“And it was a shock for me coming here I left all my friends like you have to understand I was a teenager and when you’re a teenager, friends are the most important people in your life. So I left all of them behind including my best friend, which I grew up with….9 months after we were here, I started crying, that I wanted to go back to my country (Italy) but then it just got better because you get use to it, you stick with your relatives more, although my cousins where younger than me. I would play with them and baby sit them. You get older and met a boy and you fall in love, and you get married and then you start your own family but the teenager years have been little tough.”
Published by : Mycha Haughton-Lewis
Maria è madre di uno dei due figli ed è sposata con il padre di suo figlio. Sua madre cam con lei quando aveva 14 anni e la sua vita è l’Italia è stata grande ma il primo anno del Canada, è stato difficile. Il motivo per cui è venuta in Canada è stato perché suo zio ha convinto sua madre e lei che lui ha una grande vita qui e lo faranno anche loro. Quando sono venuti qui, non è stato quello che lei pensava fosse. La casa non era così grande, suo zio non aveva abbastanza soldi come pensava lei e la sua esperienza qui. Aveva molti amici in Italia e quando è venuta qui, non l’ha fatto. La prendevano in giro in base ai vestiti che indossava, a come parlava, e semplicemente non essendo di qui. Con il tempo ha imparato ad affrontare questa situazione.
Maria is the mother of one of her two children and is married to her son’s father. His mother cam with her when he was 14 and his life is Italy was great but the first year of Canada, it was difficult. The reason she came to Canada was because her uncle convinced her mother and she believed he has a great life here and they will too. When they came here, it wasn’t what she thought it was. The house wasn’t so big, his uncle didn’t have enough money as she thought and her experience here. He had many friends in Italy and when he came here, he didn’t. They made fun of her based on the clothes she was wearing, how she spoke, and simply not being here. Over time he has learned to deal with this situation.
Me; what first brought you to Canada?
Maria: a decision that my uncle made actually made for us. My uncle came to Italy and conviced my dad that um it would be a better life here since he had a business building houses, he thought that my dad could be apart of that.
Me: What was your life like in Italy?
Maria- it was pretty good actually. My mom was a nurse in one of the hopsitals in torino, similar to sick kids hospital in torono. It was all children, premature- 14 years old. My dad workd for lancha, owned by fiete. He was quality control for them. I was the only child, spoiled rotten so it was a great life.
Me:How did you come to Canada?
Maria- morning of October 10that 4:00am, drove to the airport in milan, and came here by plan. We stopped I montreal for a couple of hours and then proceeded to come to Toronto
Mycha How did you adapt to the culture of Canada?
Maria: And it was a shock for me coming here I left all my friends like you have to understand I was a teenager and when you’re a teenager, friends are the most important people in your life. So I left all of them behind including my best friend, which I grew up with. We’ve know each other since we were 5 years old. I had to leave everyone behind and start new friends here but it was a little difficult. Integration is something that when you go into a new country, it is encouraged that you integrate but it’s not as easy as they say you know. So I made a couple of friends, and they were good friends but they didn’t share what I liked. They’re both Italian descent but they were used to Italian songs but from maybe from the 50s. I wanted to listen to the new music. They said “no we never heard this before”. The fashion was something else too. I brought Clothes from Italy obviously and I remember going to school with my good pants but I noticed here the pants were so wide leg, like they were in a few years before and now that I just came from Italy, it was narrow so I brought new clothes and people start making fun of me, these 14 year old. They made fun of me because I wasn’t dressed their type of fashion and so for the first year, I had it a little tough. People would make fun of me because I couldn’t pronounce things right like the word “cat” and when I said it wrong, they would make fun of me so it wasn’t very happy. 9 months after we were here, I started crying, that I wanted to go back to my country (Italy) but then it just got better because you get use to it, you stick with your relatives more, although my cousins where younger than me. I would play with them and baby sit them. You get older and met a boy and you fall in love, and you get married and then you start your own family but the teenager years have been little tough.
Mycha: Was it hard learning English? How did you learn it?
Maria: By my friend making fun of me and correcting me and my son now, still helps me with pronunciation. Even though I came here at 14, there are still some words I have difficulty with. I have to say not the teenagers, not the my peers but the older people, like if I go to the library and ask for something they would be more understanding.
Mycha: Hai portato con te qualche oggetto importante quando sei venuto in Canada?
Maria: L’abbigliamento stai parlando solo personalmente di mio o parlando di tutta la famiglia abbiamo portato due boulie (two trunks). Come si chiamano oggetti per la cucina pentole bicchieri alcuni bicchieri ci personali come, quando cercavamo le fotografie abbiamo trovato il mio flauto erano cose che servivano quotidianamente.
Mycha: important things your brought back to Italy
Maria: Glasses, these were given to my mom as a anniversary present from my grandma
Mycha: out of all the things you bought back, what would be the most valuable, and
Maria; the coffee maker because my mom and my dad could not live without it
Maria: if I could go back, I would of brought back records because I didn’t bring any, I left them back in Italy for my cousins.
