Growing up amid the civil war, Jadranka grasped how tough life is. While typical children would play by trading stickers, Jadranka reminisced how she and her friends were trading bullet shells for fun.
As citizens of a country who went through war for four years, their educational opportunities are strictly limited. But it was also this moment where Jadranka took the opportunity to learn English, proving how bitter moments of our lives are still meant for a good purpose if we stay optimistic.
Jadranka shared that her move to Canada was a way for her to escape the country that she knew was not excellent for raising a family. As a parent who wanted a safer space for her growing kids, Jadranka bravely entered a new environment that forced her to change for the better.
Currently, Jadranka is part of a blog called The Practical Immigrant, where she and her partner, Sylvia, a fellow emigrant, impart their knowledge on moving to Canada.
Hello, I am Jadranka. I was born and raised in Bosnia, former Yugoslavia. Although my “Business” will always be a huge part of who I am, I identify strongly with my new home and nationality. Thus, I always say that I am a proud Canadian. My outlook on immigration is cheerful and happy. But then again, that is my outlook on life in general. I love life, and I love people. With my friend Sylvia, I write a blog about the practicality of life in Canada called The Practical Immigrant. We share our stories and experiences about NOT so Instagram worthy moments of immigration: job search, money struggles, nostalgia, language barriers. We strongly believe in the balance between reality and expectations, as well as the coexistence of cultural diversity and cultural adaptability. But more than anything, we believe in sharing, and that is how our blog came to be.
“There’s a big part of you that changes when you move and assimilate into a new country.”
I'm now in my 20s. So I go to this new country and, and they're all like fascinated by these sad stories. Why did you guys read sad stories? And there's like, no, but it's just to feel human emotion. But then I realized, you know why? Because there's nothing sad happening around them. They've not constantly reminded of sadness around them, people have decent life. So they look for these books, see what it looks like that lives you know, in sadness, and I see it everywhere around me. Every time I go outside of my house, I don't want to be reminded again. And I was like, Okay, so this is it. This is what life looks like on the outside. I got to get the hell out of there and never come back, well I do come back. But that was the plan.
Daniel De Biasi 0:50
Hi, everyone, and welcome to episode number 47 of the Emigrant's Life Podcast, where we share stories of people who left their country to chase a better life. And from these stories, you can find ideas, resources, and motivation to do the same. I'm Daniel De Biasi. And my guest this week, Jadranka is originally from Bosnia, and now lives in Canada. And if you remember the episode with Borjana, a while ago, between 1992 and 1995, Bosnia went through a civil war, and Jadranka was only 10 when it started. In this episode, we will cover her life in Bosnia, how she managed to move to Canada. All of that with quite a bitter life. When I started with this podcast, I wanted to share people's stories to inspire the listeners to move to a new country. And maybe that's you. One thing I wasn't expecting was to find out how much these stories opened my mind. It made me see my life under a different lens. What I mean by that is that when I tell other people that I left Italy to move to the other side of the world without knowing a word of English, they say that I was brave. But after listening to stories like Jadranka, I realized that, my choice was actually pretty easy. All I had to do was to apply for a visa and buy a flight ticket. I'm diminishing a little bit here, but that was pretty much it. If you're listening to this podcast, you probably are in a similar situation. But some people have to go through a much more difficult process. For some people out there. leaving their country is simply not an option just because of the country they were boarding. I hope that if you're uncertain where they're making, jump into the unknown and move abroad, these stories can give you the motivation to pull the plug. Moving to a new country is not easy, don't get me wrong. But as you will hear here, it could be much more challenging. Before moving to my conversation with Jadranka, make sure to subscribe wherever you listen to your podcasts so you don't miss any episodes. And if you like what we do, please consider leaving a review on Apple podcasts or Pod Chaser. Sometimes we need some extra motivation, you know, and your review help a lot. So thank you very much for leaving your reviews. I very much appreciate it. And now without further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Jadranka.
Hi Jadranka, thanks for being on the show.
Hey, Daniel, how are you?
It's a pleasure to be here.
Daniel De Biasi 3:00
Thank you for taking time to share your story on my podcast. Let's start from the beginning. So where are you originally from?
I am from Bosnia. It's a country in Southeast Europe, very close to your homeland, Italy, part of for those people that are listening around the globe that haven't heard of Boston because it is a very tiny country. It's part of what used to be called Yugoslavia. So one small country that used to be part of that big bloc of countries. And I now live in Canada, Toronto.
Daniel De Biasi 3:33
Toronto, Canada. Yeah, same country, the other side.
East Coast versus West Coast. coast to coast.
Daniel De Biasi 3:44
And what age did you leave your country?
So I moved to Canada when I was 30 years old. Exactly. So for the first 30 years, those detrimental years I actually lived in Bosnia. Yeah. And I never lived anywhere else outside of Bosnia. And we have through most of my growing up childhood and young adult life, very limited in terms of how much and where we can travel. It has changed recently. And we do travel now like from Bosnia, people do travel around Europe without visas for a short period of time for tourist visits. But for the most of the time that I lived in Bosnia, my life was mainly focused on Bosnia and some of the regional countries and I have never lived outside of there until I moved to Canada, which was when I was 30 years old.
Daniel De Biasi 4:34
Okay, because I interview another person on this podcast. He was also from Bosnia, Borjana. And she really had a hard time leaving the country like he said, it was really really hard to live there, Bosnia back at the time and so I guess even you been through the Civil War in, in Bosnia?
Yes. So the way it went is like we were lived in Yugoslavia when I was about 10 years old, the Civil War started over the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. And the six countries that were part of the the Yugoslavia have decided to split that. But some of them and particularly Bostnia, had a difficult time processing that because we were sort of a country that was a mix of people from all of these other Yugoslavian countries, right. So we have 3 groups, 3 ethnical groups within the country. And then we had a civil war because it couldn't get to an agreement as to what are we going to do with the country, with the territory? How are we going to split it up? So for years, we were in a full blown Civil War. And then after those four years, I want to say pretty sure, for five, six years, up to 10 years, it was just recovery, because, and I don't know how hard it is for people to understand. But being and I, I even feel distant from these type of things right now. So if I watch on TV, some sort of conflicts within other countries, and you see the physical damage and the buildings, you see what's happening, but I don't think that anyone can understand how big of a damage that is, and how extensive the consequences are. Because you can just fix it, it doesn't just oh, okay, let's just patch up these buildings and build them. And this like two years, and it's done, it takes many, many years to recover for both economically, and then also just to lose, what are the reminders of the Civil War in the country, it's really bad. So I was very young, but I remember all of it. And what it really means for for a person living over there is that you kind of continue to live through the hardships of the war, even after the war has ended, right. And so when you want to study, your options are limited, because half of the you know, the buildings of the universities and faculties have been ruined. So right after the war, you would only have certain options. So whatever they managed to, you know, patch up and fix and put in place. And then they focus only on certain occupations to make sure that as you're coming out of this, we have people to do certain jobs, and was mostly like, medicine, economics, law. So pick and choose from one of those maybe, like electrical engineering or something like that. And that's just, you know, those are the four options to choose, because we have nothing else for you.
Daniel De Biasi 7:21
Which was what the country needed at the time, I guess?
Yes, yes. And they were doing well, now you have more obviously, but recovering. So a lot of restrictions. And then one of the biggest restrictions really was just travel because everybody knows, once you come out of that it's bad and that people are trying to get out of the country, they're trying to, you know, even find illegal ways to get out of there and just find a better place to live, which sort of puts the country on, you know, Red List. And people are screening people from there. And then they won't just give you visas easily to come and go somewhere. As a refugee during the war, who was able to get away that went through the refugee process, that's one thing, but once it actually recovers and heals, they really screen us. So to get a visa, like I remember, even Italy, like I wanted to travel to Italy, I had enough money to travel to Italy, but I did not have at the time when I wanted to, when I wanted to apply for visa proof to show that I'm not going to stay in Italy, because I just happened to have money from this strange, like part time job that I did, and had no proof of income for that period. And I was going back to school in September and to them, school meant nothing. So for me to apply for visa in Italian embassy, I would just waste my 100 for example, equivalent of euros, 100 euros today to apply for the visa, they wouldn't even give it to me because regardless of the money and my capacity to travel, they would just be suspicious of me trying to stay in Italy or any other country, right? So I wouldn't even go on a Travel Visa, if you would get in you would hit some pretty big barriers. So that's how it went. And then if you want to move really live somewhere, Oh my god, it's like crazy. They don't let you go anywhere. And to apply and to get all the paperwork that you need. It's a pretty big nightmare. And a lot of people out there we're trying their best to go everywhere in the world. They're trying their best, but it's really, really hard. And we kind of went through the similar process me, my husband and my son at the time, but I was very focused on it. I knew what I want. I did a lot of paperwork, but I knew that I'm not going to give up and I just kept that- they kept adding what they need from us and how much more points do we need and they kept like trying to get those points and get everything and I eventually managed escape. It's a little bit better. I just used the word escape.
