Canadian, eh?

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…

“Canadian?”

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…

I have some “funny weird things” that I usually don’t think much about it, when you are a bit weird, you kinda get used to it 🙂 and one of “those things” was the fact that after all the years in Canada, till today, I have never truly sand “Oh Canada”. For some mysterious reason this beautiful brain of mine created the association that only a citizen of a country “can” sing it’s national anthem and as I follow things quite literally, I never felt that I had the “right” to sing it, weird… I told ya!

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”.

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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?

I remember on my flight to Canada, watching that little monitor that shows the flight route and seeing that little airplane distancing itself from Brazil…obviously the closer to Canada, the further from Brazil, until it came a  point that Brazil was out of sight… I cried and still have tears when I remember what it felt like…I didn’t come to Canada because of Canada. I didn’t come to Canada because of Brazil. I came to Canada because of Warren.

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.

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Warren. Brazilian and Canadian moms

I was just watching a movie (5 to 7) before right this and the final quote in the movie seems very fitting…
“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.”
Saying that deciding to separate wasn’t easy is an understatement… it’s never easy to end a marriage, a bit harder when there nothing really “wrong with it”. A little harder when you are by yourself, in a place with no immediate family… Those are some of the many moments I am so grateful that I did what I had to do to grow my business…when you think that my job at the newspaper used to pay me $1400 a month…how would I have been able to “walk away” and be independent?! Thankfully I had already grown my business to a level that I could get a place and go live by myself. It was in fact, the first time ever in my life that I was living alone.

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!

People may not always have known the moments that I may have been going thru but they were always there waiting for when I needed them.
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So many friends not in this pictures…

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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!!!

Obviously my family is in florida, I love them and they love me…and you know that they say that “home is where your family is”. Today, the way I see it is that I have my family in Florida, some of the most important people in my life and I also have my family in Canada, also some of the most important people in my life. People that have been with me all the step of the way in the past 10 years and there are so many of them here. If we would get a room full of all the people that knows me and ask “who loves Deb raise your hand?” if we would do a head count and rank it by country, I can guarantee that Canada would be #1. Canada is home.
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These past months here has made it more and more clear to me. I told my mom the other day “there’s gotta have something with Canada and me cause when I am here, everything works”. When I was lost, Canada found me. Canada became the path that I didn’t even know existed. I can not say that life has been easy (I also would never be able to say it was “hard”) but I can tell you that the moment I got to Canada everything in my life always worked.

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.

Today during the ceremony I felt a tremendous sense of responsibility for Canada as a country, responsibility for my role in the community, for giving back, for contributing and for making our country a better country. For giving my unique gifts to the benefits of this nation. (the judge talked a lot about volunteering so he did a good job!)

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…

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Yesterday I’ve posted how I was feeling emotional in parting ways with my “PR card” (permanent resident) because I have loved that card so much… today, as I was waiting in line to have my documents check, I’ve heard the lady asking for the guy ahead of me saying “Your PR card, please…I will keep this, you wont need it anymore” and I had tears running down…
I gave her my card, grabbed my Canadian flag and tough it up holding back my tears… (I bet they never saw a person crying to give that card away before) but she is right, I wont need that anymore because know I have transformed into a Canadian…
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A personal note….

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June 28, 2006 I left Brazil to move to this city called Lethbridge.
That was the day that answering the question “Where is Lethbridge?” became part of my life.

I didn’t know what would be waiting for me here but I knew I would make the best of the opportunity that was given to me in such an unexpected place.
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January 2009, when I was still working at the Lethbridge Herald was when I started pursuing my mission of building the Herbalife business in a city that mostly no one knew about it…by myself, with my box of shakes I’ve started my 1st Weight loss challenge at the soccer association, that many of you were part of 🙂 from there to the small litte office at the 3rd Ave to then my 1st nutrition club on the 5th on 5th basement to finally the club that is today.
Thru out those many phase, locations and years I had the priviledge to meet so many of you, help so many people and as a team “put Lethbridge in the map” when it comes to the Herbalife business.

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Our small city has been growing, we are on the “top 10 list” for productions in all Herbalife Canada! Last we heard we are like 8th on the rank ahead of many bigger cities! We received “herbalife stars” and made many people google to know where they were headed too 😀
What we have done as a team is nothing short of extraordinary and what we are still to do in the future is going to be even more unbelievable!

I have nothing but tremendous gratitude for all of you, participants to our events (even if never a customer), customers, club members, team members and mostly FRIENDS!
I never felt alone in here. I always felt cared for, supported and encouraged…which are very important feelings to have when your family are not around. You all became my family.

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As with many things in life, theres phases and time for eveything…and now the time has come for me to go ahead on the pursuit of my goals and mission.
My mission has been thru this years and still is to BUILD CANADA, to help in the creating of a bigger and better Herbalife Canada for all of us.

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With that mission and purpose as my drivers I’ve made the decision to relocate to Calgary which will allow me to grow and expand in many ways.
Lethbridge IS NOT staying behind me. My commitment and support to this city, to the customer, to all team members remaind the same. I will be coming to Lethbridge every thursday for customers follow ups, appointments and to visit with everyone. When here I will be “based” at Tania’s club “Bridge to fitness” so you will all be able to visit me in there 🙂 anything that you need, just send me a txt, an email and I will be there for you like always!
Our weekly Herbalife Opportunity Meeting and team training will stay happen every thursday 7-9 pm and will be hosted at Tania’s club as well.
I will still run and coordinate our Lethbridge Success Training seminar as well.

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In other words, not much really changes 🙂 other than the fact that I won’t be at the club on a daily basis but the time I will have with all of you is going to be an even more valuable and appriacted time!

This month is the last month that I am full time in Lethbridge, by the end of February my club will be closed so make sure to stop by for a visit 🙂

I am very excited about this new chapter…is there a bit of a sadness in my heart? For sure there is, like I said, Lethbridge has been home for almost 8 years and so many of you are a huge part of my day to day life…but once a decision is made, we look foward, we look ahead and we walk in faith knowing it’s always for a better, brighter future and that everything will be fine!

With much love and sincere gratitute I thank you for making my life and years in Lethbridge some of the best years of my life.

Wishing you the best in health, Deb Sousa

2011 time to walk your path…

Paulo Coelho has ever been one of my favorite writer and will probably ever be.

I can say that he taught me to read not because I have to (like for school) but because I wanted to. I remember reading his book for the 1st time when I was around 13 or 14 and it was “The Alchemist” (nice interview with Will Smith were he mentions the book)

Anyway, today Paulo Coelho published this awesome article that I recommend you to read, it will inspire to start your year walking your path with joy and confidence 😉

2011: Manual for conserving paths

1] The path begins with a crossroads.

2] The path doesn’t last for ever.

3] Honor your path.

4] Be well equipped.

5] The path goes forward and backward.

6] Take care of the path before you take care of what is around you

7] Be patient.

8] Paths cross.

9] Nature follows its own rules.

10] Make your path a mirror of yourself.

11] Love your path.

Really go to his blog and read the full article. I am printing this and leaving right in front of me.

To a very special 2011! Cheers 🙂

“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”

— Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist)