Here we are, in Cusco, Peru, the first stop of our two-year around-the-world travel. I missed one week of the blog post in the midst of all the crazy preparation work. At this very moment, I am sitting in this lovely bar at our Hostel. I feel like talking about our trip so far since it has been so eventful already, but first I should finish addressing why I love Canada. I realized that the further away I am from what I am familiar with, the more I think about where I came from and how I came to be where I am right now.
This blog is all about people I’ve met that have changed my life and made me fall in love with Canada.
First up, Stella.
She was the first friend I made in Canada and the best one too. We were both from China and connected online before we even arrived. She is one of the most generous, selfless, honest, and loyal friend anyone can ever ask for, like Ron in Harry Porter. It is rare for me to open my heart to someone and feel this safe. And she is just a very genuine person too. Something I find unique about her is that she has an authenticity filter for people, which I consider her secret power. It helps her to differentiate who is genuine and who is just taking advantage of others. I believe she is able to do that all because she possesses the ultimate authenticity herself. We are very different people and we do not have many shared interests but we have shared values, principles, and love for life.
I met Darren in a networking event. First I thought he would just be another professional connection. It turns out to be much more than that. I consider him not just a caring mentor, but also a trusted friend, and a very loving guardian. I go to him whenever I have important decisions to make and he is always there for me. He has seen me grow from a sheltered and shy international student to a young professional, to a happily married woman, to a very independent entrepreneur, then to a world traveller. I couldn’t have made it without him. He saw something in me very early on that nobody saw, not even myself. He believed in me. He created experiences for me such as my first Christmas dinner at a traditional Canadian family, my first driving practice, and so many more.
It all started with a curious lady in a Starbucks who overheard my conversation with someone else and initiated a new conversation with me. Her name is Bozena and she is an immigrant from Poland. I was then introduced to her two sons, Martin and Alex, who were going to the same university as me. We quickly became friends and had a summer full of joy. I was also visiting their grandma and aunt regularly. This family has a very interesting dynamics. With their Polish origins and the mix of different cultures, they all have developed strong and unique personalities, and are very passionate in their own way. They love me with whole heart and make me feel like home. But I have very complicated feelings towards this family. I love them so much that whatever I have with them is just not enough for me; but at the same time, the relationship with each one of them is so beautiful that it breaks my heart at the mere thought of going beyond what we have, fearing that things will be forever different.
The love of my life!
We met in Copenhagen, Denmark. Anmol came to Canada for me and we stayed together ever since. More importantly, we grew together for three years as individuals and as a couple. Now we are taking a trip around the world to explore ourselves and the world. Who can be more important than him? He’s my best friend, my love, my Wikipedia, my entertainer, my GPS, my Think Tank, my tour guide, my MasterChef, my Teddy Bear, my personal trainer, my everything… I can never get enough of his witty jokes, or his spontaneous ideas. He is perfect and he is mine (Anmol made me change it from “He is not perfect but he is mine”).
These people have come into my life and changed it forever for the better. Stella made me believe that friendship can be so pure regardless of who we are as individuals. Darren made me feel like being accepted to the mainstream culture in Canada and being part of a traditional Canadian family. The Radvenis showed me how an immigrant family can come through all the struggles and have such a big heart to accept others. And Anmol opened my eyes and showed me all the possibilities in the world. I’m lucky to have all of them and they made me fall in love with my life Canada.
Now I have laid it all out, I realized something interesting. Somehow these people I consider very important to me all serve a very unique purpose in my life. Stella represents the piece of me as a Chinese who cherishes her own roots but also appreciates new cultures, Darren represents the piece of me as a Canadian resident who tries to embrace a new culture, the Radvenis represents the piece of me as an immigrant who goes through the transition and still stays true to who she is, and Anmol represents the piece of me as an international who is all about experiencing life and taking charge of her future.
Thank you all for being who you are and for being a friend of mine 🙂