I heard about Luna during my first week on the job. She was just getting started, too. I knew she would be on-deck to help with The Corners on Main Presentation Centre opening, and I was looking forward to meeting her. At 19, she’s the youngest sales assistant to be hired on at Domicile. Luna’s supervisor, Senior Sales Rep. Shannon Craig, raved about her intelligence, maturity, and positive demeanor. She’s been described as ‘wise beyond her years’. Perhaps it’s because Luna has been through a fair bit more than the average teenager. Everyone’s got a story to tell, and Luna’s story begins in Syria.
She was gracious enough to answer a few of my questions.
Can you describe your family’s journey to this country?
Luna: We left Syria in 2012. My mother was against leaving at first. But one day, my school bus missed a major car bombing by a few minutes and my family went through having to wait to see if my bus was within the explosion. Relieved to find out I was OK, my mother then made up her mind to leave the country. We moved to Lebanon where we have family (my maternal grandmother is Lebanese). The family was really amazing and helpful. But despite that, living in Lebanon was very hard and stressful in every way possible. We couldn’t find jobs or study opportunities in a country where the living expenses are high! So we struggled financially. Also, there were a lot of restrictions on Syrian immigrants that made it really hard for us to get our legal papers. Lebanon wasn’t really safe either with all the bombings and political problems. All of this made it difficult for us to plan for the future. So I started applying for scholarships abroad after I finished high school. The first scholarship I applied to was a scholarship to study in Canada and the application was organized through the Canadian embassy in Beirut. I didn’t get the scholarship but the embassy later informed me that my family and I were candidates for resettlement in Canada. They called after about 10 months and said that they wanted to interview us. After two months of interviews and paperwork, we came to Canada.
How long have you been in Canada? What’s your impression of the place?
Luna: I came with my family to Canada about four months ago. The first thing I noticed about Canada is the huge diversity of people. I saw people from all over the world! It was amazing! I think that is what makes it easy to fit in in Canada and not feel like a stranger. People are really nice and the nature is beautiful! I love how blue and clear the sky is on a nice sunny day.
How did hear about Domicile?
Luna: My family and I are sponsored by a wonderful group called Ottawa Centre Refugee Action (OCRA). One of the members of this sponsor group works for Domicile. She heard that I was looking for a job and was so kind to mention it to someone in management who agreed to meet with me for an interview. A month later, I was contacted by management and informed that I was hired. This is my first “real” job and I’m really happy with how much experience I am gaining especially in communication. I enjoy talking to clients and meeting various people.
What are some of your interests?
Luna: I love music! I played the violin for six years but stopped when I was 14. I regret that a lot. So I am hoping to start practicing again when I start school. I am aiming at majoring in International Relations. This field requires proficiency in a few languages, which is one of the reasons why I am taking French classes. That and the fact that I love learning new languages. I also love traveling and I am hoping to go on a trip across Canada sometime in the near future.
What are your other goals for the future?
Luna: I hope that next year my family and I will be all settled in Canada and have good jobs, a home, and a good life.