On September 3, 2012, my life took a very sudden turn. What I had hoped would be a vacation or a simple family visit turned out to be something so unexpected, surprising and permanent. I was just 10 years old when I was forced to face the world alone with just my mom and my sister.
Leaving Japan, where I was born and raised, felt like I had leave everything behind. It was unbearable to even think about how I had to leave my dad, especially not knowing when I would see him again. I grew up in a multicultural family, who all had different beliefs. My mom is from Peru. She is a Christian, who believes that the only way to Heaven is through Jesus Christ. My dad is a very loving, friendly and good-hearted man who respects other religions and beliefs. He is Muslim but gives us the choice of picking our religion and how we want to live our lives.
Our first stop on this journey was Florida in the United States. At first it was very difficult since we had to live in an RV with seven people because we were waiting for our cousin’s house to be built. Then we visited my Aunt Jenna's house. However, she didn't consider our point of view or our background. One day, after we went back to our cousin’s RV, my mom decided to stay at a motel for a few days because I was sick and she didn't want to disturb them. The second or third day at a motel, we heard the doorbell ring. My cousin stood very anxiously outside the door and beside him was a stack of luggage that looked awfully familiar. Taking a better look we all noticed that those suitcases belonged to us. He was still standing very anxiously and finally broke the silence and said, “Here's your luggage. We thought it would be best for us to bring you your luggage because we thought that you weren't coming back.” Who knows if he had guilt in his heart. But he chose to do whatever he thought was best for him, leaving a single mom and two kids with no permanent place to go. Right after he left we all sat on the bed, still surprised at how someone could be so self-centred as to completely stop caring about a family. The room was silent and felt very empty. My sister, who was like every teenager at the time and didn't enjoy showing emotions, started uncontrollably sobbing. Following my sister, we all started crying, unable to hold our tears back. I assumed that they were crying for the same reason I was. We must have all been scared of the unknown, the undiscovered, and the unexplored.
Later that month, we rented an apartment right in front of my elementary school. I loved every minute I spent at my new school. Everyone was so nice and I had the best teacher, Miss Jackie. Everything was fun and games until it was time to say goodbye so that we could continue on our journey. I remember being very embarrassed that I was sobbing on my last day of school. Miss Jackie gave me a teddy bear that every single one of my classmates hugged so when I missed them I could hug the teddy bear and it would be just like I was hugging one of them.
Vive La Casa was a refugee home in Buffalo that helped us with some of the paperwork to get into Canada, which was our final destination. When we were at the Buffalo border to get into to Fort Erie, Canada, my mom had to answer a lot of questions in English. My Aunt Jenna, who was Canadian and was supposed to come to immigration with us to translate and to help my mom answer some of the questions, decided that she couldn’t get away from her work in time. My mom had to prove that she left Japan on the 3rd of September 2012, but when we were in Buffalo, she thought that we wouldn't need any our flight documents, so she threw them out. As a result of not having the documents to prove that she actually left Japan that day, the officers at the border were calling her a liar.
After an intense argument, my mom was finally able to take a few minutes to relax and get herself together. I could see the frustration taking over my mom’s face. A lady approached my mom and asked her what was wrong. My mom was so relieved that she was finally able to talk to someone who spoke Spanish. She explained how she had no way of proving what day she had left Japan. This lady insisted on my mom checking the luggage to see if there was anything that might help my mom prove her point. Because the lady insisted so much, she opened the first zipper of her luggage, with not even the slightest bit of hope and there it was, the page from the travel agency that stated our departing and arriving dates. It was like the lady knew the whole time that it was in there. My mom's face changed from a frown to a huge smile in a split second. After showing the officers the paper, they started to take my mom seriously and finally let us into Canada, which is now the place we can call home.
I never knew the purpose of trials in this life, but now I can clearly see how God guides us through our darkest days. He will use anyone to help us through our unknown, unexplored, or our undiscovered journey, just as he has helped me get on the right path on my adventure. God’s plan is always perfect. You are never there by accident and God has a purpose for each one of us. I’ve made life-long friendships and unforgettable memories in this long journey because God has always been there to support me.