By David Gomes & Nicole Chung
It takes a certain level of mental strength and willpower for anyone to uproot themselves from the comfort of the place they’ve called home for as long as they can remember and move to a place that seems completely alien at first – new life, new culture, new rules… it’s daunting, but not impossible to do, just ask Carina, a student of MNLCT’s Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC Classes)
Carina moved to Canada 5 years ago on her own. “When I first arrived, I felt excited because I like to try new things, I was excited to come to a new world,” she says recalling the day she first set foot on Canadian soil all those years ago. She later reunited with a former classmate in China and eventually married him.
But as any new immigrant can tell you from experience, the excitement from the first few months of landing as a newcomer in Canada wears off, and reality sets in. “I became depressed because it was difficult to adjust here. I gave up all my experiences and comforts back home in China. I felt that I lost myself, I lost everything; my parents, my friends, and my confidence.”
“Then I found out I had a chronic disease and my doctor told me I had to take medication for the rest of my life. I was shocked and felt very lost. During this time, I had my daughter and would take care of her during the day but at night, I would spend my time playing video games, World of Warcraft. It wasn’t easy. I needed to do something to keep myself occupied.”
Carina went on to sign up for the LINC program at MNLCT in March 2018, a decision she says was her turning point.
My teacher, Teresa, gave me hope again and encouraged me a lot.”
“In China, my favourite thing was painting but my parents didn’t want me to be an artist, so I majored in biopharmaceuticals. After I graduated from bio-pharmaceuticals, I got a good job in that field. In China, I didn’t think about chasing my dream. But immigration put me at a crossroads and gave me a chance to reset myself. It gave me an opportunity to choose another career path. Since I began attending classes at MNLCT, Teresa has encouraged me to pursue what I like. She has a great zest for life, which influences her students deeply.”
Carina’s creations – tantalizing chocolate oatmeal Toucan Bars. Follow Carina’s Instagram feed to check out more of these tasty morsels.
While attending MNLCT’s LINC program, Carina is also following her passion and dream of one day being a professional baker. “When I had my daughter 4 years ago, I found a passion for baking. I taught myself the trade and since my daughter turned 2, I started a food blog. She is a picky eater, so I made the food look cute in order to get her to eat it. This inspired me to get into creative baking. I am currently enrolled in the Baking & Pastry Arts Management Program at George Brown College. Now I want to be a professional baker in this field. No matter what I do in the future, I want to do what I like.”
We wish Carina all the very best with making all her dreams come true and we can’t wait to try some of her delicious baked goodies soon.