It is escape because that's how it feels like you feel like you're trapped and you have to get out. So imagine Corona right now with everyone here trying to travel somewhere and they keep saying like you have a hotel quarantine you have 14 days you have to stay in your house if you leave the country and come back, etc, etc. So imagine living that for like 10, 15 years. You don't have a hotel quarantine. They have so many barriers when it comes to leaving We were just lucky that the region, the lower region, the former Yugoslavia would let us visit. So we had a place to go and have a peaceful sea vacation like to go to Montenegro or like Croatia, later on, or you would be able to, you know, go to skiing to the nearby mountains, which are part of the region. So that opened up but if it wasn't for that everybody would go crazy. Because, no, you cannot leave. As you wish, when you wish to visit, whoever visit whoever you wish. Yeah.
Daniel De Biasi 10:28
Because Bosnia is as like, as you said is a tiny country. It's not even on the sea size. So like a being stuck in a country that small, probably not a lot to do and not many places to go on holiday for for 15 years. That will be drive, drive completely people crazy.
Yes, yes. And then also, you just add on top of that, just going back to the living in Bosnia is or any country really I know, this, I don't think it just applies to Bosnia, but anywhere where there was some sort of internal conflict, the traumas and the events of that internal conflict lasts for a very, very long time, and you can feel it and we're all back to normal. All of these three ethnical groups that were in war live together, right now, I never me as a child, and adult, I've never seen any of them differently than myself, like, I would treat everyone the same way. However, there's groups and people over there that are just still struggling with the concept that we're going back to living together. And there's still a lot of hate. They still have stories about what has happened and a lot has happened, some of it pretty severe in terms of violence, and you just can't just forget it, right? So on top of that, you have this internal conflict that's there that just won't let it go. And you keep reliving it through stories, you keep reliving out through the resent of the people. And then on top of that, you can't go anywhere, I'm very glad that they can now and I think it changed, maybe I want to say six years ago or so it changed that. So that obviously the citizens of Bosnia can visit European countries for the just travel and visitation purposes. And it really even changed the people you know, to be able to see the world outside of your country, and now sort of your, you know, regional country the same as Bosnia, and to see different perspectives that helps with healing that was needed. So the longer you keep the people close up in that space, geographical space, the longer it takes for them to heal, but one day, I don't know go and see other people living in like, even if you go to Switzerland, or if you go to Germany, and and you see all these people living together, not all of them are technically Germans, Germans, but they tolerate each other, they're completely the same, it has nothing to do, no doesn't mean that they're going to go into war. Because there's different ethnical groups in Germany. It's not, that's not how it works. It helps people heal, it helps people see a perspective of different perspectives. So I think it's very, very important. But unfortunately, when we were there, that was not possible, which made it a priority to try and find a way to get out of there at the time.
Daniel De Biasi 13:03
Yeah, but even just taking a break after a war as it is over and everything needs to be rebuilt. And if you can afford it, you can if you can do it, even like getting out of the situation just to have a moment just to relax, enjoy life, even just something like that was impossible even just.
Yeah, no, it wasn't impossible, entirely. It was just very difficult for most groups of people, right? So if you have a really good job, if you're extremely wealthy, you would be able to leave and come back, right? It's not for anyone, but for the huge majority of people like middle class, it was really very hard to get out and travel outside of the country because of the bureaucratic barriers that you have to go through to be able to go and visit somewhere in the world, right?
Daniel De Biasi 13:47
Which those people were the people who probably needed the vacation the most.
Yes, exactly! True true.
Daniel De Biasi 13:55
And, how old are you when the civil war started?
I was 10 years old.
Daniel De Biasi 14:00
Oh, wow. You're really young.
Yes, yes. So 10 to 14, I actually lived with short breaks of maybe sometimes a week or two or I think on one occasion a month where we had to leave the city, the town that I lived in and spend you know, a couple of weeks with relatives in Serbia. Other than that, we have spent most of our time in the Bosnia during the war and it was very unusual to grow up even all of this right now happening reminds me of that but it was a unusual childhood. It's a lot of like, go outside and play and then come back inside go into the basement because there's gonna be bombing and or just as playing and then there's like gunshots, not sounds of gunshots, but actually seeing bullets like shooting in the grass next to you while you're playing outside with your friends, right? Like being able to see tanks like going up and down your street all the time. It's so noisy by the way that is very noisy, to listen and then I don't know we used to collect the bullets, like the bullet shells is it called the shells like when you the bullet is that I have already been fired. And then we used to collect them. And then in our rooms we have like every child that I knew in my neighborhood had like a display of the bullet shells that we collected. And then you know, you can find the big ones from sometimes, and then it goes all the way to the smallest one. And then you learn like from which type of a gun they're coming from. And then we trade if we have, like people do with stickers. That was our childhood, like pretty much like I had a lot of like, grenades blowing up in my backyard, like I have a big backyard around the house, my family home, and they would just blow up and there was this huge hole in the ground. And then they wouldn't let us go like for a little bit, and then they would go and check it out. And then try to find the little shreds of the big grenade that exploded and then collect that as well because he was like nice and shiny. And then who would get more. But that I was very fortunate that despite all of this happening for four years, none of my immediate family members got killed. So I was spared that trauma luckily, not a lot of people can say that. But I was just lucky enough that none of my immediate family members, the people that I was surrounded with got killed during the war. One of my uncles died in the first two years of the war, but he was mostly close with my dad, and he was the one who felt most that loss. But for us, like people that were our core that lived with us and around us, they've all managed to survive the war, which is kind of when you think about the way we lived, those were miraculous. But as a child, you don't really feel a lot of that. And it's not as dramatic, because I guess your brain protects you from these things, you don't feel the stress that adults feel. And you just sort of go for a day for a day, we didn't go to school all the time. Occasionally, they would sign like a peace, the word escapes me now. But when you like sign that there's not going to be any fights with for the next for example, month, between the conflict sides, and then we would get a chance to go to school during that time. And then they would open up schools and the teacher will get called back into civil service. And then we would go and try to you know, sprint through the whole grade in like a month and a half, then they would actually give us like final grades and everything. So a year worth of schooling would be packed up in a month and a half. So whatever they can give us and yeah, it was unusual to say the least very, very unusual to watch a lot of movies like they take us out maybe once a week or twice per week to the town center to video store. And then you can rent videos, whatever they have, pretty much I had the same thing that they had when the war started when the war started. So just like grab movies, and then watch and rewatch them so many times. And especially during the times when we really had to stay inside and when they wouldn't let us out, watch a lot of movies, played a lot of games, indoor and just waited for it to be over. And they finally did when we were four years later. Yeah, yeah. And that's-
Daniel De Biasi 18:12
That's absolutely crazy. For me, it's like even crazy, like thinking like with the mentality of the 2021 is crazy like us. There's a war and there's a civil war out there. And the parents who send kids playing outside even just damn, it's just crazy that kids survive. Now, parents are scared to to let the other kids go out on a bicycle without a helmet.
Even if you ask my mom and I did ask her like, how did you like? And she said, even when she goes back thinking about it from this perspective. Now she doesn't know what she was thinking, right?
