Stories from the River
I came from Pakistan two and a half years ago. I faced many challenges.
Back home I was a doctor, my life was very busy and I felt pleased to help sick people.
Here I found beautiful people and wonderful environment.
I’ve grown to love feeling strange. I don’t have to pick a side, any side. I walk those lines. I balance on them. I dance on them. I am from my “Thatha” whose picture is on my bedroom wall. I am from my great grandparents who walked from Burma in the war. I am from Sydney and Drishtie, Kabir, Courtney and Pooja. From my teachers at school and the swimming pool too. I am from Amama’s dentures and Maya & Miguel’s adventures. I am from my mom who tells stories and makes me eat poories. I am from the lights at Christmas, I am from the diyas at Diwali. I am from Treehouse, Shahrukh Khan and Drake and Usher. From ara mandis and half notes, basket ball and the Raptors. I am from “read a book”, “don’t eat my head”. I am from maple leaves and mangoes. But more importantly, I am me!
Here I am free, no job, I am working as a volunteer in senior wellness program.
I respect them, they respect me, mutual relationship of love and respect.
People from every community can live together with harmony.
The place I feel at home is my grandmother’s farm. She was the backbone and the glue to my family. I miss what her presence alone was able to accomplish. She alone kept generations together. And she is my constant reminder that hard work does not go unnoticed.
The long march. The march to the border. It’s the longest march.
There are cities filled with our dead. Schools where our children are buried. But we will rise. We have wings.
There it is, the line between us. There it is, the line we must cross.
We are many spirited. Many spirits live in each of us. This is why, when we meet, we are like each other and yet, utterly different.
We love the same, live the same. The line between us is barely there. But there it is, the line between us. There it is, the line we must cross. Don’t fence me in
I want to ride to the ridge where the west commences and gaze at the moon till I lose my senses
I am from the land of beautiful scenes, which has a flag of white and green.
The place I most feel at home is in the neighbourhood & land where my mother, grandmother & great grandmother lived – Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. The child of a Canadian father and Mexican mother, I like to cross borders into “la terra de mi madre” and stand in front of the house that used to belong to my great grandmother (sold many decades ago). I like to contemplate the many kilometers and many years that have passed by since she stood on her front porch and I now gaze upon it.
I am from my school days and an amazing environment where I was raised.
I am from my ponytails and my grandma’s story tales.
I am from Dad & little brother. Who are not with us anymore. But the loving memory of them made me strong much more.
I am from my Mom’s passion. A passion to read and a passion to teach.
I am from my journey to Canada.
Wherever you come from, whatever your background is, we all are human. We all have the same heart, and hearts have no boundaries. They all have the same emotions. They all speak the same language, the language of life and love.
I am from countless morning car rides with mom.
I am from her noon-o-paneer breakfasts that start every day.
I am from the cat hair on my pillows.
My parents had nothing when I was younger and now that I am older I realize that they started with nothing just so they could give me everything. Just remember…Being happy comes from being grateful.
I am from BB guns and serious Sam.
I am from my dad’s CNC router and late night’s working.
When I crossed the border from middle school to high school. My middle school was Queen Elizabeth Senior Public School. I liked that school because the teachers were nice and the people. When I graduated, I wasn’t that happy because I had to go to a high school. I had to wear a uniform. But after the first day, I enjoyed crossing borders!
I am from my brother’s desire to experience the good and the bad.
I am from KLM Airlines that took me home.
I am from the bread stand in Teheran.
Today, I am coming from Mississauga, but my parents didn’t. They came from Hong Kong and built up their lives here in hopes of a promising and free life for their son. I am never able to fully put into words how much my parents mean to me and how much they have done for me.
I am from my grandmother’s berry bushes.
I am from apple cider and pony rides.
I am from Laurentian pencil crayons.
I am from the Credit River’s murky waters.
I wish that others around the world are able to feel peace and not be confined by their borders – whether physical or emotional.
