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Words to live by, actions to follow, people to emulate

By Sheilana Dela Cruz

Many people live by inspiration; inspiration through words, actions or people. Some quotes I grew up with were my high school’s mantra “Carpe diem – seize the day”, Forrest Gump’s “Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get” or Nike’s “Just Do It.” We have heard these quotes at least once in our entire lifetime. They’re used for moments of inspiration, motivation or something to ponder.

Personally, I love quotes, however cliché they sound. I don’t just ponder them however; I put them into action as well. Inspiration does not come only through words however. Actions and people often inspire as well. Let me tell you about another one of my inspirations.

She came to Winnipeg in the 1970s to join the booming industry as a garment worker, with the hopes of having better opportunities for a better future. She left mostly all of her family, friends and loved ones in the Philippines, with the exception of her cousin who accompanied her to Winnipeg. Not only did she leave many of her loved ones behind but she left behind all that was familiar to her: a beautiful, warm country where she knew the language, rules, traditions and lifestyle. She traded all of that to come to a new country where she would face definite hardships and differences that unfamiliarity always brings, not to mention the drastic climate change that Winnipeg is famous for! She persevered however, working hard daily, learning the new language, rules, traditions and lifestyle for herself and her family that she eventually had.

Without knowing it, she motivated me to do the same. As the beginning of this New Year started, so began my new life. With great thought and much difficulty, I left behind in Winnipeg many of my loved ones and all that I knew to be familiar to me, for the city of Toronto, with hopes for better opportunities for a better future. Although Toronto is still in the same country as Winnipeg, it is different. Winnipeg is the city I was born in, raised and grew up in and have known so well for all of my 25 years of life. Now I am surrounded by unfamiliar faces, streets and buildings. Although I miss home terribly I embrace this unfamiliarity with great eagerness. Granted, it is not as huge a move as changing countries but still significant enough for a small city girl like me. What keeps me grounded is the amazing love and support of my family and friends; that and the wonderful technology I can use to keep in touch with them! Although I’ve separated myself physically from those I love, they’re constantly always in my heart and mind. Many quotes can seem cliché but they work if you not only ponder the words but take action from them. The day I left, my ate gave me a card that quoted the great artist Vincent Van Gogh, “What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?”

As for my inspiration, I can now relate to what she went through, as she moved to a new country to start a new life. I knew it would be difficult but it wasn’t impossible either. It is clear that moving to a new city is nothing new, especially to many of you, my fellow Filipino readers who came here and still come with the same hopes as my inspiration.

Oh yeah, my inspiration is my mother. Happy Mother’s Day mama, I love you!

Sheilana Dela Cruz continues to correspond and support ANAK, while pursuing her education to be a Child and Youth Care Worker at Humber College in Toronto, Ontario.

Contact the author at info@anak.ca or visit www.anak.ca.