How did you raise your kid knowing two different languages and cultures?
Maria: Okay so Christian was my first born and I have a daughter as well. Going back, Jerry and I got married. We lived with my parents because I’m the only child and he had brothers and sisters so we decided to stay with my parents because when you get married, you don’t have much money. The thing is, the house across the street, from my parents went on sale, and my dad said “why don’t you buy the house across the street from us?’. So we did. Then about 4 years later, My husband and I went around this neighborhood, and found the model home to this house. So we liked it and built it. we should both my mom and my house and build the one we’re living in now. Okay so now, my mom, dad, my husband and I are living in this house together as a happy family and I was pregnant with Christian. Christian, for the first 4 and a half years of his life knew only Italian, even though he was born in Canada. He was use to our culture, our food, a way of talking, a way of doing things. 6 months before he was going to go to kindergarten, my husband and I started speaking more English to him. 4 years later, Victoria was born, and we convinced Christian, who was 4, that Victoria only understood Italian so he would speak to her more in Italian. Christian went to school and spoke more English and spoke English to Victoria as well.
Mycha: How was raising your kid in Canada? Would you rather raise your kids in Canada or in Italy?
Maria: I can answer that in two different ways. Back then, 30 some years ago, I would of preferred to raise my kids in Italy
Maria I don’t know. Proably because I wanted them to learn more about the culture because I felt that here in Canada, everybody lived in their own little house and didn’t really go out. I didn’t really see kids playing like I did in Italy. We had a court year, where I lived and it was full of kids , you know but things changed in Italy as well. children started having their little gadgets and playing with their little gadgets more in the house and I heard that through the television. So I still had that concept of Italy and a lot of the Italian immigrants felt this way. They had that same concept of Italy, “Italy they way they left Italy”. If you ask me now, if I were to have a child now, I would think Canada will be the best place to raise my kids.
Mycha to Angela: Conosceva già qualcuno in Canada prima del suo arrivo?
Maria for Angela: so her brother in law and sister in law.
Mycha: quali ostacoli hai incontrato come Nuovo immigratto in Canada
Angela: Parlare di inglese
Maria: la linguia e stato probelma. The language was the biggest problem because even to go shopping, you have to communicate and she couldn’t.
Mycha: I can undertand.For example, It could be hard giving birth in a country where you don’t know and when you don’t speak the language. Did she know any English at all.
Maria: no not at all, she didn’t know any English at all. She took at course at congistoga because the government was offering two immigrants this course. And they would pay you $60 a week but you had to attend. Can you image like a teacher that is explain in English, the language and you don’t understand?
Mycha: Yes. I understand.
Maria: and it’s not like you can ask the person that’s sitting next to you because the person that is sitting beside you, is a different culture, maybe Indian. Because there was a group of people from different cultures so they couldn’t really communicate either. So I was the one that helped her with her homework at night, because I knew a little bit of English. I took English in grade 7 and 8 .
Mycha: Hai avouto scrivi lettere a qualcuno in italia?
Anglea: yes. To my brother, My sister
Maria to her mom: Abbiamo letter di italai
Mycha: what age did you learn Italian?
Christain: Basically from birth. I grew up in an Italian household
I remember seeing home movies of me being a 2 years old speaking Italian. That was the first languag I knew you by like my own memories I don’t remember really learning Italian and it’s just like I knew it. it’s been ingrained in be since birth.
Mycha: how did you balance out the two cultures?
Christian: for me it was Kind of like a Italian at home in and Canadian outside in the house
but I was proud to be Italian if I could show my Italians to friends. That was pretty much it if I could share any aspect of my Italian like to have friends outside of home I did. If not, it was Canadian outside of the house.
Mycha: Have you been to Italy?
Christian: yeah three times
Mycha: what is the difference between Canada and Italy?
Christian : There is stuff that I would do here that doesn’t fly in Italy
Definitely doesn’t fly in Italy like I can’t think of an exact example right now but there are certain things that like events like clothes you wear in North America in Canada and when you go to italy, people will know you aren’t from there.
Mycha: is the fashion different?
Christain: yes. If I wore a logo like what I’m wearing now, they would be like yup, you aren’t from here. There’s a funny store actually. My cousin comes to see us And she had never met me before but she knew my grandma and she’s talking Italian to my grandma and my grandma is like “hey, how’s it going” and she turns and says this is my daughter’s child. And she goes “oh’ oh your daughters don?. And she stops and she goes how am I going to speak to him, I don’t speak English” and I just said, in Italian, that I speak Italian. She was overjoyed that she didn’t have somebody translate for her.
Mycha: if you could choose knowing what you know in regards to knowing two cultures, would you go and live and Italy or would you stay in Canada?