She's like, I have no idea what the hell was I thinking but then she said, the only explanation that I can come up with is that the shock of the events and the daily life for her as an adult like really blocked her rational thinking. She said, if anything like that should ever happen again. For example, even from this perspective, she's now a grandmother, right? I will like pack up and leave even without the kids, I would never sit through something like that. She said that's one thing. And the second thing is that they never really knew it's going to last that long. Because same as like with social media and news at that time. Like the local authorities or local news will keep saying oh, we just need one more month and everything's gonna get cleared out. And then they would say with just two more weeks, and we're almost there, this whole thing is going to stop. And that's how they push them through four full years but constantly saying we just have a little bit more and then this whole thing is going to be that, right? And then also like this is pretty extreme. The things that are happening around You're so extreme that you are constantly thinking in survival mode, and at that point, you don't really make the regular parent decisions. You make normally. I remember that she would send us to spend a whole day at like, during summer to spend whole day at, like a riverside beach. But this river, you should see this river like nobody would send their child to swim in that river without adult supervision. She would like it would be 20 children and one adult taking care of us like this. It's a big river. And it's pretty like has a pretty quick stream of water, and has been famous for you killing people who were not experienced swimmer. That's where we learn how to swim. That's what they would send us because it was closer to the border with Serbia, which was considered to be a safer place to be because the conflict thing parties would never like shoot that close to any of the borders surrounding Bosnia because they wouldn't want to provoke other countries, right. And then they would just send us and we would spend like a full day I'm talking like, I'm here at 10am, I come back 6pm like with my brother, 20 of us with one adult. And she funny enough, that lady, she didn't know how to swim, the one adult that was taking care of us didn't know how to swim. It's just, I mean, crazy. And she would do that. And that would be perfectly normal. And we lived through that. And I don't know, it's just I think it's the shock And I think even when the pandemic started, I talked to one of my one of my daughter's teachers. And I was saying, I just hope that this is not like the war and he says, What do you mean? Like the war where they keep seeing just two more weeks, and then we get the cases of their stories, then it goes like 10 years. Because I don't know if I can handle it, right? It's just a little bit too much. And that's how it happened. But that's how we grew up. And that was very unusual. But then for people that go through these things, these people they want to and same for me. They just want to, you know, forget it. And they want to get out of there, get out of that cycle and try and find better life for their children. So naturally, me and my husband decided to do the same thing. There's still people obviously lot of people living over there. Not everyone feels that way. But some of us just weren't done with that, like done with the whole story and wanted to change scene for ourselves and our children to make sure that they not go through the same thing.
Daniel De Biasi 18:49
How long did it take for you to leave Bosnia?
The whole process I think ended up being if I remember correctly, probably like maybe two and a half, three years. And it was mostly because at that time, they already had something similar to the Express Entry where it was like, guaranteed 18 months processing all of your paperwork. However, I was sort of counting in moments where I was trying to apply and I would have just enough points. And they would just overnight change the list of occupation that they're accepting it and I would get kicked out of there. And then I would have to wait for another like a year to get enough points for my part time job that I was doing at the time on the side something that I was doing, because then I need more years of experience. And then when I got that, like you just have to like grab the papers submitted because God knows they can change it again. So I think when counting that in, I want to say I can't remember maybe two and a half, three years altogether. And then but once I actually submitted the paperwork to come to Canada to the moment we got the passports in our visa was just maybe 14 months all together. So it wasn't too bad.
Daniel De Biasi 23:21
Okay, yeah no. Yeah, exactly. I can think it took me 20 months for me to get my permanent residency from the time I applied to the time that got I got an answer. So 14 months is-
Yes, I think I feel that they will do it. Like if you're here in Canada, sometimes I think that they stretch it out even longer. That's how I feel. But at that time, they had timelines, I remember that it couldn't be more than 18 months. So it was less than 18 months, there was a small thing that we had to get like additional paper that they asked me to do so that I think that they were aiming for a year that time but we have a little bit over a year because some additional paperwork that was needed. But it was pretty smooth. Oh I can I, to this day I remember like getting that email and knowing that I have to open it and not being ready to see what it says in there. Like are they inviting me for the medical exam or they're not inviting me because that pretty much means you didn't get in. And seeing that, like I just I couldn't open it. I remember that moment sitting in my chair. It was my office at work and I can't open my eyes. I don't want to see it and then all of a sudden I see like, you know, you have to go do your medical, I screamed. I was so happy. Oh my god the whole like my colleagues. Everybody's like, what's going on? What's happened? At that time, it wasn't a popular thing because we have already like rebuilt good chunks of Bosnia. I was doing really well. I had a really good job. My husband had an excellent job. We were like participating in our community and community work and we were just, you know, good, productive part of our community at that time and we live the good quality lives so people, employers, everybody around us didn't really want us to go. So nobody was happy other than me. Because you really put, you know, like, you really put so much effort into it and you know, you have to go you know that this is your path, but it really depends on this one person that's going over your papers somewhere in office I believe at that time maybe in Nova Scotia or in Vienna embassy or whatever it was, I can't remember but it all comes out to this person and it really means everything to you. So I think that that's everybody who's gone through it knows what it feels like right? To get that famous notification.
Daniel De Biasi 25:40
Why did you decide to leave Bosnia after 15 years of their back- you went through the war even recover pretty much, what was the tipping point that you said I want to get out of here?
I've been- I left to I was on a short trip to visit my family in UK and you know even before that, you know sometimes even as a child I knew that I cannot carry and I I read a lot about it right? Other people talk about it as well there's I think they call it like DNA trauma like you carry it for too long you get it on over to your children linked to genetics you they just everybody keeps carrying this trauma that has happened because of some to me very silly and superficial reasons like what are we talking about? We had a war over a piece of territory I couldn't care less about a piece of land like I honestly like geographical regions mean nothing to me other than the beauty of it. I mean, if it's pretty, it's pretty but what else do I have from it? Yes, I was born there. Yes, that's where my family's yes that's where they have property and that's where I grew up but it's just a geographical region and you know to fight over it, go through the Civil War and lose so many people like so many people died and that just died, but some of them died in brutal ways. So much of it over nothing right?
Daniel De Biasi 26:59
And destroy your history.
Everything, like I couldn't even care. Like even the history, I don't care. But you know, why over a piece of land, are we having this huge dispute? Like who wants a ticket? Man, I couldn't care less. So just go somewhere else.
Daniel De Biasi 27:13
But I mean, if you fighting for your own country, you should care about your history, your whatever your foundation, and you destroy them, like by bombarding them. So what's the freaking point that they never understood. Moreso, I'm totally with you about that.
