Brazilians born in Canada maintain their roots

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Meet Regina and family.

By Luciana Tuzino

Regina and Sofia.

Regina Filippov is a Real Estate Agent who truly understands the dilemmas faced by Brazilian immigrant parents whose Canadian-born children don’t want to return to their parents’ native land. Regina is a resident of Canada for over 40 years. She sacrificed returning to her native land twice in order to be closer to her family – the first time was because of her children, and the second was because of her granddaughter.

“My children, Michael and Sandi were born here and were raised as Canadians. They never spoke Portuguese outside of the home because they did not want to be different”, tells Regina. She made the attempt to return to Brazil when her children reached school age, but the move was unsuccessful. Because her children were accustomed to the security of a first world country, they felt imprisoned in their home in Brazil. Upon returning to Canada, her family settled in Toronto.

The funny thing is that today, Michael at the age of 38 and Sandi at the age of 35, have become great admirers of everything that is Brazilian. Michael is a member of a Samba band in Toronto. Sandi went to Rio de Janeiro for a vacation 11 years ago and never returned to Canada. “She fell in love with the city”, states Regina.

Since her son is well established in Canada and her daughter is living in Brazil, When Regina was finally ready to realize her old dream of returning to her native land, this dream was interrupted by the birth of her first granddaughter. “Once again, I unpacked my bags and decided to stay. I don’t regret it, my granddaughter makes me very happy.”

Regina puts up with the severe Canadian winters for the love she has for her granddaughter Sofia. “You can live here 20, 40 years and never really get used to the low temperatures. The winter seems to get longer each year”, she says. The only way to “break the ice” was to travel to Brazil every year during the Canadian winter. Her granddaughter now accompanies her. Sofia, who is now 3 years old, celebrated her 1st birthday in Brazil. She opens her almond shaped eyes with satisfaction when the subject of discussion is her next trip to the tropical country. This will be happening very soon.

Sofia’s parents, Michael and his Canadian wife, Elida, speak to her in English only. But when asked if she understands Portuguese, she quickly answers “sim” in her grandmother’s native language.

Regina says that Sofia knows the Brazilian culture: her favorite foods are rice, beans and farofa, and she goes to the middle of the room to dance whenever samba is playing. If this indicates anything is that, even though they feel at home in Canada, the second generation of Regina’s family stays up to date with the Brazilian culture. During the interview, Regina asked her granddaughter if she is Canadian and with a smile, Sofia responded, “I am Brazilian”.