Listen to Elena’s interview about her immigration to Canada.She is the child in the middle with the little sailor hat.
Hi, my name is Elena, and they asked me to you about my immigration to Canada.
Can you tell us about the day you immigrated to Canada?
The day I immigrated to Canada…I remember it was really cold. It was the month of April and we celebrated Easter on the on the ship. How can I forget, a man dropped dead at Easter mass and he just croaked. I kept asking my mom my mom: “what are they going to do with him?” And Mom said “They will throw him at sea.” I was just so frightened because the sea was all black. I was 6. We were on the ship for 2 weeks…14 whole days.
What was the first year like in Canada? It was terrible. It was cold. We were all living in one house, me, my 3 siblings and my 3 cousins Tina, Rita and Benedetto. We had boarders living with us to help us pay the rent. The nuns at school were very strict. Mom and Dad could not afford much. My sister and I had to walk miles to get back to school and our fingers and toes would get frostbite. On a good day, Mom would give us a little money for toffee candy. MayWests cost 5 cents at the time…cheap right?
Do you think immigration from Italy is the same today in Canada? No, it’s not the same for them because we came over after a World War. My parents wanted a better life for us but it was tough. Today, it just seems easier. Young Italians have graduated from University. They speak the language. They have some savings. I’m sure that it’s still scary. They must miss home and their loved ones but back then Mom and Dad never saw their parents again. We had more job opportunities back then. We were able to build a good life for ourselves.
This is Elena, for Learning English Matters.
Words in this story:
Immigrated – moving to a foreign country
Croaked – to die
Boarders – people that pay someone to let them stay at their home to eat and sleep
Rent – Money that you pay to someone to live in their home; usually paid monthly
Strict – demanding that people obey rules or behave in a certain way
Frostbite – a medical condition where part of the body freezes (I.e fingers and toes)
Maywest – white sponge cake filled with cream and covered in chocolate
Cheap – not costing a lot of money
Tough – [təf] very hard to handle or very hard to do
Easier – not hard
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