Yes, no, I'm pacifist. I don't I don't even know like if it's it, and also, you know, what, the, there's the actual historical monuments in our country, that completely ruined during the civil war that we're not even doing during the Second World War, right. They have chewed as witnesses to some really bad times, and then have been there for centuries. And then we ourselves people living there, destroy them during the war. And one of them and I share that on my Instagram once it's when I visited the last time one of them is this famous bridge over a river called net it's by in Bosnia in the city called Mossad. And it was built, I don't know, like maybe in the a long time ago, built beautiful during the Turkish occupation, the Ontario Empire occupation, they blew it up during Civil War. It was protected like almost like UNESCO protected whatever was the relevant at the time before war, they blew it up. They rebuilt the bridge. So after the war, right? The these international organizations that put in money to save this monument, they have rebuilt the bridge connected, it's a beautiful of a town. But the bridge connects two sides of the town. Each side has a different ethnical group living in it. So we went through the war four years. So many people died, we blew up the freaking bridge, the historical monument, then somebody came built it for us, there's still two ethnical groups living on different sides of that river connected with the bridge. And there are children living on one side that have never crossed the bridge and then on the other side. It's the same country is the same town, everything is the same but we still have kids that were born on one side and the never crossed over the bridge wemt into it. It's absurd. And it just carries over like what do these kids don't even know they? They were not even born during war. They don't even know like, how do they know that they're not supposed to go there? How did they know that the other side is not their place? There's so many tourists over there, like people from all over the world are still and they keep going, you know, from one side to the other. Whereas people that live there, do not cross there. So it's absurd on every freaking level. But it has happened. But in order for me to avoid that ever happening again, I just I knew that we needed to leave and I knew that we needed to find a more peaceful solution and in a way, I always saw Canada like that, right? It was like Switzerland of the American continent, the South and the North. And that was my like, that's what drew me to apply. But the tipping point, if you asked about a tipping point I when I went to visit, oh my God, I hate, I went to visit my family that lives in UK, I was working full time finally had all these like things that I can get the visa for- I snatched the visa, they were so confident that we can get it they were pretty stable over there inviting me guaranteeing for me so I was supposed to go and visit them. The moment I stepped on the like UK soil instead of interacting with people I saw and that was like, you know, venturing outside of the Bosnia, I just saw this new world I saw these people, I would approach people, they will start conversations about books. Like if you read that book, oh my god, I got to read this book, she read this book to read in English, I couldn't get the book for you, you have to read it. It's such a beautiful book, you know, it's it's just changed my life. And then like I would sit like with their friends and have coffee or tea or whatever. And they would be like, I just want to you know, I just want to get a boat and you know, travel like from the country to country like a Mediterranean, we want to spend our summers like that we need a big sailing boat. And we made plans. And I think next year we can get it. And that's how we're going to spend our summer and then I really want to learn French or have to learn French. Those would be the topics that people talk about. You go out and, people are just like, and then they read like sad books, and they would give me sad books. And I would ask them like, why do you read books? Who want to read that book? I don't want any sad book. Okay, I was a pretty avid pretty avid reader. I started reading when I was very young. And I've read a lot of like, really, really heavy books. And sadly, some can never read a book. But this I'm now in my 20s so I go to this new country and and they're all like, fascinated by these sad stories. Why do you guys read sad stories? And there's like, no, but it's just the feel human emotion. But then I realized, you know why? Because there's nothing sad happening around there. Right? They're not constantly reminded of sadness around them, people have decent life. So they look for these books, see what it looks like that lives, you know, in sadness, and I see it everywhere around me, every time I go outside of my house, I don't want to be reminded again, through the book that I'm reading during, you know, my leisure time. And it just I was like, Okay, so this is it. This is what life looks like on the outside. I got to get the hell out of there and never come back. Well, I do come back. But that was the plan. I do go to visit my family, right? But that was the tipping point back to your question. That was that was a very long answer. But that was the tipping point that really switched me to, okay, we have to solve this. And we have to get out of here because people outside over there think about, you know, you know what type of a drink and oh my god discussions what food they like, I didn't know people can have 45 minute long discussions about what they like in their meatballs, like, I couldn't care less just give me food to eat. But it's the life, it's the lifestyle that's so relaxing, that mean really problem. And in this day, there's that commercial in Canada, where the two guys are sitting and talking about whether I think cheeseburger should have bacon in it or not. And we watched that, and that's always a reminder for me, like that's always like that it's a McDonald's commercial. But two Canadian fellows talking about problems of the that they have. them. Yes. And that's whether they should have bacon in it or not. And I'm just like, this is not. It's crazy, but I wanted that my I want it and I'm starting now slowly. I'm really proud to say that I'm starting to have those discussions myself where I can like sit actually, with people over dinner and talk about what type of seasoning I like my food. And it doesn't blow my mind. So I love it, I'm making progress.
Daniel De Biasi 34:03
And they're fighting over if a burger needs to have cheese or not.
So even like, even at work these days, and people would say like what for I would come like to work and I would look at the and they will see what happens. Like I'm sorry, I'm late, but I had to get out of two train. And they said, why'd you get out of trade because there was strange people on the train and they say so every time there's a strange person in the train, you just get out anyone who acts in any way suspicious I just on the next stop, I get out and I wait for the next train. Sometimes I would even get off the whole subway right go out on the street, walk another block to the next subway and get to the next train just to make sure. And to me that was normal behavior. There was like it wasn't a problem that I was laid at that time at all like the work, my work that I do has really nothing to do. They just had a question. Like it wasn't like, oh, why are you late, but more like what's going on? You usually come at this time. So I will tell them what I did. And they were like, Do you guys ever do that? And I said No, never. So what do you mean never? No, we don't I don't even look at the people on the subway, what do you mean you to look at the people at the subway, I go in and I scan every single person, I'm constantly looking for potential threats, like who can endanger me, so that I can avoid that situation? And that those are the you know, that you bring with you? And you're not even aware of that. And then that's stuff that I wanted to get rid of, right. And that's the status and UK was a huge trigger, and it's still one of my favorite countries in the world. If I could, if there was way through over there, I would probably move over there just because of how they opened my eyes to the world at that time, and how they made me like realize, I knew it was better, I just didn't know it was this good to step out of that, you know, constant rhetoric about the same thing, which in our case, in Bosnia was always the conflict that we had.
Daniel De Biasi 35:46
Okay, so was Canada the only option you had or was just the country, you wanted to go?
No. We could go Australia or Canada, now, I'm not much of a heat person. And it was too far to go to Australia. And so we decided for Canada. There were other options that were less permanent in terms of what you can do. So you can go and try different things without knowing whether or not that will result in you getting a permanent status in that country, putting my hands on the table, without me knowing that that's gonna be like a permanent status in my country. Now, to get that permanent status in that country, now, the ones that what I wanted to do, because that time already had a kid, one kid, I needed to be sure that whatever we're going, we're perfectly fine. 100% sure that we're gonna stay there. In terms of paperwork, we can change our minds, but I didn't want to be in a position where I have to think about, Oh, is this permanent or not? It had to be permanent. So in that sense, there were two permanent options. And that's Australia, where you can get the permanent residency before you actually even land there. And that, for me was Canada or Australia. And as I said, I always like Canada just meant, in a way, peace in a way just meant being neutral. That's what it meant to me like being neutral and I love that. And I look forward to it. As soon as I realize these are my options, and I knew right away, UK is gonna be a long shot almost impossible. And then once I picked Canada, and went after it, it was really interesting. But it wasn't like, Oh, I grew up believing I'm going to live in Canada, I never even considered that. And I didn't even think about it. But it turned out to be really good.
Daniel De Biasi 37:27
Very good choice. Yeah. So going to the UK was like it was impossible? It wasn't easy to get a permanent residency in the UK.
The only way at that time to go to UK, for us was to go on a tourist visa, and then try to find ways to stay, which would UK was a very long shot. So we never had I know the Italians often go there and because especially during the before the Brexit because they were part of European Union, there were different options. And even before they just treat different countries differently. But for us, that was pretty much the only way a majority of the people from my side of the world that live in UK got there during the war as refugees. And even for them, that was a challenge because even for refugees, they take you in, but they really find very efficient way to get you out. So only the best ones stay even when you come on refugees status in the UK. So they're really good at protecting themselves. And they never had an official immigration program that we could have applied for. So that was not an option. And as much as I love that theory it was I'm not a type of a person that would just go somewhere and try something right. And I had a kid at that time. So that even made it worse. And I wouldn't I wouldn't want that on my kid. So I only wanted the solutions and it had to be English speaking country. I preferred to go somewhere where it's English because it was easy for me to communicate in English at that time.
Daniel De Biasi 38:58
Oh, so you were pretty much fluent in English when you moved?
Oh, yeah, that was also one of the gifts of the war, I learned how to I taught myself how to speak English during war, because I was, we have a lot of time on our hands. And through watching so many movies, I realized that I'm picking it up. And then when they will let us go to libraries in schools, I would bring a bunch of textbooks from schools. And I just went through like all the lessons reading and you're trying to figure out what I could. And I when I was 11, I told my family I can speak English because I was so confident that I can speak and they will laugh. They taught I was making things up. Anyway, fast forward, we had the peace corpse command, you know how the Peace Corps come from all parts of the world. And they like I don't know from Netherlands from I think we might even have Italians that had Italians like that were part of that particular-
Daniel De Biasi 39:47
Peace Corps is only from the USA interview Rey, he moved to Mexico from the Peace Corps and he told me it was just the US did- you have to be from the US to be on the Peace Corps.
