My mom wanted me to have better opportunities...
Excluding my father, we were the first in our family history to settle down in Canada. The reason for our “immigration” was my mother’s absurd, over-achieving, adamant, and impetuous personality.

Early in the year of 2002, my mom came across this random idea to send her children to a foreign country to study. At first it was just an idea but then it developed into something bigger, something real. She figured that learning English, the international language, would greatly benefit the future of her children. In addition, she wanted us to be not just Koreans, but members of the international community, to perceive things in the world at a global level, in a bigger scale. My mom has many ideas, ideas that are absurd, and ideas that are ingenious. This idea was kind of both: good but unrealistic. With my father’s small monthly income of around 2000$, the already unusual idea for that time, of sending kids abroad, should not have at all crossed her mind as something plausible.

However, my mother does one thing better than anyone else. Making the impossible possible. First she researched a myriad of schools in both Canada and United States. The reasons my mom chose Canada over the US were because the tuition and cost of living were cheaper and also that Canada was better known to be safer. My mom, at first, also wanted to send my brother and me by ourselves – just the two of us – but then changed her mind after my father, the only soft hearted one in our family, thought it’d be too dangerous for my brother and me to be alone in a foreign country.

The method she used to pick the school I was going to attend wasn’t a logic based evaluation of cost and quality of education but rather a religious leap of faith. She prayed, emailed all the schools, then picked the very first that replied.

After preparing all the documents, my mother, my brother, and I boarded the plane to Canada on September of 2002. I was 8 years old.

There were difficulties in immigrating to and settling down in Canada. There were the obvious language and culture clashes. Further on more problems occurred when my mom wanted to work. In Korea, she had taught English but in Canada, that was no longer the option. There was an option, however, for her to receive a work permit after graduating from certain designated schools. At first she was denied the work permit because the school she had attended did not meet the requirements set by the immigration office. She was once again denied the work permit for the same reason after that although she had, this time, attended a school that met all the requirements. Thankfully, my mom was able to get her application reviewed after contacting the immigration office through some connections she had made during her time at that school. This was quite the miracle because the immigration office generally does not review cases after making their decision. Regardless, my mom was able to receive her work permit.

After looking for jobs and working for couple months she was able to receive a full time permanent job she needed in order to apply for a permanent residence status through a certain type of provincial nominee program. We are currently waiting for the reply regarding the permanent residence application. It’s been about nine years since we first arrived. I have been living in Canada for more than half my life and it feels strange that I am still regarded as a foreigner but at the same time it is understandable because initially, it was not our intention to settle down in Canada.