I haven’t always lived in Canada. In my infantile years, I resided in China, the land of my ancestors. In the suburbs of Asia, my life was simple: eat, sleep, wash, and repeat. The hazy memories of that place seem to reside in the back of my head, clouding my thoughts. And whenever I feel like I can grasp those recollections, they float away from me again. I have brief dream-like memories in my head, from pulling down trees to chasing my friends around my house. But often, I try to picture what the journey to North America must have felt like, but I can’t be sure if they’re really memories or just impressions.
Looking back on it now, the journey was such a haze that I can’t really be sure it happened. For all I know, I could be some European-raised infant from Germany. The fact that I can’t actually prove that any of my memories happened really shows how distant my infantile years were. The fact is, my memories only stretch to when I began school. Before that, there are bits of pieces of possible memories that only could have happened.
Recently, however, I went back to China to visit my extended family. A lot of the memories I had of China were actually fairly accurate. I could remember the layout of the house I was raised up in. I could remember the river where I played at. I could remember the fireplace that I threw fortunes into. All of things that I doubted I could finally confirm. It was a feeling like no other. Like becoming the person you always doubted.
But the journey to Canada was different. The only recollections of the journey was the dark airplane that I sat in. I don’t even remember getting off the plane. I was told that when I arrived, I didn’t know a word of english. Funny how that works, because nowadays I can’t speak a syllable of mandarin. What I do remember are the sunny days that accompanied my early childhood. The windy breeze that chilled the house in the morning, to the next door neighbour whom I spent with playing everyday. I felt at peace here.
Unlike many others who suffered hardships during their immigration to Canada, I felt at peace. The fact that the people around me were very accepting allowed me to fit in quite nicely. I never was bullied at school, and I got along with people quite well. My parents also made if very easy for me to thrive in my environment, as they encouraged me to go out and have fun. I also remember always coming home to dinner late because I was out in the sun with my friends, goofing off in the backyard forest or loitering at the community centre. At that age, even if I wasn’t the brightest of minds, it was the brightest of times.
To be honest, my childhood days and early immigration reside as my fondest memories. I believe that as I get older, not even these memories will fade like those of my even earlier years. Even sometimes during the day, or when I’m looking at the sky at night, I remember brief moments where I shone more brightly then I have ever before.