It could be that so there's different types. So we had Peace Corps we had United Nation and the United Nations has army I didn't even know until they came to Bosnia. So they would come and they would have white tanks instead of green ones with UN written on it, then there was s4, which specifically United States, and they were called s4s. There were different groups coming over the course of the time. And at that point, there were people who were speaking English that came in, I can't remember exactly which of those groups came in when I was still very young, like somehow halfway through the word. And then they came to the, to our town going around one of them was tring to ask somebody, something, I noticed that I approached them and said, In English, like, Is there anything that I can help you? He was like, do you speak English? At that time, you know, no one spoke English, right? Because we didn't have English in schools. They just started introducing it before war, we were former communist country, Russian, German, were taught in schools. They did not teach English in schools. And so no one, like it was very hard to find somebody to translate. And they came in and then like, before, you know, my parents were like, What did you just say to him? And I was like, Well, I'm talking to him. And then, like, the whole between the troops, like the word spread that there's this kid in this town, and she speaks English, and they would all come just to talk to somebody, right? And they would like, ask me things, we saw this, what does this mean? We saw that what does that mean, right? Because they would just walk around freely around the town, obviously, like in their vehicles or whatnot, they would come in, and then my parents, like, started running before the stand, because everybody would come over there, they would sell them like gum, gums and chocolates, whatever they can smuggle in the country. And then we made business out of it. It was very funny. I actually learned how to speak well, I taught myself how to speak English during when I was very young. And then I continued working on that obviously later to make it better and more proficient. And sometimes I feel like, at this time now that I'm living in Canada, that my English is really worse than it was before. And I don't know why that may be confusing. Maybe I'm growing getting old or whatnot or whatnot. But I still obviously have a lot of challenges. It's never going to be my mother tongue. But I learned how to speak pretty early and that was one of the gifts of the being extremely bored during war.
Daniel De Biasi 42:25
Why English? What was the reason you decided to go with English and not something else?
The movies. All the movies that they would let us the tape?
Daniel De Biasi 42:35
Yeah. Oh, they were all in English? They were not in, in your language?
Yeah, they were all American movies. Like from the video, every single one-
Daniel De Biasi 42:43
With subtitles for all the movies so there are subtiles. Yes. And then I would watch and rewatch because you get like three , what they're called? V or WHS or VHS, VHS tapes?
Daniel De Biasi 42:55
VHS. Yeah, VHS.
You know, those big tapes, VHS tapes, and we would get those tapes. And we'll get maybe three movies to watch. And we had the whole week. And they have a lot of times you watch each movie like five times. So try watching movie in any language for five times. And you'll notice how you're learning the language because it's the same movie over and over again. And this was like a very young, rested child's brain. And I picked it up and I just realized after a couple of movies, I was really aware, I understand. And I started like writing down words in my notebook. notebook that would be I would just write them down in my own language. But phonetically as it says in English, and I will write down the meaning. And then when I finished the movie, I would just read all the words one more time, repeat them out loud to make sure I memorize them. And that's how it started. But it was because all the movies were in English obviously nothing else.
Daniel De Biasi 43:52
That's crazy because how do you even know what the meaning of a word? Because if when you say the subtitles, there's no like, literal is not the first word is the first word they say as is the I don't know. How do you I don't know. It's impressive.
Yes, it just after five six times watching you start to pick up you see the nuances or maybe I don't know but I just picked it up and it was so funny. And then then I grabbed the dictionaries and notebooks from our local library and art school when they would let us to bring something outside and then I would start comparing them looking for the words trying to learn how to write them correctly. Going through the lessons and that improve that helped it become better, etc etc. But yeah, it's a funny it's a funny everybody loves that story. And they can never forget how I told my aunt as long as she was much younger and I said but I do speak English and she said okay, if you do can you see something in English and I would for example, say hi my name is Jadranka and and I live in this in this town and you know, I grew up, I was born etc. And she looked at me and she's like, Well, how do I know if you say it in English when I don't speak English? Then why do you ask me if I can prove it to you? I still to this day, hold that against all of them for not believing in me. I mean, if my kid came to me and told me that they speak Chinese I wouldn't know if it's really Chinese.
Daniel De Biasi 45:19
I would pay to see the video like, like the face of your parents where you were talking with the soldier.
You're actually speaking English like, and everybody like completely like, can't believe it like stunned, which has happened? So funny.
Daniel De Biasi 45:38
It's so funny. And a bunch of the questions that I go here, you pretty much really answered them, like the biggest upside about emigrating. And it's probably we covered that pretty clear.
Well, coming to Canada that you know what, I'm glad we can just jump into that because I feel like I talked so much about Bosnia and that ugly side of our history, and then completely ignore dispute, beautiful country that we live in. And I know that you have people on your podcast that are moving, but not necessarily just to Canada, but everywhere in the world. But I really, and there's people who struggle a lot when they come to Canada. So there's nothing absolutely nothing perfect about this country. So when I say this beautiful country that we live in, I call it like that. I'm a citizen. I've been living here for nine years now. And I very much love it, like it and see it as my own country. And for that reason, I'm well adapted here. When I say I'm not nostalgic. I mean, I miss my family, but I don't miss my country, right. So I found an easy path. I knew what I wanted, I came to Canada and accepted this beautiful country, there's a lot of people that move in cannot see the beauty of it. And there's a lot of people that struggle and miss a lot their home countries, their lives, their families, and from all of those emotions, and all of that nostalgia, they sometimes don't see how beautiful the country that they're right now and is, I am definitely not one of those people. So coming here, I did have challenges, adapting to the society as anyone would have. And being East European, you know, super direct and the way we are, it's hard when you come into this very soft spoken country. And so I had my challenges. So I am, I came right at the time, and I'm sort of building my family. So I had challenges in terms of you know, building my career at the same time because I had to start all over again. There were a lot of challenges. But I think what's for me really, really unique is that aside from all of that all that ugly history and everything that I ran away from I really I love that I got the opportunity to live here and I think there's still a lot of people that do and I think that there's a lot of every time I listen to these podcasts and people talking about their journey there's a lot sadness when you talk to the people that have moved away, right? There's a lot of people that are very nostalgic that are questioning their choices that I don't know feel okay, maybe I should remove the country that has a warmer climate Canada is not a tropical country, you should have checked that out before you move. I should move to a country that's more I don't know, capitalistic. Wow, we're now really like 100% capitalistic society. We're somewhere in between. You should have Google that, before you came here, right? And there's things that you just have to accept about a journey coming to Canada. And I think that in in that sense, I am very well aware of what I have given up on and what I have over here and I learned the love this journey. That being said, I have had many difficulties many like on a daily basis. There's so many complications, like if people want to come and live in Canada, you will bump into so many different complications.
Daniel De Biasi 48:51
What was the main challenge?
Well, for me, the main challenge was really learning to communicate and to be soft spoken to be less direct, for example, in terms of communication. The second challenge that I experienced was most often immigrants coming to Canada that have to go one, step three, step seven steps back in terms of their careers, so they have to go back and take another job. I was also changing careers coming to Canada. So I went back to the very beginning. So you know, all of a sudden, I'm 30. I have one or I have one kid, I had one kid on the way when I came to Canada, so six months pregnant when we landed here. So I'm a new mom in a new country. I have two kids that are small, tiny, and I'm building career from the start. So you know how you when you start your career and you're like 20 something fresh out of university, and then somebody says, who wants to come on Saturday? We really need help and you're like Oh, I'm home on Saturday, I have nothing else to do, because you really don't have anything else to do. Now I'm competing with people that are 20 something have nothing else to do but I have two kids at home that I have to rush to. So that's a challenge. That's an immigration challenge that challenge when you accept the change something and give up on certain things to get something in advance. And I want to say a third challenge really is the fact that that you lose your village when you midlife move to Canada. So for me, as somebody who had kids, I have lost my village when I moved to Canada.
Daniel De Biasi 50:21
What do you mean by that?
It's like a female term like where we say we have a village to support us. So it's not just the daycares that help you raise your children, when you're a woman you have, you know, moms and friends, all of these like circle of people that grew up with you that that you have acquired during your life, and they're all your support group, and then you land into a new country, and you have zero support. You have no one. So those are my big challenges. And I can say that they were easy. There were times when I was just, oh, my God, desperate wanted to fly when the two big things want to do, you know, take these like crazy jobs. And I was sad to say no, because I didn't have I couldn't do it, I just wouldn't be able to commit, I needed to commit to other things in life. There were times when I made mistakes, by speaking too openly and directly to somebody about something that I shouldn't have. Because I didn't know there were a lot of adaptation mistakes. It wasn't perfect. But that doesn't mean that Canada is not good. Canada is very good. It's a beautiful country to move to and I think very open to immigrants, from my perspective. And for that reason, I find it a good place to start. So I don't know how other people feel in the world. What are the new trends towards immigration where people are trying to get, but I think it's a it's a beautiful, safe harbor. And we've really, really enjoyed our time over here for the past nine years. And I had another kids and I have three kids in Canada, they're all Canadian 100%, which is so funny. They yeah, their first language is English, which is also so funny. Like, they're my children, I gave birth to them. They're me. But we have different mother tongues. So they laugh at me when I speak, I laugh at them when they speak Serbian. And it's very funny. It's a different type of an experience, but definitely something that we like, and that we enjoy so far very, very much.
