I used to think I had the unfortunate pleasure of being born to parents who are immigrants. If only they were the first-generation immigrant and not I, maybe then they could have understood me better. Due to lucky (or unlucky) circumstance I attended English public elementary and high school, unlike my cousins and the many other children of immigrants that are subject to bill 101.
I had a hard time fitting in. In the first few years of elementary, I spoke all three of the languages I knew at the same time, confusing the other children and my teachers. I was also culturally stuck in a liminal space I was too young to understand. I was not subject to the same pop-culture upbringing as my peers and it set me apart in many ways growing up.
To make matters worse I did not fit in with my cousins or my peers at church, even though we shared a similar cultural background. All of them spoke French and Arabic a lot better than I did. They went to French school where many of their classmates also spoke Arabic. They still watched Arabic TV as well, something that I had stopped doing to fit in better with my very Canadian classmates.
As I grew up, I began to have mixed feelings of resentment and pride towards my heritage. Whenever someone would ask me the following: "What nationality are you?" I would forcefully answer, "Canadian." After receiving a strange look, I would add that my parents are from Lebanon. To which they would reply, "So you're Lebanese then." This usually angered me, because besides my parents being from Lebanon and liking the food, I did not feel a nationalistic pride towards Lebanon. Lebanon was an abstract place that I was not a part of and Canada was my home. I felt that I was solely Canadian.
I felt this way for several years, even getting into meaningless arguments with my parents about it. I would also jokingly say that my friends were "too Canadian" for me, exasperating my feelings of 'otherness.'
I went on to study Media and Culture in CEGEP in an attempt to better understand the world around me and joined the Newspaper club. The friends I made and the things I learned in and out of my classes really helped me to understand culture. In this larger and more diverse setting, I was slowly beginning to understand that it was okay that I didn't know about the collective cultural awareness that other people of my generation seemed to share. During this time I was still fighting with the feelings of pride and resentment I had towards my Lebanese heritage.
When I turned nineteen, I began to have mixed feelings about getting to know the place where my parents were born. This came at a time when my parents began telling me, in more personal detail, about what it was like growing up, and the struggles that they were presently facing.
In university I pursued my passion of history and literature. I began to understand and learn about the world around me in more interesting and meaningful ways. I was more aware of global and local problems and acquired more knowledge on subjects that I always wanted to know about, like the spread of religion, literature, Video Game culture, and surprisingly English grammar.
It was sometime during April of this year, when everything around me began to collapse and I needed to get out. By the end of the semester I had made up my mind to go to Lebanon and live with my grandmother for a month.
My trip to Lebanon could only be described as magical. I saw a whole new world and culture that was both alien and familiar. What began as a touristic adventure to explore the history of this country became a pilgrimage of discovering my roots at last. Walking in the old Phoenician city ruins and crusader castles, seeing the devastating effects of the civil war and the places where my parents grew up, I finally felt a peace in my warring soul. This was also my home. I was not a passer-by tourist in Lebanon and I was not just a Canadian back at home. For me they finally became one.
When I returned back home four weeks later, I was able to answer, "What nationality are you?" with "I'm Canadian-Lebanese."
Concordia U. student Amber Bressi is an aspiring script-writer who spends her days mischievously plotting a secret plan to get her into the almost impenetrable force field of Hollywood. Graduating from English Literature in April, Amber's first phase of action is almost complete. Her next plan is to pursue a Masters of Fine Arts in Professional Screenwriting from National University, in L.A. There she will be able to network herself in the birthplace of the silver screen - a location where she would one day like to call her home.
A writer, reader, and vegetarian food-eater based out of Montreal, but with a long list of places she would like to travel. Loves to be involved in the community through volunteering, looking for interesting local events or just exploring the beautiful city of Montreal. She graduated from McGill with majors in English literature and psychology, but continued her studies at Concordia in creative and professional writing. Currently acting as editor for the word section of Montrealities where she hopes to promote Canadian literature, creative expressions, and the joysof reading a good book.
DVDFiend is one of the movie editors on this site. He chose to write for that section because he is not qualified to talk about anything else on the site. He has close to two thousand movies at home, but confesses that many of them are in budget "50 in 1" sets. He is also a "Computer Science / Professional Writing" student at Concordia University (Montreal) until he graduates this spring. His future plans involve a westward migration.
Melanie Lavoie is the music editor on Montrealites.ca. She grew up in a house with floor-to-ceiling boxes filled with records and got to attend concerts from a very young age. As a mother, she likes to take her kids to rock concerts so they don't miss out on life. She also likes to play in the kitchen with sugar as an essential part of the recipe, testing various recipe books. When bored and with spare time, she enjoys pulling the strings on her faithful bass.
A girl who dreams about travelling the world and exploring new cities and places. She studies English Literature and Professional Writing at Concordia University, hoping to land "a job that every girl would die for" at a fashion magazine. Keeping up with trends, she enjoys the latest fashions and implementing healthy living. Editor of the Fitness section, she wants to share what she knows and what she implements in her life with you as a reader!
HIIIIIII friends!!! Kristine is a 4th year student at Concordia U currently enrolled in History and Professional Writing. Althought she enjoys school, the whole homework thing isn't for her. Editor of the Habitat section of Montrealites, Kristine writes about everything FABULOUS about her beautiful city. When she's not busy cleaning up the drama in her life, she enjoys globetrotting and spending her free time trying new restaurants and clubs with her friends.
Samantha Elisa Lotti is part of the Concordia University Arts and Science program, major in History and a minor in Professional Writing. My intense personality has rewarded me to go beyond my limits and push myself till the bitter end. My goal is to inspire you to explore the city of Montreal on a meaningful level. Searching for clues of the past that help explain the present of this wonderful city.
As the Sports Editor of Montrealites, Tara Hennemann is an avid social media user who'll never shy away from talking any and all things football-related. With a McGill certificate in Public Relations already in tow, Tara is currently pursuing a major in Human Relations with a minor in Professional Writing at Concordia University. Born and raised in Montreal, she balances full-time work with a part-time course load. She feels prettiest when she sweats and relieves stress by setting aside time to workout regularly. She has recently challenged herself to launch her online blog in time for next year's NFL kickoff, where she'll continue to share her passion for sports writing.
A long-time Concordia employee trying her hand at the student thing, Manuela's working toward a degree in English literature with a minor in professional writing. A lover of mystery books and programs, animals, and baking, she's working on a new love: an addiction to JewelQuest and Bejeweled games on Steam, proving that you can learn things from your kids.
The girl is a professional writer and editor. Her love for Montreal's food culture currently has her acting as contributing editor for the Local Food Market Guide. She digs poetry, music, and Turner Classics. Follow the links to take a tour into the creative life of Ruby Aria.
Natasha's love for writing started when she realized the you're and your error made her cringe. A soon-to-be graduate from Concordia University, she is the editor for the Fitness section at Montrealites. Besides writing, Natasha is a dog enthusiast, a lover of love, and a candy addict. She aspires to be a writer/editor so that she can contribute to the society in her own way - by correcting one spelling mistake at a time.