Teresa Schapansky

Country of Origin:



Citizenship, Immigration, Asian Heritage, Adjusting to Life in Canada


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An audio snapshot of just one of Canada's many immigration stories.


Teresa Schapansky was introduced to the world of writing at the age of 15, when her word puzzles were published in several issues of a television guide. She has since written the Along the Way series for young children, and two young adult novels, Imogene of the Pacific Kingdom (recipient of the Canada Book Award), and Dager of the Tasman Empire (awarded the Literary Classics Seal of Approval).

Memoirs of a Pakhtun Immigrant is the author's first foray into writing creative non-fiction, and she is currently hard at work on another. The author lives with her family in the Cowichan Valley, on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.

For more information, please visit: https://www.teresaschapansky.com or https://twitter.com/T_Schapansky. The author profile may be seen on Amazon.com: amazon.com/author/teresaschapansky, or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TSchapanskyBooks?ref=hl


In June of 2016, I received a message from a cherished high school friend. Polite folk that we are, he and I exchanged our usual pleasantries before he got down to business. His dad had been hoping to have his story written for quite some time, and he asked if I might be interested in taking on a project such as this.

Since then, I have met with Jamal 45 times, and each meeting, beginning and ending with a hug, has lasted anywhere from an hour to three hours. This book is the final product of those visits (and 90 hugs).

The original purpose for the writing of this book was to ensure that the history of how his family came to be in Canada would not become forgotten nor lost over time. Our aim was to chronicle times and events, woven from Jamal's memories, for his present and future family members to pass down throughout the generations. We agreed it would be helpful to add information at the beginning of most chapters to put the timeline into perspective concurrently with other events taking place in the world at the time.

Jamal and I were literally on the same page, when during the development phase, we realized that this story had the potential of being enjoyed globally. In both respects, I sincerely hope we've done it justice.

Throughout this project, Jamal and I have shared every single emotion. We've belly laughed, we've shed tears, and we've raised our fists in triumph. We've talked about our children, discussed theology, the local economy and the future of housing. We've touched on local politics as well as the political debate taking place in the United States. We've worried about the poor. Our conversations know no bounds.

A friendship that I will treasure forever has developed between us. When we get together, we don't notice the 35-year age gap, nor that our religious beliefs, gender and skin colour are not the same. We've simply become best friends for life.

I thank my new friend, Jamal for allowing me the honour of being part of this incredible journey. Researching and learning the history of this family, discovering how Gafoor happened to arrive in Canada so very long ago, and working side by side with Jamal has without a doubt, become one of the most personally rewarding experiences of my life.