Daniel De Biasi 52:20
And what's the best thing you think about Canada? What was the best thing that Canada gave you or biggest reason that kept you stay in the country?
That's a very good question. I want to pick one, I think I would still say do a little bit of a, the big part of it is Canada remaining well, it's not as neutral as you want it to be. But as neutral as a country can be in the sense of how we react to the world events, right? So something happens in the world and how we react to it as a country. I love that we sort of yes, you can't be neutral, always you have to take sides and I get it and I can see those little nuances where we take the sides, we don't really believe in that. We just have to, but we have managed to stay neutral about it. We have managed to stay those peaceful people. So if you talk about Canadians outside of the Canada, everybody's like always those like peaceful people, that you know, enjoy, same story and thank you for everything and you know, doing all the nice things. That's not true, but I love the image. There's some pretty nasty people here but I love that when I step out of the country with my Canadian passport, I am no longer seen as you know, the East European crazy woman used to see me because they do see you like that. Like even my friends here that I met from other people from other parts of the world they would they would sometimes talk to people and say we have these friends and they're from Bosnia. Where's that? Oh, that says European friends with them. They're so rude. They're so prompt. They're so direct. It's not true. We're not all like that. But you do get a little bit especially being from Yugoslavia get a little bit of bad rep. And then soon as they see your passport, they think that you want to do something you want to stay there you wanna you know, and for me the big big really upside is now wherever I show up with my Canadian passport, and it's like, Oh guys, what do you guys- what is the reason for visit? Where are you going to do? How do you you can tell, you can tell that they don't see not even a little bit of attract you nothing like every little border officer that I speak with and I've traveled quite a lot and I've been to different borders. Everybody's immediate reaction is friendly to your Canadian passport. It was never like that when I showed up with our Bosnian passport. I can tell you that 100% and those who do not have those different passports they don't know the feeling but I can tell you 100% they look at you and they're like even now like I have friends that would for example go to Serbian and they see like some of them speak English. Some of them speak some German Men and sometimes they don't want to share that information. And they would hear, like officers making comments between themselves about what does she want? Or what does he want, probably going to try and stay here, right? It's so horrible. And I know it's it shouldn't happen. But I just got rid of that. And I love it. Because yes, it's still a problem, but at least not my problem. And I hate to say that, like, I want to solve the world problem but we're not just focusing on myself. If you don't know it, if you haven't been in those shoes, but that's the big thing. Now I'm finally seen everywhere I go as Canadian, and I love the image that we have, although it's not 100% true, but to some extent, when I talk to my neighbors and people, older Canadians, even the younger, you see that I don't know if you see it, like in communication with other people, but you see that gentleness, that they have that human decency that they try to maintain, regardless of how bad the situation is, for most people that are like educated. And I want to say, well, not just necessarily just educated but you know, educated and that are just present, like people that are just okay with themselves here in Canada, when you talk to them. You get that sense, it's almost like from the books, when you talk to some of my neighbors sometimes feel like they just jump into one of those like movies about Canada, the stuff that they told me it's, you can't even believe it. So that spirit and that image is well alive in the country. Although we do not necessarily all portrayit. There's very bad people. But I love that image. That's I think best part about my Canadian life is that I am a Canadian now.
Daniel De Biasi 56:43
Have you ever thought maybe now that got a Canadian passport to move to England and move somewhere else?
I think it's a little bit far fetched. My family and I, we definitely I have these big plans that we will take some time off and travel the world in the sense that we're going to go and like spend three months everywhere we want to go right? So for now, that's my target. I don't think that it's possible. Everything is possible in life, but I don't think I have the energy left in me to commit to a life somewhere else, once again, to change. Because in the way you change identity when you move, I don't know if you have felt that. But there's a big part of you that changes when you move and assimilate in a new country. And you sort of never go back to be that person that you were when you lived in your native country, you never become 100% for example, in my case, Canadian, but I definitely change or change my identity. And that takes energy takes energy out of you. And I don't think I have, maybe I have energy, but I just don't want to use it on that. I don't want to use energy to change identity. Would love to live in UK like me, myself, just me? It would be perfect, right? For me. Would it be perfect thing for my whole family of us and change or we go to that so sure about it, right? It's, there's something gentle about Canada, that UK, UK, but just the whole Europe is a little bit more hardcore, than us. And I don't know if I want to go back to that. But do I want to take the opportunity that I have this passport that I have, you know, the friendliness of everyone when show up at their border? And yes, I kind of want that. I want to see what life is like inother parts of the world with the safety net of my "Canadianism" sort of speaking that just my password, but just know that my home is Canada, this is where I am. But let's go and try like six months somewhere, right? Being digital nomads work from somewhere else do something different or three months, or, I don't know, two months, even right? I would like we travel there's, for example, we go to Italy, we went to Italy before we would go to Italy and spend like a week or 10 days, right? But why not go to Italy this time and actually, you know, like rent an apartment and see what the life looks like. Because when you go to Florence into the tourist area, and you that's not why you have to find, you know, outside, you know, and live with those people and see what is it that those people do every single day, on the suburbs, like on the outskirts of the city where there's no cultural monuments, it's just people going to work every single day, you know, coming back, trying to pay their bills and taking kids out to the park. And that is something that I would consider in terms of our future. But it would not necessarily consider now that I have a Canadian passport doing the whole transitional journey or permanently changing my address to anywhere because I only have so much energy. It's way too many personalities that I can process inside of me. I can't add more layers to that. Maybe if I was a little bit more of a person who can live somewhere but not change, I would be able to do that. But these experiences change me and I don't want to change again, I don't, I'm comfortable like this.
Daniel De Biasi 1:00:17
I do like the person that you became like a now being Canada?
Oh, yes, I do, as I said, again, on the toughness of the life that we have had, although I have to say like my family, my upbringing, such a, I had such a aside from these outside events such as war and living in a country that has gone through a lot, I really had a very comfy, very beautiful childhood, because beautiful, stable family. So I had the privilege to grow up like that. But the country and the environment changed me and I was a rough person in many, many ways. And the decisions that I made the way I made the way I was processing information, and that completely changed, I became much more sensitive. I love that. And I think it's only like maybe took me five years to try and process social issues in Canada, that are not immediate, you know, when you see, for example, back in my country, I would see like this whole huge area of the city that people live in poverty, and I know that they struggle, and I know that they're doing everything they can, but they can't make the ends meet, you know, and then that really hurts. But in Canada, you don't really see that. There's no these like big eminent things, but there are social issues. So you can see like nuances of racism, you can see nuances of discrimination, you can see social issues such as homelessness, and as as Jadranka that landed in Canada, it couldn't feel for that. Like these little things for me was just Oh, toughen up. Since I was too hardcore, right? And the best thing about how I change is that I've learned to observe every single person and see these bigger, socially, smaller social issues that have big impact that before wouldn't even wouldn't even bother me like man you have, if you have an opportunity to make money, live off the money, dude, just do it. Don't come up with reasons for this. And that or like, if somebody tells you something just go report it to the police, you know, I didn't have it took me a little bit of time to soften up to these things. And again, you have to understand where I'm coming from is, it's just it's hard core, like people are not very sensitive about when anyone or everyone feels. And I brought that with me here. And then I learned and I changed it, but now I'm looking at it now I'm like, everything is like, you know, ecology bothers me. Sustainability bothers me. This is the things that I didn't know, like, was so first world problems. But I wasn't even thinking about it. So now when I go back to visit Bosnia, they all like oh, my God, you softened up so much. It's a disaster. And then look, if I talk to my friend, she's like, please don't ever come back to Bosnia, you wouldn't succeed in our society, like you would be ruined. And it's just little things like they would even make a joke about something and I would just find that hurtful. And I was like, What do you guys? How can you sneak that? It's just it's so inappropriate. It's so horrible. Like, how can you even laugh about it, like, I would start following this account on Instagram, because they would be encouraging me to, you know, follow what's happening back home, and I will start following and then their jokes, which is to me, brutal. No, I don't want to like it's just I can accept it. And then I will say that to my friend, and they will be like, you're done. There's nothing like there's no going back for you. And you are now officially too soft to live here. Luckily, I don't have intention. I'm a Canadian. So that's the best change in my personality. And I don't know, like, depending on other countries, but I've learned to pay attention to little things. And I have softened out but I love I love that side of me now. And I love that I can see different things. And I can you know, observe these problems, and I can feel what other people are feeling and then worry about not just all my life today, and now but just worry about society as a whole and no one that you know, there's these little things and we can fix them. We can work toward them. We can show compassion when we talk about them. And that I learned that here in Canada. I didn't have it before, definitely didn't have it before.
