Anita Menon

Country of Origin:

India

Themes:

Immigration, Asian Heritage, Racism/Discrimination, Identity & Heritage, Multiculturalism & Diversity, Adjusting to Life in Canada

Photos:

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Bio

A lawyer by profession in my motherland India, I grew up in Bhutan. I obtained a B.Sc degree and an LL.B degree in India, and later practiced as a lawyer for seven years in India. I speak multiple languages including English, Hindi, Malayalam, Nepali, Bengali and a few others. I believe in giving back to the community; I am passionate about working for the community, especially with women & children. I arrived in Canada in the year 2006, started with a job in a call centre, and am presently working as a shelter counsellor and finding time between work & personal life to volunteer in the community.

Story

Inner Strength and a Smile - Career & Life Challenges as an Immigrant Professional Woman

Immigration whether by choice, as it was in my case, or due to difficult circumstances where someone seeks refuge, is a journey with dramatic events, new paths, new goals, and many unforgettable memories.

It was a cold, snowy, wintery night in February 2006, a night white, beautiful and romantic with the soft white flowers falling down from the sky. Adding to this natural beauty were memories of beautiful Niagara Falls, pictures from my school geography project. Above all, like any young woman, I too had dreams – dreams of a normal life, a family, children, home, career. I came with hopes of continuing with and nourishing these dreams and building a life in my newly adopted home, Canada. But soon I find out life has something different in store for which I will need strength & courage to face and move on. It is said when God hands you lemons, make lemonade!

Sometimes people ask me “What are you?” or call me “Exotic”. The word “exotic” should be reserved for objects and not for human beings. I am a proud Indian Canadian! I am Canadian, at the same time, my heritage plays a huge part as well in who I am. When someone sincerely asks me about my heritage, I answer happily and openly, and I ask them of their heritage. Yes, even white Canadians have a foreign heritage. Why can’t we acknowledge, learn from and celebrate each other, while being proud of our multiculturalism?

My story is of a personal journey before and after coming to Canada. A journey that includes a happy childhood, teenage and adult years; survival from domestic violence; struggles with working in my chosen profession and finding a decent job that matches my education. Stories are drawn from my own life experiences and memories, not from research or interviews. It is a story with an ultimate message to believe in ones self and never give up. It is a journey of ultimately discovering my inner strength, redefining my identity, and moving forward with a smile; it has been a bittersweet process involving inclusion and exclusion. The journey continues…