The CPN newsletter features stories about newcomers who come to call Greater Victoria home. In this segment, we ask a newcomer to share a bit about their personal lives, and the challenges and successes of coming to a new community.
Where were you born and raised?
I was born and raised In Mexico City, where I lived until I was 16 years old. After I turned 16, I moved to Cabo San Lucas in the state of Baja California del Sur.
Tell us about your family
My parents are from Mexico City where I was born and raised. I have two sisters and two brothers. We are part of a large family. My parents both come from even larger families. My mother has eight brothers and sisters. My father has ten brothers and sisters, so you can imagine how many cousins I have. It is almost like a small village!
How many languages do you speak?
I can speak two languages, English and Spanish.
What do you want people to know or understand about your cultural heritage?
I would like Canadians to understand that my Mexican heritage and culture very much value our close-knit families and the time that we spend together. As a family, we celebrate many things in life through endless celebrations, parties and get togethers.
Why did you decide to come to Victoria?
I came to Victoria after meeting the love of my life and future wife, Micol. I first met her in Cabo San Lucas 20 years ago and we have been together since. We then got married and started our own family here in Victoria and are now raising our two children.
What kind of work do you do in Victoria and why do you enjoy doing it?
I love to organize and promote Latin American cultural events as a hobby. I’m very passionate about Latin music — like salsa, cumbia, reggeaton — and Latin dancing. Currently, I am organizing an annual Latin American Festival called Viva Victoria! Latin Fest that will take place in Centennial Square in August 2019.
What are three things/qualities you appreciate about living in Victoria and the community?
Three things I appreciate about living in Victoria? First of all, this a safe and friendly community to raise a family. Secondly, I enjoy the diversity of the people. And thirdly, the weather is the best in Canada — but not as warm as Mexico!
What have been some of the challenges about adapting to life in Victoria?
The challenge I found when I first moved here have been the difficulty with finding good and meaningful employment. With regard to discrimination, there have been situations, from time to time, that I have experienced unprovoked and ignorant comments people have made about me being Mexican or a Latino. I try to ignore those types of behaviours.
What things do you miss about not living in Mexico?
I miss the food of Mexico, the lively culture and atmosphere, and, of course, my family.
What are some favourite things you enjoy doing here in Victoria?
I enjoy hiking, going to the movies with friends and playing soccer with my family.
What successes you have experienced in Victoria?
I have been fortunate to share my Mexican heritage and culture with other Canadians. In 2018, for example, I organized the first ViVa! Victoria Latin Festival which had over 2,500 people attend the daylong event. I have also hosted a range of Latino music and dance events as well as fundraisers for Cuba and Mexico at different locations throughout Victoria. And now that I have two kids, Biagio and Isabella, during the past five years I have enjoyed volunteering as a soccer coach for their teams and being part of the Peninsula Soccer Association.