By Christine Dionisio
I just got off the phone after speaking with FCM co-founder Abel Pagaling, and I am thankful for this opportunity to share my thoughts, ideas, experiences and what I’ve learned from these experiences to fellow Filipinos.
Abel encouraged me to talk about what I am most passionate about — and that is helping fellow immigrants get settled in their first home in Calgary.
As a new immigrant over ten years ago, I was idealistic. I expected to:
- Get the job I wanted (similar to what I had in the Philippines or even in a higher position) and provide well for my family
- Drive a nice car, and
- Afford a nice, big home. I told you I was idealistic, and I know I am among many of us. But in a few weeks, I realized all of these are hard to achieve quickly.
You would not get accepted in a job you know you are very qualified for simply because “you have no Canadian experience.” But how can you have a Canadian experience if they don’t hire you? So you work part-time jobs or accept entry level jobs while we upgrade our education or change our career.
And you can’t be approved for a credit card or get a car loan because “you have no Canadian credit history”. But how can you have a credit history if they don’t give you a credit card or a loan? So, you deposit $500 or $1000 as a security to get a secured credit card with the same credit limit. Some banks today have better credit programs for new immigrants.
Having #1 then #2 then #3 is not easy. Others even took more than five years to finally get settled. So, what does “getting settled” mean to me? It means, being happy with my job, doing what I want to do & getting paid well enough to meet my family’s needs, being around friends, being part of a “community” and finally being in a beautiful place that I can call “my sweet home.”
Ever wonder why almost everyone rush to get home during rush hour? The excitement of arriving home, kicking off our shoes and reuniting with our family motivates us to “hurry home”.
Home – our place of rest, our solace, and refuge. It is our place of privacy, protection, and relaxation. It is a place we can let loose, be ourselves or hide from everybody else. That is why a home is vital for us to provide for our families. That is what I am passionate about! It gives me so much joy and fulfillment to see a new immigrant finally settle into their very own, first home.
Over the next issues of this magazine, I will be sharing tips on how to achieve this sooner. I am already excited!
Christine lives in Calgary, Alberta. She is married and has four wonderful children. She is an active member and volunteer in her community and a servant worker in her church. She is passionate about helping new immigrants and temporary foreign workers. She’s also one of the top Realtors in Calgary, with multiple awards from Century 21 Canada and a consistent Top Producer for Century 21 Bravo Realty. She can be reached at Christine.Dionisio@century21.ca or through her website at www.ChristineDionisio.com
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