I’m back again with another inspirational story about the power of the human spirit. I was able to speak with an awesome woman named Marianna who was kind enough to share her story with me and with you! Here it is, written in her own words:
In the early 90s, the unthinkable happened in my country. You never think that something like this will ever happen to you, but unfortunately did to me. Born and raised in the former Yugoslavia, now known as Serbia. Once a beautiful country destroyed by civil war. Lived a careless and happy childhood all the way through my early 20s.
Just starting married life with a baby boy, all those dreams are shattered in peace. What to do? That was the question everyone asked. We were lucky in a way, we lived in a bordering country with Hungary.
Now is the time to mention my background, I am Hungarian. I really don’t want to go in detail about the horror of “that war” and finally put all that behind me. Moved to Hungary, a new country, even though I visited my Grandparents there as a child. Still wasn’t my country. Starting everything from scratch, was hard but you get used to it. After two years in Hungary, decided to try something else, so we applied for Canada as landed immigrants. Spoke English, not well but still was more than nothing. By the way, back in Serbia, you had to learn one foreign language since 4th grade.
With my parent’s approval, I choose English. I think I made a very good decision in that matter. So back to my story about Canada. Our first application didn’t go well, it was denied. Not what you want to hear. After a year, applied again and that was a happy moment, it was approved. My son was 7 years old at that time when we landed in Toronto, Canada. Beautiful but a very big city for a small town gal. Everything looked different, I thought even the birds sing different (thinking back now, it sounds a bit funny).
New beginnings, new life in a whole new and different culture. My Mom was so happy that we made it when I called her that day. It was very hard leaving family and friends behind to start a new life in a new country, half a world away from everything you have known.
No more Sunday family lunch (back home the Sunday lunch is the most important gathering with family). No more afternoon coffee with your friends, or to visit our beautiful parks when summer comes. The thing is, you get busy, very busy to adjust to your new life. Learn the language even better, find a job, and make a living. I felt lucky, found a part-time job at the home care agency and I was working a companion to veterans. They thought me how to speak proper English ( hmmm, sometimes not so proper but we had fun for sure). While working, also attended night school for a medical administrator. Yes, I was extremely busy but happy that I can do this. Years went by, many years. After eight years we went back home to visit our family. It was safe to go “home” and my beloved Subotica City was getting better.
So many people didn’t want to leave or couldn’t. Some didn’t want to leave their parents, friends or their farming land. I guess you just have to be strong and brave to start all over. To think of your child, to make it better for him mostly. That’s what we did, and didn’t regret it one bit. My son finished college, sadly this would never happen to him back home. Even though visiting family for three weeks, that one sad day will come, have to say our goodbyes and catch the flight back to our second home. I was very fortunate, my Mom came to Toronto for a visit twice. She loved it, I might add.
As for me, went back many times to visit my home town Subotica, but couldn’t get used it to move back. It was not just not the same, what it was once. Don’t get me wrong, it is an amazing city with amazing people. The city’s culture and history speak for its self. When the morning sun shines on the cornfields or the beautiful sunflowers turn, you have the feeling that they are smiling at you.
Hard-working farmers are waving at you when you pass them by. In the city, you will find charming cafes, pastry shops, and the very famous farmers market. I called Canada my second home for almost 20 years and will stay in my heart forever.
Just six years ago I moved to America. Life happens and now I call Texas my new home. Yes, Texas. Totally different in many ways. No skyscrapers, streetcars or honking cab drivers. Actually, Texas is not that different from my hometown Subotica. Cornfields and cows everywhere. Living in the countryside reminds me of my small town. Learning the Texan accent? Not easy, but getting used to it. Well, “Yes Mam” was not my favorite to hear at the beginning. Hey, I am not that old you know, that went through my mind. Haha, right? When it was explained what was the meaning behind it (respect to a woman) then I felt much better.
This little story reflects that sometimes we have to make a difficult decision in our lives. Like me, moved to different countries since 1993. To make that huge sacrifice in our lives to make it better, to have it better. That is called “Life”!
Please check out Marianna’s Blog to learn more about her & her powerful human spirit
Here are her social handles:
You can do anything, if you put your mind to it.
Marianna’s story is a very powerful one. Through the hardships of moving, leaving behind family and the life she once knew, she has proven that there are few things we can’t accomplish if we put our minds to it. I would like to personally thank Marianna for sharing her story with us 🙂