and a lot of changes school changes for me as I was growing up. And I think that gave me a resilience that helped me and probably fueled me to leave the UK and seek, you know, something better outside of the shores of the UK. And I think that by the time I landed here, having moved from the Middle East to here to Tahiti and back again, it does definitely helped me. And it gave me a broader outlook. You know, my mom used to say that the next best thing to a good education is travel because we just learned so much when we're traveling. And so I just learned so much that I just took for granted, you know, the way you know, I mean, when I arrived in the Middle East, I was only 19. I mean, I was I didn't know anything really. And I just took it all in my stride. You know, Ramadan, eat, you know, the different customs, the you know, the clothing, you know, when I think back about it, you know, now I just sort of just took it as Oh, yeah, that's what they do here. That's how they do it. But, but I learned a lot. And I think it made me you know, more broad minded, and I'm sure it helped me when I got here.
Yeah, absolutely. Okay. Thanks al lot for chatting with me. That was that was a great, great honor.
Thank you. Thanks for interviewing me.
No worries. Thank you.
Aeron's story proves that your circumstances don't determine your future.