Born in Lima, Peru |
Erika first came to Toronto from Peru in 2008 on a working holiday with the YMCA. Having really enjoyed it, Erika wanted to stay in Toronto, but she couldn’t extend the working holiday visa. She had to go back to Peru to apply to be a permanent resident of Canada. The whole process took a couple of years, but she finally received her visa in 2012. In Toronto Erika feels as if she belongs.
“Toronto is so multicultural that it doesn’t matter how I look like or where I come from, I’m a Torontonian. Here I can interact with people from different cultures and get the best of them.”
Currently Erika works in customer service for the YMCA and studies International Development at York University.
Toronto as Home
Erika feels comfortable at Toronto’s Downtown Harbourfront and loves walking along Lake Ontario. This lake is so big that it reminds her of the Pacific Ocean – its proximity she says is one of the most beautiful things about Lima. This ocean also reminds her of her grandparents, who were immigrants like her, because it connects Lima and Okinawa, her grandparents’ hometown.
Connection with the Past
Erika is holding a picture of her nuclear family. Two of her three siblings also live abroad and she explains how it is difficult for them to all visit Lima at the same time – with there always being one of them missing.
“It took us more than 10 years but in 2011 we all finally got together.”
They took this picture in the living room of her parents’ house and with her and her mom, dad, brother, sisters, brother-in-law, nephews, and niece.