Country of Origin:
Immigration, Identity & Heritage, Multiculturalism & Diversity, Adjusting to Life in Canada
I am a real estate professional, internationally licensed soccer coach and an avid photographer. I have lived in the Greater Toronto Area since the age of 14 and have volunteered in the community both as coach and in other capacity. My formal education is in Advertising & Design, an industry I worked in after college. After realizing that design is something I would like to keep on a more personal rather than a commercial level I decided to become a Realtor, while enjoying photography and design as a hobby.
I was born in 1983 in Chernivtzi, a beautiful Ukrainian city nicknamed "Little Vienna" because of its Austrian architectural influences. When I was 6 my parents decided to embark on our first immigration adventure as we left former Soviet Union and headed to Israel. There were four of us, my mother, father and my 1 year old brother.
Growing up in Israel was a fantastic experience. Exotic fruits, the beach close by and the mostly warm climate was something I will always remember. Life was great, but my parents' struggles would not become real to me until much later in life. The fact that my father brought us to a new country with just $100 in his pocket was not something I really thought about at that young age.
By the time I was turning 13 and about to graduate high-school, the inevitability of me leaving for the army in a few short years was becoming more and more apparent for my parents, who after years of struggles were just getting to the point where life was starting to come together.
Despite their improving lifestyle and the ability to enjoy life in a country which they grew to love, my parents' protective instincts would set them on course for yet another immigration, this time to Canada.
Dedicating their entire life so me and my brother could have a bright and safe future, my parents decided that Toronto was now a better place for us to grow up and "starting from scratch" in yet another new country was something they were willing to do for us.
In September of 1997 we landed at Pearson Airport and were greeted by my parents' friends who immigrated to Toronto a few years before us. I started high-school within days and was incredibly surprised to find so many cultures in a single classrooms. Despite many Ukrainian, Israeli and Russian students in the school my first few friends were not from where I was. I was intrigued by the possibility that I could have friends from Korea, Argentina, Venezuela, Iran, the Philippines and many other countries around the world. I started asking my new friends to teach me their languages, their cultures and was most satisfied when I was able to visit their homes, try their foods and see the vastly different interactions other ethnic families have compared to my own.
Living in Canada was better than watching a geographical documentary. I was quickly learning new traditions, learning to respect people that may not look or act like me or what I have been used to growing up and in turn learned to respect where I came from and my own heritage as well. If I wanted to conform before, now I wanted to represent my country and background, show other friends what my family does and hope that it would interest them as much as their culture intrigued me.
Now, I see the world in a different light. A great life I would have never experienced if it wasn't for my parents who were willing to drop everything they knew not once but twice, and travel to a place they knew nothing about just so my brother and I have better opportunities and a stable place to create our own families.