“Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
– Robert Frost
Canada. The Great White North. The country with maple syrup, poutine, snow (lots of it), free healthcare, die hard hockey fans, and nice people who say “eh” a lot. These are the stereotypes that are often mentioned when Canada is brought up in conversation. But in my mind, Canada represents something different. In a world full of what ifs and what could have beens, Canada is the road less travelled by.
In June of 2003, my parents and I boarded a plane to Vancouver, Canada. We left our home in the Philippines to venture off into the Great White North with all of our possessions crammed into 6 boxes. It was a gamble, one with high risk, and a potentially promising reward of a “better future” (though vague and immeasurable). My 6 year old self, could never fully understand the implications this would have on our lives, but 13 years later, I think that I am starting to see the ramifications of this one decision.
If my family hadn’t moved to Canada, we would probably still be living in our tiny home somewhere in Laguna, Philippines. Travelling within the country would be a rare occasion, let alone travelling outside of the Philippines. I probably would have been as equally dedicated to my education, if not more; but the probability of attending a post secondary institution would remain in the realm of uncertainty. Perhaps I would have gone to university, but the prospect of pursuing anything beyond a bachelors degree would be out of the question.
Moving to Canada opened up a world of opportunities for us. In the 13 years since arriving, I was able to engage in a variety of extracurricular activities such as violin, piano, volleyball, and dance. I was able to travel to places I’ve only previously seen in movies/books, go to school at a world renowned University, and become a delegate for Miss Teenage Canada.
When Canada Day rolled around this year, and I donned my sash and crown at the annual Vancouver Canada Day Parade, I did so with pride and gratitude. I happily smiled, and waved with my fellow delegates as we passed the hundreds of spectators. It was a wonderful way to celebrate a country that has opened up so many doors for me. I am forever thankful to my parents, for taking that risk 13 years ago, and taking the road less travelled by.
So yes, Canada is the place of the notorious winters, and maple leaves, but it is also so much more than that. To me Canada is a place of opportunity, a place where everyone is accepted for who they are, and where differences are celebrated due to our cultural mosaic. Canada is the place I grew up; the place where I found my friends, where I became educated, and more importantly the place that helped shape my values and beliefs – thus shaping who I am today. Canada is home and I am a proud Canadian.
-Miss Teenage Surrey 2016