Daniel De Biasi 1:04:29
Okay, that's pretty interesting to see that change and be aware of how much you change just to move to a new country and have a different environment.
Yes, it's just you have to. I mean, you adapt but it took me a while. I have to say it took me a while I did not didn't take right away. It took a couple of years for me to build up that but I don't think there's going back now like there's no going back now from this.
Daniel De Biasi 1:04:54
Was it the same for your partner, for your husband?
Yes, yes, it was the same for him as well. A little bit different and he was more unwilling to accept that the change has happened. But it's also the way it's always the wake up call when you go to visit, and you talk to people, and you realize that, you know, some things are just making you twitch a little bad, like when people are talking about it. And you don't even dare to speak against you just like sitting there observing yourself, and seeing the people across, you know, the table from you are not reacting to it the same way that to them. That's normal, but to you, it's just like, that's not true. That's definitely not something that we should be discussing we're seeing in that way. So that's how he started seeing it as well, and to this day, like our children, teachers these days, it's funny enough, you can never catch up with, like native Canadians, people that have been born here in terms of being sensitive to certain issues, but it's our children. Like, my son constantly reminds me that sometimes if I make a comment about something, he's there, and then I'm surprised, but no, I didn't say anything wrong. He's like, ah, I don't know, maybe you should, you know, take this and that into consideration. And he gets that from school. And so we still learn, we're still learning from that we're still not completely there. But we have definitely changed a lot from the moment regarding-
Daniel De Biasi 1:06:16
You have free teachers now.
Yeah, they always ends up being like that.
Daniel De Biasi 1:06:23
Now I wanna I want to change subject and talk about the blog you and Sylvia, which I interviewed before have and it's called the Practical Immigrant. And that's where you try to help other people move into Canada.
Daniel De Biasi 1:06:37
How long have you been doing this blog for now?
It's been, I think, just a little over Oh, actually a year, it's gonna be year soon. I think in June, it's gonna be four years since we've been writing this blog. The idea has been there for a long time. And the main thing, and I think I touched on this earlier during our talk is that we were constantly discussing my friend, Sylvia and I, she's Brazilian Canadian. We constantly talked about her background in psychology. So we always talked about these like feelings, and how do people see their new life, how they struggle, and we would always go back to the fact that it's not about what's it like in one country, it's about what you expect it to be like. So in economics, because I have business background, we have the customer, we measure customer satisfaction, by measuring expectations versus reality expectation versus what was delivered, right? So if people have huge expectations of your product, if you sell it, that it can cure some sort of miraculous disease, if it doesn't sell, obviously, your consumers won't be satisfied. So it's same for life, you have to be really careful when you're building your expectations about something, right? So if you build these huge expectations, the chances that you will be disappointed, are big. Because reality is never like that. And we found that, especially in this age of Instagram, and image, digital image reality where people are presenting things in a way that really just exists in this one moment innd one picture, people are building expectations about life abroad, that are not realistic, and that many people talk about these beautiful things, but not a lot of people talk about all but what are the difficulties? What are we going to be faced there? And how do we overcome those? And what are you going to be experiencing once you land? And we two of us really wanted to focus on that. So we started off with the whole concept of expectations and reality. And then we addressed subjects that people do not like to address. We address how are you going to find work in Canada? What are the struggles of looking for work in Canada? And how are you going to manage money when you come to Canada? It's a big thing. Like Yes, you can make money here, but expenses, the cost of living is huge. What are the ways? Are you're gonna have to change your ways in terms of how you manage money when you move to Canada? Yes. Does anyone ever say to you how to do this? No. And we really wanted to share that information. She's a career coach and a longtime recruiter. So she does a lot of the posts that have to do with practical aspects of the getting a job and what are some main mistakes that immigrant candidates make when they're applying for jobs. And I touch on on a lot of the financial issues that people have, we have a good system in my household and I have a business background. So I always like calculate everything. So we're really good at you know, saving investing money and finding ways to live more productively, and I contribute in that sense. So we do that on a lot of like, petty subjects that people don't like to share numbers, share reality. What's gonna happen when you apply for a job? Because believe it or not as an immigrant, you do not consider the same and equal candidate in comparison with the native Canadian.
Daniel De Biasi 1:10:09
Especially if you don't speak the language.
Daniel De Biasi 1:10:12
I think because if you come from like an English speaking country, the situation is different.
Oh Yeah, yes.
Daniel De Biasi 1:10:18
Yeah, we're going back to what you said before, like, I saw that not as much in Canada mostly liking when I was moved to New Zealand, directly from your career back in your country? You do? Yeah, 5, 7, 10 steps behind, you're gonna just go backwards for like, so many steps just because you don't speak the language in my opinion, you sound like stupid, you say you sound like you've now what are you talking about? Which is nothing for me. It's totally normal. It's just like the way that our brain or that we perceive people.
Yes. But with the you know, what, with the with certain streams of immigration here in Canada, you actually do you have to take and pass a very difficult English language test that gives you the minimum that you really need for a corporate job, right? Still, that doesn't mean that you will have the same same things that you will be seen the same as a candidate that from an English speaking countries you said because yeah, definitely. immigrant from Bosnia. Yeah, his mom looked upon the same as immigrant from UK that has a beautiful British accent that everybody wants to talk.
Daniel De Biasi 1:11:22
Yeah, exactly. If you come from England, for some reason, people already think you're smart.
Exactly! Oh my god, that is so funny. I find that the same thing. And just everybody just wants to hire that we just want to listen to them talk. Nobody wants to listen to my accent.
Daniel De Biasi 1:11:40
They must be smart.
Yes, yes. And they do dress, you know, dress up nicely for work. And they they do sound smart, but just because of the fancy accent but so it's not but you know what it but it's not impossible to show or what you can do. And there's ways and Sylvia really helps with that. And so in the blog, on our Instagram page, and on our LinkedIn page, really, we talk a lot about it, like yes, you can go over these tips, you can learn how to do this, you can master these things. And in Canada, it's also like I have colleagues that would move from US, and they would have trouble adopting the communication style that we have here. Right? They speak English actually is, you know, better obviously, than all of us. And it's their native tongue. But the way people express themselves in the business culture in us is very different. When I work with US clients, I sometimes feel like it's just another Bosnian that you know, just doesn't have accent. But you know, when I talk to them, it just like I get flashbacks from, you know, working with people back in Bosnia, in comparison with Canada. So there's like little these little things that really make a big difference if you change them. And she really specializes in working with people, where she can help them adopt to this new situation and get a job that they really want the good job of a first job, but also, you know, good job or a better job, we get a promotion. And then we share that information. And we love it. But we also share like day to day struggles and how it feels do you miss home, miss your parents, miss your siblings, miss the life that you had? How does it feel to be the odd one in the society because sometimes you live in a neighborhood where there's not that many immigrants and then you sort of you're sticking out is that the that the expression will stick out like a sore thumb. Everybody can see you and everything that you say is very different and how that feels. And you address all of those things very openly and talk about them. So I'm really inviting everyone that's listening like the check us out. It's called the Practical Immigrant. We have a webpage, which is thepracticalimmigrant.com. And then we are on LinkedIn and also on Instagram and Facebook.
Daniel De Biasi 1:13:53
Okay, perfect. Everywhere pretty much.
Daniel De Biasi 1:13:56
And what do you think is the main challenges that people face when they move to Canada. Are they the same challenges that you had to face or they are different?