Christian: depending on the place in Italy. It has to be a specific place. If was in a big city no, but if it was aulostra, I probably would. It’s gorgeous, it surrounded by the mountains and life is a little bit more. It’s not have taken it doesn’t seem hectic, at least when I was there. Even on a hectic day we had my cousins first communion while we were there and it was it was a hectic day everybody’s running around trying to get organized to go to the church and everything but at the same time it was very relaxed.
Mycha: where are you guy from italy, I forgot to ask that.
Maria: my mom is from sicily. My dad is from the toe of italy and I was born up north, in torieno. My mom went to torieno first and then my dad went a year, maybe 2 after and they happened to live across the street from each other And they met because they went dancing at a friend of my mom says. Come on, lets go, you’re always in the house, lets go dancing, it’s Christmas eve. She knew some people that were going and they asked if they mind bring fortunato along (Angela’s husband) and the girls ask Angela and Angela said sure and then, that how they met. A few days later, the went o go see a movie together and then they go married and then a year later, I was born.
Mycha; how long were they married for
Maria; almost 36 years because my dad passed away. It would have been there 60thanniversary if my dad was still alive.
Questa è la prima casa in cui ha vissuto la sua famiglia e la sua famiglia quando sono arrivati in Italia. Ha cresciuto suo figlio in questa casa ed è qui che sono iniziati tutti i suoi ricordi dal Canada. Inoltre, questa è la casa in cui ha imparato l’inglese, la mamma ha imparato l’inglese e anche la sua prima casa che viveva con il marito. maria ha vissuto in tutta la sua famiglia, il che dimostra che era vicina alla sua famiglia. Questo è stato l’inizio dell’adattamento alla nuova cultura.
This is the first house her family and her lived in when they first got to Italy. She raised her son in this house and this is where all of her memories from Canada all started. Furthermore, this is the house she learned English in, he mom learned English in and also, her first house living with her husband. Maria lived across her family so that shows that she was close with her family. This was the start of adapting to new culture.
Queste sono le foto che erano in casa sua. angela ha fatto quelle trapunte in Canada e in Italia e si è contuined per farle in Canada come una tradizione che aveva in Italia. Incooperò in casa sua un simbolo degli hobby che Angela aveva in Italia.
These are the photo’s that were in her house. angela made those quilts in canada and in italy and she contuined to make them in canada as a traditon she had in italy. She incooperated these in her house a symbol of the hobbies Angela had in Italy.
Queste foto sono importanti perché hanno cooperato con la loro cultura nella nuova cultura, includendo questi oggetti sulla tavola. Questi oggetti provengono dall’Italia e non hanno voluto e non hanno lasciato l’Italia perché è diversa da loro. Hanno fatto il caffè alla vecchia maniera ma inizierebbero a fare il caffè canadese.
These photos are important because they in cooperated their culture in the new culture by including these items on the table. These items are from Italy and they did not want nor leave Italy behind because it is apart of them. They made coffee the old fashion way but would start to make Canadianized coffee.
The family as a whole
Nonna Angela ha avuto più difficoltà ad adattarsi alla cultura, ma ha imparato ad affrontarla. La sua sfida era che non sapeva parlare inglese, e quindi non riusciva a capire certe cose a meno che qualcuno non glielo spiegasse. Inoltre, non aveva suo marito al suo fianco perché non voleva venire in Italia. Il modo in cui ha cercato di adattarsi è fare amicizia andando in una classe di lingua inglese dove si parlava inglese. Ha ancora problemi con questo, ma ora ama il Canada e dice che in Italia non c’è più niente per lei perché la sua famiglia è qui. Il nipote deve conoscere la cultura italiana e anche la cultura canadese. Ha iniziato a parlare italiano quando è nato e ha imparato l’inglese a 14 anni. Andare in Italia all’età di 9 anni è stato un modo per loro di installare di più la cultura italiana. Ha rispettato la sua cultura e i suoi genitori parlando la lingua a casa, ma anche, continuerà a cercare di emergere in quella canadese.
Grandma Angela had a harder time adapting to the culture but learned how to deal with it. Her challenges was that she didn’t know how to speak English, and therefore couldn’t understand certain things unless somebody explain it to her. Furthermore, she didn’t have her husband by her side because he didn’t want to come to Italy. They way she tried to adapt is making friend by going to a English speaking class where they spoke English. She still struggles with that but now she loves Canada and says there is nothing left for her in Italy because her immediate family is here. The grandson has to learn about the Italian culture as well as knowing the Canadian culture. He started speaking Italian when he was born and learned English at 14. Going to Italy at the age of 9 was a way of them Italling the Italian culture more. He respected his culture and his parents by speaking the language at home but also, will still trying to emerce himself in the Canadian one.
Questi sono lo zio e la zia di Maria. Sul lato sinistro di loro c’è Anglea, la madre e il papà di Maria. Queste erano le persone che hanno portato il thm in Canada e li hanno aiutati ad adattarsi alla cultura canadese.
This is Maria’s Uncle and aunt. On the left side of them is Anglea, Maria’s mother and dad. These were the people that brought them to Canada and helped them adjust to the Canadian culture.