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Jadranka Belina, Bosnia to Canada

Jadranka Belina, Bosnia to Canada
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When the war started in 1992, I moved with my two kids from Bosnia to Serbia as a refugee.

My husband stayed because we were told that the war wouldn’t be that bad. He joined us six months later. We lived with my brother and his family in Serbia for three years.

We had never thought about living anywhere but Yugoslavia. We applied for a visa at the Canadian embassy and were accepted. I packed a few things that we had saved from back home.

It was hard to leave. Canada was so far from Serbia. In the end, though, I was so disappointed in my own country. My husband is fond of saying, “We adjusted to our new life on that plane.” We were Canadians already when we sat on that plane to Toronto.

When the kids arrived, at first they were OK. In the refugee center, there were other Serbian families with kids. We had a huge swimming pool across the street and a huge park. The center was taking us on different trips around the city. They never asked about home.

When we got our apartment, the kids started school right away. That’s when they started feeling … the language issue. My older one started complaining: “Why did we have to come here? I had friends back home. I had a bike. I had everything.”

In 1998, we became citizens. We were so happy and proud. We were born in a country that doesn’t exist anymore. 

We got a new country. When I go back home to visit my family, I don’t belong there anymore. When I come back to Canada I am coming back home.

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