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My family immigrated to Canada in 2008. At the time, my son was in middle school, and my daughter was in kindergarten. Everything around me was new, and I didn’t have enough English skills to adapt to the unfamiliar environment.
One day, when my husband was away in China, I had to go to an interview with my son’s teacher. I put my daughter in the back seat of the car and then I drove off to school. Just as we were getting near, I realized I was low on gas, so I stopped at a gas station. This was the first time when I had to fill-up the tank by myself, as my husband usually did that. I didn’t know how to operate the gasoline pump and how to use the bank card. I tried pressing on the pump several times, but it did not work. My interview time had already passed, so I decided to stop trying and go to my son’s school. I took the nozzle out of the tank, and just as I did that, the gas sprayed out with force through the open car window, all over my daughter, drenching her completely. I put the nozzle back into the pump and ran to my daughter, who was crying. I, too, started to cry.
I drove back home and changed my daughter’s clothes, then we drove back to my son’s school, even though I’d long missed the interview time. We got to school two hours late, and I told the teacher about what had happened. She could smell the gas on my daughter, and she was very sympathetic.
I believe every immigrant to Canada experiences challenges when faced with this new environment. Even though this happened fourteen years ago, it is a memory I will never forget.
stories of home, memories, turning points
© Jennifer Yuan
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Yuan, Jennifer, "Gas Station" (2023). Memories and Turning Points. 7.