If my life had a “FAQ section”, I am sure there’s a new question that would rise to the top of that list very quickly…
Today during the citizenship ceremony, the judge put into words a feeling that I have been feelings since yesterday… he mentioned something about how today was one of the most important days of our lives, today a new life was beginning, a new identity… when he used the word “identity”, my mind went BINGO! Thats why I’ve been so emotional… I am HAPPY, I am grateful, I am honoured and aware of what a privilege it is to receive this citizenship and at the same time, I was feeling bit of sadness, a feeling of grief and I couldn’t pin point why…
Becoming a Canadian is a process (and I am not talking about the paperwork process) for me it took almost 10 years. I could have applied for it after 3 years in Canada and I didn’t. If you asked me “why haven’t you yet?” I would tell you “I don’t like paperwork”, or “Why do I need to do it now? No need” or I would say “I am waiting until I feel I am truly Canadian in my hearts of hearts” all those answers were truth, the last one being the truest of them all.
As I was sitting in that ceremony today and looking around me, all the other “soon to be new Canadians” that were sharing in that ceremony with me, I was observing their expression, emotions, their families and I was trying to feel what they were feeling… this one man, when he got his certificate (my best guess is he is from some african country) he open the BIGGEST smile you can possible imagine! I get tears just remembering it… I wonder what’s his story? I wish I could hear everything that people had to go thru for this day… not all stories would have been tragic, not all would have been hard, not all would have been easy…one thing you can be sure, “easy”, “hard”, everyone has a story…
Today I sang “Oh Canada”… I always knew the words in my head, today I got to sing it from my heart.
I am now a Canadian and I can prove it 🙂 I always joke when I am sharing my story from the stage, I will say “I know I look like a canadian. I sound like a canadian so you may be surprised to hear that I am brazilian”, its a great icebreaker! I am clear that the canadian citizenship does not come with a pair of blue eyes…so another question from my “FAQ” will still remains in the top of the list
“How did you end up in Canada?”
How I answer this question depends on how much time I have. If in a hurry I will smile and answer “life”, surprisingly enough people seem to take that answer very well, must be the unspoken words that comes thru my smile. If I have more time I will tell them the story… “my ex is from here”, to which always lead to the question “Oh how did you two meet?”
Gosh its a long story. Can I just say “boy meets girl, fall in love and get married”? On my journal version of this post, the story got way too long and it was such a great thing for me to write it all down.
Long story short, 2005, family was all in the U.S. and my life was not taking me in that direction, didn’t feel right and when it doesn’t feel right, it just doesn’t work. I couldn’t get a visa so I was in Brazil “alone” living with my grandma. I was deciding what to do with life, was going thru a long long interview process with IBM that would get me moving to another city. I was already around herbalife and thru a chat system that we used for our online trainings, I’ve ended up meeting Warren in a chat room (remember those?).
After months and months of communication, I came to Canada for the first time in Dec/05 to meet him, his family, spend sometime and see how it would go. I was here for a month…I remember the dinner I had with Warren before I went back. We were at restaurant that is in the water tower so you have a nice view of the city… and as I was staring thru the windows, Warren asked me “So can you see yourself leaving here?” and my answer was “I think I could”.
After that, I headed to Toronto where I’ve spend a great week visiting my mentor Israel Klein and his family, then back to Brazil.
The months back in Brazil were not easy, I am sparring you from all the romantics details, you know how its like when you are in love? Now imagine, one in Canada the other in Brazil?
So June 28, 2006 was the day I took the flight back to Canada, this time to stay. Interesting detail, when I made the decision to move here, I got the job offer for IBM haha amazing how life is, huh? Deciding to move was obviously not an easy decision… Do I need to mention that both times when I came to Canada people thought I was crazy?
Warren is just one of those “great guy”. He truly is. I don’t have a bad word to say about him. He was the best in supporting me to adjust, so kind, so loving.
One of my best memories of our wedding days was when Warren and my brother were using hot glue to glue the little bows to the party favour box and Warren made my brother wear safety glasses to get the job done! lol Safety first!
He supported me in everything I’ve always wanted to do. He gave me unconditional support in growing my business, the freedom to do all the things I wanted to do and let me tell you, to this day he still does. We were together for around 6 years (I am not the best with dates and times :D) and if someone asked me “so what went wrong?” (that would be another FAQ top question) my answer is always “nothing. nothing went wrong”. I just happened to move in a faster pace than most people can keep up with…
Warren and his family still are family to me. Even after the divorce we had Christmas, Thanksgiving dinner, meals made specially for me when I come to visit and the gratitude I have for the role he played and still do play in my life, is endless. I loved him more than anyone else and I always will have love for him. I am forever grateful for the role he (and his mom) played and still play in my life.
“Thousands of years ago, somebody came up with the idea of impermanence of the beauty and inevitability of change. I’m pretty sure they had just been dumped. I had a long time to consider the value of memory, and the idea that just because something doesn’t last forever doesn’t mean its worth is diminished. Maybe it was just a rationalization – easier on the soul than mourning what might have been – the life unlived. I honestly don’t know, but I chose to believe in memory. I chose to believe in her. I chose to believe that the bond was never broken and that we carried each other in our hearts. As a secret singularity. She made me a writer. She made me a man.”
One of the greatest blessings and gifts I got in Canada are the friends that I have received. Yes I think I RECEIVED them as they truly have been a gift. Without them, I would not have made it…. and hey, I am still “no where”, without them I am not going to make it… they have been by my side picking me up all the way. I have NEVER had a Christmas, New Years, Thanksgiving, Easter, birthday that I didn’t have friends and family surrounding me. I have had Vacations going away cards, “welcome back home” cards and gifts waiting for me… I have never truly felt alone. Do you understand what a gift and a blessing that is?
I must add that even thru social media, so many people take those relationships, friendships as a “lesser than” just because you are not face to face with some one…well, I don’t! Every comment, every like to a photo, you have all been with me all the step of the way and I feel so much love & support from so many people, many that I haven’t even met in person. I appreciate it a lot!
So much has happened, so many phases, so many moves, so many new beginnings…. (remember, I mentioned I am a challenge to keep up with?) that’s how I love to live life. The past year I have felt the need to spend more time with my family and I have so enjoyed it. I have enjoyed being closer to my mom, I have enjoyed being closer to my sister & Daniel and I am looking forward for the next months as we move towards wedding day!!!
There’s a reason “life” brought me here. I believe I have a mission with Canada. I believe I have a responsibility with Canada. A country that has given me so much opportunity, so much respect, so much love, that has embraced me every step of the way.
In so many ways, that has always been in my heart, inside Herbalife everyone knows of my commitment to growing Canada, of my belief of what we can achieve and accomplish, to change and impact our communities with our mission. Today I felt the calling to bring that out of Herbalife as well. I have a responsibility and I can give my gifts to Canada in a broader way that I have done so far…and so I shall…