In celebration of International Migrants day on December 18th, Our SEIU-West Multicultural Mentorship Committee (MMC) is sharing their stories of what it was like when they first came to Canada.

Yolanda is a cook in a rural integrated health facility and is the communicator for MMC.

Here is Yolanda's story:

I came to Saskatoon on March 3, 1991; I arrived around 9:30pm. I remember the Saskatoon Airport being so small. We had to use steps to go down from our plane and then had to walk inside the airport to get our luggage. I was expecting Canada to have this huge airport, so I was completely shocked to find myself in the smallest airport I had ever seen.

The first thing I wanted to see was the snow. I remember when I woke up in the morning I ran outside to see the snow. I rolled around in it and was just so happy to see snow. My first apartment was in downtown Saskatoon. I remember on the weekends that there would be no cars running or people walking, and all the stores and the mall were closed; it felt like the city was absolutely dead. 

Since I came on a working visa, I could only work with my employer. Because I couldn't work on my days off, I use to go volunteer at the Ronald McDonald house, cleaning and baking cookies for the sick children. I also volunteered in the Dragon Boat Festival. After I got my Permanent Residency, I took cosmetology for a year and worked in a beauty salon for a few years. After that I opened my own salon and uniform store. I worked there for a while but unfortunately had to close it down due to an injury. 

I started to work as a care aide for a few years, and moved around between different departments until I found a position that I really enjoyed, which is what I do now. I love cooking! Saskatoon nowadays is a totally different place, no matter what day it is, it's always busy. I'm so glad I came to Saskatoon. Its a beautiful city, full of friendly people, and lots of opportunities. It's become home sweet home to me.  Every time I went back to the Philippines, after coming back here I felt like I'm at home. 😊

I moved to a small town in Saskatchewan in 2008; it's the best town to raise your children! My son has been going to school here since Grade 1 and he's currently in Grade 12. It's the best choice I've ever made, and I'm happy with the results. We all have our dreams, and my dream was to be content with life. Now I have my dream, I thank our Almighty God for it. Now with this pandemic my question is, will we ever feel safe and secure? 

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