I was actually talking just recently, we were talking to this couple that teaches English and perhaps people that live here in Canada, perhaps people before they apply for these exams, and before they apply for visas. And I think it really depends which country you're coming from. So certain countries have different regimes like visa or immigration regimes with Canada in comparison with other countries. So I have learned that South American countries because of what used to be called NAFTA agreement, have a more flexible way of getting into Canada. Now that means those people come here to try living in Canada, which means a lot of them come with no plan and not add their language levels are not adequate for life in Canada and then the main struggle would constantly be language. So this couple they work quite a lot with Portuguese speaking people coming here and I would say the one thing, that's the biggest obstacle is really the language. And the second thing is really the lack of plan. So you can get a student visa to come and live in Canada. And people come with a plan that goes is okay, I got a student visa, I'm going to start studying, I'm going to bring my wife or my husband, and I can work 20 hours, and then I'll figure it out. So that's a big problem, you can't just figure it out, you need to have a very concrete plan, you need to be really realistic about how well do you speak language. And then you have people that have to go through these steps before they come to Canada. And they actually have to take a very, like difficult English language exam come here fairly prepared, in which case, English is not an obstacle to get a first job. But their first struggles started happening when they tried to get the job that they had back home or the job that they really want, in which case those cultural differences step up. And it's not just about accent, but it's really about not understanding how this culture works. And then they struggle, and they start suffering from the fact that they cannot show how much they know, and that they cannot realize their full potential in Canada, because they cannot get that perfect job, they cannot get a promotion that they want to get. And that really comes down. Yes, to some extent, you have to improve your English, but you really have to improve your communication in general. And that's where they really struggle. And, the third challenge is the immigrants that have already been here for a while that's starting to see things that bother them. And then they go into the negative thinking, and start sort of blaming everything on Canada and then projecting that on to you know, missing back home. And then the main struggle is really being stuck in between these two worlds. I miss my life that I had before, not doing anything about improving this life, I'm stuck in the middle. And I'm just angry and upset with everyone. And that's like a big thing. So that's more of a psychological barrier. But with these first two groups, usually English language and finding a way to stay permanently with the second group is the cultural adaptation and working toward, as I said, before, you do have to change sometimes you willingly. Sometimes it just happens to you, but you do have to adopt and change and they struggle. And then the third group is really the psychological barrier of you know, being stuck in the middle I can I don't have a translation for it. There's a book that we read with kids, but we call it a chimney, a floating chimney. chimney, it's not connected to the crap, there's no fire. But it's just like up in the air. It's nowhere like there's no fire, there's nothing going through it. It's just floating in the air has no purpose. And we that's what we call the people that are stuck in between the life that they had, they can go back to they know that they're not the same. But then they also haven't realized their full potential here in Canada and usually has to do with the lack of cultural adaptation to the new country.
Daniel De Biasi 1:18:09
Yeah, I think we've covered these with Jamiem I don't know if you listen to that episode, I think was it's a it's a great episode, I spoke with Jamie and she wrote a book about like, how to get out and move abroad. But we talked about in this episode about the adjustment cycles. So that every immigrants when he moved abroad, you have to go through these cycles. And if you don't push yourself, you don't try to integrate, you get stuck, as you said, like in this limbo where you kind of become judgmental, and that's I totally do that. And I think that's normal. They will she says like, everybody goes through these cycles. And everybody gets judgmental because things are different from your country, like we were talking about in this episode, like the silly thing like going to the supermarket and don't find the ingredients where they're "supposed to be" because he or grew up. And there are certain ingredients or several products that are in these different aisles and moved to a new country and completely somewhere else that you can't find them you get frustrating and you start becoming judgmental, why they're doing this? It should be on the other aisle, like a silly thing like that. But can become bigger and bigger if you don't try to integrate with it, if you don't try to move forward into the cycles.
Yes, indeed. Did you notice that? I don't know. Like, depending on how long have you been here, but I remember when I moved that some of the comments that I made the people would recognize them immediately knew that I was a newcomer they would knew that I'm here that I've been here for like a year or two, just based on what I said and it wasn't even anything detrimental or criticizing but just me making any type of a comment. And I find myself to do the same thing now. So as soon as people try to talk about certain topics, I can tell right away that it would already be like okay, maybe year two, three. As soon as they go into these like crazy philosophical things and you know, irrational stuff. Oh my god 25, 25 years minimum. Because they're like, you know, they want to retire. It's, it's no longer like we're not even talking about like life here and there anymore. They're just fed up with the whole like cycle of life where you know, you grind you work, you go back home and whatnot. And you can recognize those little like moments as where are they stuck up on? Or if they're talking about Oh, you know what? Trying to do this and they won't do me and then you know, you feel the confidence but you see the struggle are past three years three, three, the time must be- you don't have to value anything you see these women things just recently, conversation we had with somebody and I was like, you these are- and I didn't even but because of the coffee that I haven't met a lot of newcomers that newcomers people that just landed. So now they're becoming a little bit of an endemic species. When you see somebody was like, wait, did I just heard that comment. That's a newcomer. I haven't seen that one in a while. Because there's those specific comments that are really tied to the people that just landed, you know, like, within a year. Well, I didn't know but just floating as you said, like a supermarket comment keeps you away right away. Because if you are still stuck on, you know where watch to be in the supermarket, yeah, year two max. Like you got to be at the beginning. Because after that, you know, everything like you can, then you go back home, and you're thinking about why these things in the supermarket here, like they should be somewhere else, right? You switch. But you can tell those little things. Or if somebody makes a comment, that's a little bit like from my country, when I hear comments, that's all about as I said, tough. I was like, Oh, these are here, like, they have not learned that you know how it goes, this is still a baby, I call them babies like immigrant babies. And that's what people called me. And I can remember I remember those specific moments when they will be like, take it easy, like going, you know, through the honeymoon period, and then switching to reality. And then you know, getting hit hard by different things and obstacles. And they used to say when we got here, you need kind of need two years to be realistic, you need two years, you need two years to pass by going through these steps. And then two years, you become to be a little bit realistic, everything until then it's just your reaction to what's happening to you. Because it's such a big new experience that it's hard to make some conscious decisions and you know, final conclusions. And as like, No, I'm just moving back six months in Canada, like I got this. I already know this. I know everything. Like I felt so confident Two years later, like, oh, maybe they were right. I do think differently now. So it takes a little bit of time. But that's the case with everything in life, right?
Daniel De Biasi 1:22:39
And I think that's the good time to wrap this up. Thank you so much. You're Jadranka to share your story of my podcast. It was it was a pleasure.
It was my pleasure as well. I really enjoyed it. It was a beautiful conversation. And yes, I'm here if anybody wants to reach out, or has any questions. My email is on the website. And probably we're going to share it on Instagram and you'll see it on Daniel's profile. So yeah, reach out. We'd love to chat with people we love to Oh my god, new immigrants, reach out. I love to hear stories. Like I feel bad now that I said these things because I actually do get that super, you know, when a mom sees Oh, you see a little baby I do. That's I call them baby immigrants when they see a little baby and you go like, Oh, so I see somebody who just landed there, like people have been here for a lot. I do get that same feeling where it's like I get I get you I know exactly where you are, and everything's gonna be fine. So yeah, reach out through the social networks or on our website, then we are me and my partner, Sylvia as well. We're here to chat and help everyone.
Daniel De Biasi 1:23:43
Perfect. Yeah. And as usual, the links and everything will be in the show notes. So go check it out so you can can find out more easily. Thank you. Thank you so much Jadranka. Really, really, really appreciate it.
Daniel De Biasi 1:23:55
Okay, bye bye.
Daniel De Biasi 1:23:57
Thank you so much for tuning in this week. You can find the show notes with links, insights, and much more at emigrantslife.com/episode 47. And if you enjoyed this episode and want to support the show, you can share this episode with your friends. Or you can leave us a review on Apple podcasts or pod chaser. And one more thing before we go, if you want to move to a new country and you need help, feel free to reach out to me either via email at email@example.com, or through our website, emigrantslife.com. It's absolutely free. I don't charge anything for it. Just reach out to me and we can schedule a call. I look forward to meeting you. Thanks again for listening. Talk to you in the next one. Ciao!
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