OUR NEIGHBORS: Pamela

IMG_0135 (1)

“We should first start with the fact that 20 years ago I fell in love with a Canadian. I was working in Libya for the oil companies and my husband was a Canadian pilot. I met him on a bus and the rest is history. I one day discovered, “woops I’m pregnant,” so we moved to France, where I’d spent many childhood holidays. My son was born in France and he went through primary school while my husband was still going back to Africa. Where we were living, we didn’t have a very good secondary school so about two years before [my son] was going to finish primary school, we kind of looked about. We would have had to move house, which would have involved quite a lot of cost troubles and at that point my husband just said, “I want to go back to Canada. I am Canadian, my son’s Canadian, I want him to grow up in Canada.” So I said, “okay. If you’re gonna move 100 miles down the road you may as well move 1000+ miles up the road.” So we moved up the road to Fredericton! We came here and I said, “Fredericton is so pretty.” It is so pretty. It looks like a lot of English villages. We came to Ecole Sainte-Anne, which is the French school; it’s excellent. And I thought, “well okay, I’d be happy here.” So yea, four years on I’m still happy. The first two years are really hard, then it starts getting easier. The first two years, it’s just constant. Nothing is ever as you expect it. And it’s very difficult when you come into a new society to know how to do things. It’s just that constant confusion, you don’t know anything. It’s like trying to cook a meal in somebody else’s kitchen. You don’t know where the pots and pans are, you don’t know where the ingredients are, you don’t know anything about it. It’s an adjustment. And somehow I didn’t expect it.”

We live in a richly diverse community, but we sometimes don’t see the unique and beautiful individuals and families who live in Fredericton South. Many members of our community are overlooked, some are invisible, and sometimes they are Othered. In the coming months, I want to introduce you to some of our neighbours. They are us. This summer we are featuring the work of Faces of the Immigration Story, a collaborative effort to weave the experiences of Fredericton’s immigrants into an inspiring tale of their journey into becoming new Canadians.