Here I am in Montreal

From May 20 to December 7, 2014

Here I am in Montreal

Young people newly arrived in Montreal present their takes on the City through the filter of their respective cultural and personal backgrounds. They come from Haïti, Algeria, Moldova, Philippines or China. Their varied perceptions of the City also open a window on the reality of immigration. You Are Part of History! is an ongoing project within the framework of the Agreement between the City of Montreal and the Ministère de l’Immigration et des Communautés culturelles du Québec. Young immigrants in French immersion classes (classes d’accueil) express themselves in the new language, telling us about their first contact with the city and about family treasures that have travelled to Montreal with them. Their spoken words and their writings have therefore not been translated, although we have provided English summaries. If you’re game, though, try plunging into the French language like they have, while tuning your ears to different accents and cadences from all over the planet!

Quand je suis arrivé dans mon nouveau « chez moi », j’ai senti la joie se promener dans tout mon corps. Même si mon pays me manquait, je sentais que j’étais prêt pour vivre ma nouvelle vie, avec joie et avec l’espérance de m’adapter à un nouvel endroit.
Roberto Andres Sandoval Lopez, Salvador


Montreal on the horizon

Settling into a new city, for an immigrant, is an intense and exhausting moment. Between new discoveries and everday obligations, our feelings are jumbled up. Does reality live up to the place we imagined? The things that surprise us will depend on where we come from. The city may look one way to a particular person but the opposite way to another. Large or small? Calm or manic? Old or new? American or European? Green or grey? Cold or Hot? And what about the strange language they’re speaking? French!

J’ai eu l’impression de me retrouver dans un autre monde. La ville où j’avais atterri était très développée en comparaison avec tout ce que j’avais vu dans mon pays.
Paola Melissa Martinez, Guatemala

Lors de ma première journée à Montréal, la température était de 35o et, nous, nous avions des manteaux d’hiver, car nous ne savions pas qu’il allait faire chaud. On pensait qu’il ferait -40o, alors on avait très chaud.
Jesus Vargas Reyes, Mexique

J’ai trouvé que Montréal est une ville riche parce que j’ai vu que tous les gens ont du travail et que tous sont disciplinés. J’ai découvert aussi qu’à Montréal, les gens parlent français et anglais.
Danna Omiping, Philippines


At Home

Among the objects that surround us in our everyday lives, some are treasures, some are useful, and some possess both these qualities. Heritage is formed by this interaction, by the importance we give the objects, and by the values they embody for us, our families, and the community.

When we move to another country, objects pass from hand to hand. The transmission of objects is a way to ensure continuity and coherence between the old and the new life. A departure can precipitate this practice: we may be given objects that would otherwise only come to us to mark milestones in life such as marriage, the birth of children, or starting a job.

You’re moving away: what is the most precious thing you’re taking with you?

Je n’ai pas pu apporter beaucoup d’objets qui me rappelaient mon pays d´origine parce que, vous savez, quand on part pour toujours, on doit ramasser toute sa vie dans deux valises. On ne pense pas aux petits souvenirs, c’est plus tard qu’on se rend compte qu’il fallait trouver une petite place pour eux.
Keven François, Haïti


Living in Montreal

After the disorientation of arrival, the feeling of strangeness starts to fade as we begin to understand the new environment and its social codes. Things get easier as we learn to cope with them more effectively. Little by little, life in Montreal becomes normal. However, the paths we choose are not always free of obstacles: on the contrary. This may lead to doubts that cause us to re-examine our plans. Will pre-departure hopes become reality? Only time will tell.

Pendant mon premier tour dans la ville, je me sentais perdue parce que c’était tout nouveau pour moi. Maintenant, je me sens comme à la maison.
Mariana Araujo Jacob, Espagne

Et maintenant? Maintenant, je suis déjà habitué à vivre à Montréal, je me suis fait des amis, j’étudie à Saint-Luc, je fais du sport et j’ai un objectif : devenir pilote d’avion. J’ai encore un peu de difficulté avec ce climat fou, mais j’espère qu’au fil des années je vais m’y habituer.
Lorenzzo Sturba, Brésil

Mon rêve est de devenir avocate. Quand je serai grande, je pense que je retournerai dans mon pays, pour travailler ou vivre là-bas.
Eunice Grace Ramos, Philippines


You Are Part of History!

Like so many threads with different trajectories, stories interconnect in Montreal. Their starting points vary, but they all continue to unfold here.Not very long ago, to Ali, Tian, Salma, Xeniya, and Kadiatou, Montreal was a mysterious unknown with blurred contours. Then, there was the arrival, and after feelings of dislocation, the city became a place of discovery, revealing itself gradually. Now, it is a place where they live and are forging new ties, giving a little of themselves in the process (for Montreal is also nourished by what is brought here). In this city rich in chronicles of the past, history continues to be woven in the present.

Come meet them all on the You Are Part of History! website (in French only).