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“If he feel like thinking about negatively he will take a long time, but if he feel like about positive and he will think like only about something positive it will go like easy for him.”


Originally from Syria, Nassar and his family lived in Lebanon for five years before arriving in Canada in 2016 as refugees. They were uncertain of what their lives would be like at first; Nassar shares that he was quite uncomfortable when he got off of the plane and felt the cold winter weather. After they arrived at their residence, he found he was depressed because he couldn’t walk around town comfortably, and it kept him inside of his home. He shares that the “first time he come to Canada he felt alone, like in a darkness or alone in a big place or desert or something like that.” Nassar’s son shares that he was “lost. He don’t know the ways north or south or where he want to go or what he want to do.” In fact, he even considered moving his family back to Syria, as finding a job has been difficult given dominant requirements for English proficiency.


But Nassar grew to like the winter, and he chooses to face difficulty to discover happiness: “You can use the winter to have the fun.” He has since found Red Deer to be a welcoming community, and as such, he considers all of Red Deer a comfortable place. Because of its size, Nassar finds it easier to get around and connect with people. One of his favourite ways to do this is to visit the library twice a week to read and talk to others. As he says, “Reading and education is very helpful for you and it’s like a light for your dream or way to the future.”


Nassar’s outlook on learning reflects the opportunity he sees in Canada and the promise of good futures for his children, futures that he can already see unfolding; his two oldest kids are preparing to go to university, and he is very proud. In consideration of their educational endeavors, the whole family plans to move so they can stay together while his older children study. His son shares that Nassar “challenge himself to stay here for [them], like for his children to get a safe place and a school and education” despite his own professional struggles. When he is asked about his own dreams, however, he admits that they truly revolve around his family’s well-being: “He wants to see his life like a very good happy life with his family.”