I am from subservice and rebellion. I am from observation and questions. I am from a constant desire for change. I am from a fear of change.
I am from a nation where thousands of steel pans roars and the chanting of love and unity soars. I am from a home where the entire village gathers.
Today I am coming from an open outlook to life. The place I feel at home is where I have my loved ones with me. Given the current social and political situation across and around the world, I feel apprehension, nervousness, anxiety when crossing a border.
I am from a country where the temperature drops to -30 and rises to +30.
I am from a city where nations unite in love and harmony.
After crossing borders and entering Canada I just want to say one thing to others that: There is no reason to look back when there is so much good in front of you.I am from a neighbourhood where we care for each other.
I am from love and am for love.
I am from where it all starts.
I constantly cross borders, visiting different countries and cities and through the process I have learned that crossing borders such as immigrating is for the benefit of the future and not the present.
I am from the adventure that begins.
I am from the world that never stops.
I believe art unites everyone and allows people of all cultures, genders, classes, backgrounds to participate in a visual representation of an idea. Art connects people and that in itself is powerful enough to form new and welcoming communities.
I am from the feelings that never go away.
I am from the time that no one knows about.
I am from the new and the old.
I am from my mother’s womb. From a small apartment in Bucharest. A post-communist remnant among the fields and the cows. A strange borderland between city and country.I am from the hot and the cold.
I am from the never ending chapters.
I am from the memories that I can’t erase.
I am from the light that fills the room.
I have learned a few life experiences that I would like to share. The most beautiful present you can give to someone is your time.Your attention and your love. Believe in yourself and in your abilities and try to choose carefully, When are given choices because our choices more than our abilities show who we really are.
I am from the life of the party.
I am from the book that never ends.
Today I am coming from my home in Clarkson. Years ago, I had to leave Toronto for a job in Hamilton. Mississauga was a half-way point for me to settle. Love the parks along the lake shore – Jack Darling, Saddington, Lakeside The places I feel at home are: Public Libraries, art gallery, Bradley Museum and in my home!I am from the parts that have collapsed.
I am from the mind that has been refreshed.
I am from the rain that drips.
I am from the pain that has been twisted.
I am from make-believe games in summer – spraying water, swimsuits and mothers defeated by noodle tubes. I am from three lost houses, the sandy beach and the gentle waves whose sounds rocked me to sleep.
I am from strawberries and key lime pie.
I am from Bishop Grey and Morgan’s Raiders.
Crossed border with the passport. Came to Canada to study. Toronto is too cold, compared to my hometown. Wish more summer times for Toronto. Mark, my friend, thank you for helping me to settle here. Without him, I couldn’t have done anything. Wish everything gonna be well. No war in my hometown.I am from the what’d you burn now’s and the shut ups!
From leave you alone! And you okay?
I am from morning slokams, for I am already there.
Locked in the closet is my photo album filled with childhood pictures and lost memories that I struggle to remember. I am from those snapshots – placed by my mother in their binding. Kept safe for the future me.
My whole life I’ve been crossing borders, straddling boundaries, sitting on fences. None of these phrases quite work, quite capture this hazy gray feeling of unease, of misshapenness of sticking out like a sore thumb, I’ve felt since childhood.
I was born at St Francis Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma and my family still lives in the same house we’ve had since I was a year old. About two miles away from the room in which I crossed my first border. And yet Tulsa doesn’t feel like home, hasn’t in a long time.
I was one of a family of liberal blue dots in a blood-red state. A lone atheist in a Lutheran church. An angry little girl in a world that didn’t want to hear what I had to say. What I wanted to scream. I was part of this world so long as I kept my mouth shut, kept part of myself shut off. And yet… I am still drawn to being a transgressor. Crossing. Interloping.
I entered a public high school at age 14 after nine years of homeschooling and corresponding social isolation. I tripped and fell into an evangelical student group despite my atheism, and those people are still among my closest friends.
