My mother was 18 years old when she boarded a plane and left her family and friends in Argentina in order to move to Toronto in hopes of finding prosperity. In Argentina, my mother would have been considered poor, by our standards, and she knew that Canada could offer her the opportunities, experiences, and value that she could not find in Argentina. She had every intention to move back to Argentina after accomplishing what she sought out to do, however, as evident in the LiPuma and Koelble reading regarding globalized cities, her new habitus drew her in and kept her here. She married my father, had two children, and started progressing in her career. Now, almost twenty-six years later, she is still toying with the decision to either move back or stay here. My father was 20 years old when he moved to Toronto. He was born in Iran, and was fully content and happy with the idea of staying there for the rest of his life. However, the thought of her children being in close proximity to the Iranian war was unbearable to my grandmother, who subsequently “shipped” her four children out of the country. My father moved to Toronto, while his other siblings chose to inhabit France. My parents moved here for different reason and under different circumstances, yet both have remained here for over twenty-six years, and with the semi-serious intent of moving back to their respective homelands. Did the social imaginary that they both created influence there prolonged stay in Canada?
Being a globalized city, Toronto had many different cultures flowing throughout the city. My mother immediately moved in with a distant family member, also Argentinean. My father moved in with his childhood friend, also Iranian. When my parents first moved to Toronto, they constructed this social imaginary, whereby they felt most connected to their homelands and their culture by associating themselves around individuals and groups who shared their same ethnic identity. However, over the years, my mother has assimilated into the Canada, acquiring elements of Canadian culture, especially in her efforts to raise my sister and me, while my father has resisted this assimilation. Alternatively, my father has maintained a household based strictly on Persian values and norms. In society, he speaks Farsi 90% of the time, only socializes with other Persian people, eats only Persian foods, and only watches Persian movies and television programs. He has tried his best to maintain his own ethnic identity, far away from the influences of Canadian traditions and norms. Therefore, while my mother has come to consider herself a Canadian, she has somewhat lost her original ethnic identity. My father, on the other hand, is first and foremost a Persian man, who does not consider himself Canadian other than his choice to live here.
I found this week’s reading “Cultures of Circulation and the Urban Imaginary: Miami as Example and Exemplar” to be quite valuable. It helped to foster a critical understanding of ethnoscapes, but also provided a critical comparison for the movement of my parents. I found this reading to be relevant to my family’s experiences and therefore gave me a more comprehensive viewpoint of why my parents may have decided to stay in Toronto (longer than initially planned).