Humans of Toronto- A Grade 11 English Assignment

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By Natty Birshtein

“My family immigrated to Canada when I was 11 years old. Trying to fit in socially in school was a struggle. Kids made fun of my accent and my funny looking clothes. I remember auditioning for a school musical with a Hebrew song (because I did not know any English songs) and seeing so many of my peers laugh at me. I remember a kid once asking me what my father did for a living and when I answered “doctor” he snickered and said “yeah, a falafel doctor”. I was always very close with my parents and my brother and this helped. I always knew that no matter how bad things got at school, I had a loving and supportive family to come home to. My family left Toronto to build a new life in the United States when I was 14 years old. We moved from Toronto to New York, from New York to Maine and from Maine to Cleveland, with the result that I switched four high schools before graduating. Each switch was a new struggle trying to fit in with a new peer group in a new city. Education was key to my parents and they always pushed me to focus on my studies because they wanted me to grow up to be an independent woman who could survive on my own under any and all circumstances. So, I studied and I studied and I studied. Eventually, I graduated as a lawyer from the University of Toronto and years later after a lot of hard work became a partner with a prestigious Toronto downtown firm. Today, I teach my kids the lessons my parents taught me and hope for the best”. #immigrantstory #womanempowerment #family