I am an American, went to Canada for Grad school.
I have crossed many borders as well as drawn them. The borders I am most proud of crossing are the ones I’ve made myself. Crossing them free me from the limits, I’ve put on myself. These borders restrict me from who I want to be. And if I let them control me, it will effect who I become.
I am from my parents. I am from this world. I am from Mississauga.
I am from a community of people who are roaming.
A moment I crossed a border when our family moved from Waterloo to Mississauga. In Waterloo, having brown skin in the 90s was difficult because there were only a handful of us. In Mississauga, I found a more diverse classroom, where I did not feel as left out or singled out.
I am from the many borders I have crossed.
I am from the adventurous and the brave.
I am from myself.
A want to be constantly surrounded by art and the different ideas and interpretations that are sparked form being in such a creative space.
I believe in community and sharing our stories and passions with one another.
My house in Africa. My house. I remember nothing. I have memory loss.
I am not much of a traveller, although when I do, I get anxious. About how things will go after I cross and what I’ll get out of this voyage. The journey always is worth the anxiety. I hope to be a filmmaker that documents my travels and crossings and stories.
I am a Chinese born in Canada, a life filled with borders. At the age of 2, I crossed my first international border, never looking back. My parents claim they wanted a better life but they reminisce about their home country as if all their progress here meant nothing.
I hope for a borderless future – one that my parents and I would love to see.
I am Canadian Chinese, my parents are immigrants from China. They were crying out there for us. We don’t visit too often but when we do, it is a trip to remember. The narrow streets, the food, the sights and especially the family we have in China make the lovely country feel even more like home to me. Chinese culture is very important and special to me and I embrace it fully. I will never forget my roots, where I come from.
The place I feel at home — is the Philippines. I remember all the love and closeness of family. Though it wasn’t comfortable it was enjoyable.
I believe in Canada’s vision for diversity. I support it.
This was the biggest moment of my life. It all came down to these 10 seconds. Will I survive? The light turned to a walking sign and I ran. The light turned red, I wasn’t at the other side yet! 5, 4, 3, 2…I made it. I survived with sweat dripping down my face. My heart beating so fast, too fast. I am still alive on the other side.
I came here to visit and stayed 40+ years. I am content.
Sometimes we create our own borders of resistance.
I come from a family of immigrants. Border crossings is what allowed me to be who I am today. I am fortunate to say that I am happy, healthy and need for nothing.
I am from a line of fighters, traders, witch doctors and artists.
I am from both the east and the west.
I am from Mississauga, a city in construction.
I am from nothing, yet I am from everything. A part of the whole, yet infinitely separate.
I am from Shea butter, from jumbo and minarets. I am from the 4:40 AM morning prayer. I am from mango juice and biryani. I am from ammi and abu and bhaiyya and khaula.
I am from a great sense of belief. From “always work hard” and “believe in yourself”.
I am from love and peace.
I am from Humber and Credit Rivers. From the story of Mississauga.
This summer was very fun. I first went to UAE for a week to meet my dad. Then we went by Air Blue to Pakistan to visit my grandparents. We did a lot of stuff like celebrating my grandpa’s 79th birthday. His birthday was on September 4th, so we had to leave on the same day. At 7:00PM it was time to say goodbye, so we did. It was a long flight. It was 14 hours, the flight. When we came back I was sad.
Today, I am coming from Mississauga, formerly having grown up in Iowa. The place I feel at home is in Nature, breathing fresh air, seeing escapements, summits, experiencing wild life. I remember when I first came to Canada and first noticed the diversity of Canadians through the skin colours. Such a colourful place, Canada.
I believe in complete acceptance of an individual. Having Canada as a mosaic, rather than a melting pot.
I believe in hope and love. My name is Cathy, I am from Mississauga.
My parents came from Vietnam. They’ve escaped war and migrated here during the Vietnam War. They’ve travelled long miles and hours on boats and planes. They have overcome many obstacles. I am thankful for Mississauga, the city where I can call “home”.
