The palm trees swayed from one side to another, encompassing the beach side on a bright sunny afternoon. The sense of freedom was abundant, yet at the same time mounting tension overshadowed the lives of everyone living in and around this tiny island. What island am I describing, you may ask? This not-so beautiful country known to some as Sri Lanka and to others as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean is where it all began for me as a child.
Ever since war commenced back in 1982 between the rebel Tamil Tigers and the government of Sri Lanka, we begin living with a heightened sense of uncertainty. The only certainty in war is the devastation it will wrought onto a a country.
Since 1982, the battles have taken a heavy toll on all Sri Lankan citizens who once dreamt of a prosperous life in our homeland. However, with that said, it is often believed that in order to achieve peace, one must go through war. Given this cynical view, many of us who are affected by the atrocities brought about by war and who are unwilling to participate in this questionable pursuit of peace, long for that one fighting chance to seek a new lease on life: immigration.
Personally for my family and I, this opportunity presented itself and we mutually decided to flee to Canada. Upon arrival, many new immigrants find themselves in a conundrum in regards to adapting to surroundings but of us, it was of second nature. I suppose this is why many of my friends could not at first distinguish at first whether or not I was born here, since they failed to recognized the slightest accent in my dialect. I can attest to this because I was pretty much brought up speaking English back home.
Essentially, by leaving my homeland, my family sacrificed more that their share in order to provide us a better life here. For a great deal of immigrant families, this is not the case ad their second home is not always a permanent solution. Who knows, perhaps they may anxiously be waiting for that day when they can go back to their country of origin and life the life that they are accustomed to.
Personally, I make sure not to take this possibility for granted as I might not have another chance. All in all, my family’s transition and assimilation into the Canadian way of life was less painstaking than it was made out to be.
Many of us, who have suffered the wrath of war, respond by pursuing non-violent means. For my family and I, escaping to Canada was an act of passive resistance because be resisted contributing to the violence. Now that I am a a citizen and have lived here for over a decade or so, I can look back and proudly proclaim that my family’s decision to seek refuge in this country of may faces was absolutely the best decision for all of us. Canada being as graceful as it is known to be is my safe haven and I am appreciative for its openness towards immigrants like myself.
As I conclude, I want to add that, for many, the concept of an escape can vary from escaping our emotions to escaping the harsh reality that is life. For my family, escaping meant to have a second chance in life. It meant to aspire, to live like normal human beings in this global village of ours. I myself have yet to pay a return to my homeland but then again, I am not sure I want to as it may bring back some unforgettable memories. For now, instead of reminiscing what was left behind, I can only look forward to what life throws my way here in Canada while ensuring to reap the benefits of my family’s life – altering escaping.