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semco Salehi _ I Am torontonian My name is Maryam. I came to Canada in 1995. I was a teacher back home but when I came to Canada I had to start all over again so I started to work. First, I went to Goodwill where they sell secondhand dresses and lots of stuff. I went there and I asked for a job and they told me: “Do you have experience? Canadian experience?” And I said, “What is that?” And they said: “Well, you have to have Canadian experience,” and I said, “No, I do not have it.” So for a long time I couldn’t find a job because they asked for Canadian experience. I went to Manpower where they find you a temporary job and I worked in a Nike factory and Nestle, and then afterwards, I felt that “This is not my job. I should do something else.” So I decided to go back to school. I went to school and I got a grant -we call it OSAP- and I took a Hygiene course and it took like two years. I had good marks and then for at least one year I was looking for a job because I was a new grad and they wouldn’t give me a job. So I decided to work as a volunteer. I worked for four months. At that time, I had to walk from Main Square to Broadview. It was winter and it was so difficult but I’m so happy because I made a life. I worked for four years and actually I helped my doctor assisting surgery and stuff and implants and I really enjoyed it. Then I had a back problem so I wasn’t able to work anymore, but the most important thing about Canada is…I love Canada. I never imagined that I could love Canada. I remember once when I was on a plane back to Canada, my heart was beating so hard and I was crying and this was strange for me and I was wondering why I was crying because this is not my country. I had this feeling for Iran but not towards Canada and after a while I realized the place that I live, this is my country. Especially the kindness of the people, the way that they treat other people, other religion, other nationality, there isn’t any racism because everybody thinks of Canada as their own country. That is very important. I came to LA almost a month ago and I felt I missed Canada, especially Toronto. Right now it’s winter, and there is lots of snow over there and I miss it. What else can I say about them? They are very honest; they are very kind. They can help you in every way if you go to them and ask for help. The benefits that are given to the people, they’re no different from one nationality to another nationality. This is very important to me because one time I was on the subway and I saw a picture with 72 languages that said “Hello” and my language “Salâm” was there. I was so proud that Canada accepted me as a citizen and I loved that. And my son is here. He finished his school, he went to university, he graduated as an engineer and he’s working in a bank. I have a good life and I love Canada.

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