Today I am coming from Buffalo, NYC. The place I feel at home is Buffalo with Marisela. I remember leaving home and feeling like a portion of me needed to get away and explore. Because life is too short to be stuck in one place.
Family is everything but one must sacrifice certain things to become other.
Life is so much more than what we think!
To me border crossing means overcoming obstacles. These obstacles can relate to any aspect of life and community. The challenges we face everyday can be expressed and known through art. Art gives everyone a voice and means of self-expression.
Border crossings reorder things. I believe in crossing borders in love!
As a visitor to Mississauga, I have happy memories of border crossings. For me after visiting so may cities at some point of time in my life, Mississauga is surely the very best. People so kind, cheerful, civil, courteous and always giving. God bless this great city.
I believe in mindfulness, presence and the power of community, no matter which side of the border.
My story when I came here in Canada When I land here I don’t like. After 2 or 3 years I like here. Now I want to live here. My kids also happy here in school. They have good friends and teachers. Sometimes I miss my family. But I don’t want to live there. There is nothing for me and my kids. Now I am happy in Mississauga. I want to be safe. Be happy.
Today I am coming from Mississauga, originally from Karachi, Pakistan. The place I feel at home is where there is a strong Muslim presence. I remember going to Pakistan and hearing the azan and feeling like I was around people like myself. I believe in Islam and that Islam makes room for everyone. I believe that where you/we/people feel peace they live happily. When we crossed the border and came to Canada, I was worried. Worried about cultural and halal food. But when I saw many halal restaurants in Mississauga, I relaxed. People are very understanding. They respect each other and are kind. There are so many different cultures, communities here.
In Mississauga, I am free, peaceful and happy. There are so many different opportunities on this side of the border. I have a lot of friends who have also crossed the borders.
I am a boy. Not a toy. I’ve been to Pakistan. I’ve been to Afghanistan. I am in a good sensation. I don’t need no imitation. I’ve been in a speech selection, my art’s in the exhibition. I have good education. I have a stamp collection. Ma life’s a competition. I look at the mirror, see ma reflection. And I see nothing but perfection. My life is awesome (at times).
My spirit is in traquility – centred with a circle of influence. What lies within, what lies without? Through synergy emancipation is potentiality. Survival for our future generations? Well being of future generations? Moral and ethical responsibility.
My favourite feeling is the joy & pleasure & ecstasy when I create or write or when travel and cross borders.
My spirit is in my home, in my cats, in books and in Mississauga.
Speaking my truths sounds like wee, low, small voice of one — though hopefully reaches some.
I first migrated from Pakistan to America. There I had a bad time. Because there my mother got misdiagnosed and had the wrong medicine. She suffered a lot till death, so it was a very bad time for me. After that I migrated to Canada. Here too I had first good time and then bad. Because of my family problems but I faced all kinds of problems bravely. In the beginning I became very depressed and isolated. Then I moved to Mississauga and feel healed. I am now social and keep myself busy and am very happy.
Crossing borders is like art. It is all about art. And I love to draw. Drawing lines. Like anime and Manga.
I left my homeland for work and as I came into the US, everything looked different: food, language, work home. It took some adjusting and soon started seeing similarity in everything. It opened up my outlook and thinking, it was a great journey. After a few years we decided to move to Canada and felt very welcoming. Mississauga was the most multi-cultural community I have experienced. My kids growing up and the local school and outlook amplified mine. I feel more connected to the communities here. I still miss my homeland after 30 years but Mississauga is home now. I am proud to be a Mississaugan and what it has offered me.
Interested in being interviewed and having your story told?
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The Art Gallery of Mississauga is a guest upon the Treaty Lands and Territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit. This ancient land is part of the Treaty Lands and Territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit and the traditional homelands of the Anishinaabe, Wendat, and Haudenosaunee nations.