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Caregiver Inspiring Story: 7000 miles away from home


Name: Annie Chua
Career: Author of Domestically Yours: A Caregiver’s Inspiring Journey, Entrepreneur – Little Annie Kidzline , creator of Caregiver and Nanny World community, Logistics Specialist.
Years in Canada: 13 years
Province: Paranaque City

Q. What education did you receive in the Philippines and what was your career outlook there?

A. I graduated Bachelor of Science in Psychology at Centro Escolar University, got married at a young age so I wasn’t able to pursue my doctorate degree. Started with a family of 5 children. And with the death of my 3rd daughter and mother, I had decided to work my way up to improve our lives. In between those circumstances, I became a single mom to 4 daughters.

Eventually, I got an opportunity to gain experience with an export company which brought me to work 12 years with Expeditors International a global freight forwarder in Manila, Philippines, started in a clerical job and achieved a supervisory position as the company grows.

While on my overseas business meetings in Hong Kong (1996) and Thailand (1998), I met two hardworking ladies working as a domestic helpers in those countries and they both introduced the 24 months Live-in Caregiver program in Canada. That’s where I got interested in working overseas and thought this could be a good stepping stone to create a new life. I really wanted to specialise in in home care since I enjoyed that aspect thoroughly.

Q. Why did you decide to leave the Philippines and what made you choose Canada?

A. It was a very tough and courageous decision to leave my children behind in the Philippines while working in Canada as a caregiver. My intent is to give my children a better future. I never knew anybody to where I’m heading. So in 2003, I travelled 7000 miles away from home and faced the future with optimism.

I chose Canada because their government has a strong family immigration platform and diverse in their freedom of choice, rights and privilege for individual or group. The government of Canada has a more secure infrastructure, job and health system. During that time, they were the only country who has the 24 month live-in caregiver program. Now Australia and New Zealand followed.

Q. What was your first impression of Canada and what happened to your career here?

A. My first year was really tough for missing my children and family back home. I think I had a bucket of tears while waiting for my children to be with me. Honestly, I really don’t like the cold weather in Fort McMurray so I moved down to Edmonton and fell in love with the city. Though the weather is still cold but there’s a lot of things to do in this city like skiing, curling and skating. And I like the summer festivals set up in Edmonton like the Heritage festival, Folk fest, Family day, Food fest and a lot more.

My career blossomed after I finished the live-in caregiver program, though I did not leave the job right away, I took a part time job with Tim Hortons while at the same time took some courses with Canadian Institute of Traffic and Transportation -CITT in order to go back to freight forwarding industry. After the course, I put my name in the job bank website, and in a matter of week posting, I got hired by one of the global freight forwarding German company Kuehne & Nagel in Edmonton and continued with my upgrading in transportation while working with them. Luckily, I bought a townhouse in Southside Edmonton even though I was still in my open work permit status. After 5 years since I came to Canada, it was the happiest moment of my life when I successfully sponsored my 4 daughters and we were reunited.

In order for me to spend more time with my children, I moved to a Canadian freight forwarding company- which is closer to my home.

As a single mom, I thrived to make our living as comfortable as possible. So in order to support the family financially, I established Little Annie Kidzline selling infant and children clothing and accessories, which started in our basement, attended some trade shows and 6 years now in Mill Woods Town Centre.
What were the obstacles you had to face in the Canada and how did you overcome them?

Lots of sacrifices, adjustments in Canadian culture, weather, environment and society were the main obstacles I encountered. It takes a strong guts and determination to reach for my goals and tried to manage it day to day, taking one step at a time. I put God in the center of my life and asked for guidance and will power. It wasn’t easy but I managed to put them all together. Probably because of a strong belief and trust to our Almighty that I was able to make this dream come true.

I’m sharing this blessings in my published book Domestically Yours: A Caregiver’s Inspiring Journey which is available in print and in all multi media platform like Amazon , iBook store, Kobo and Nook. Links can be obtained in . It will surely inspire readers to reach for their dreams, take action and thrive for better situation.

Q. What are the most notable differences between the Philippines and Canada?

A. It is difficult to compare apple to mango. Or maybe we can easily distinguish their tastes and likings. Canada is a rich and financially stable country and started with a relatively established government while Philippines is still in the process of becoming one. Philippines will be able to reach their goals if the right group of people will run the country but it could take years to get the right ingredients. It has many resources to work on and discover more to share to the world. I hope that whoever will govern the Philippines will improve the broken system and will think not only inside but outside the box as well.

One thing that I would like to suggest the Philippine government is to look into a policy on how to protect the OFW – Overseas Foreign Workers because they are the backbone of the economy.
Without these OFWs, it would not be where it is today.

In fairness, I like the way the media is promoting the Philippines lately. Soon to be the Tiger of Asia….. well I think it used to be way back in 1970s and 80s…. I hope this will come true. It gives Filipino pride to go for it.

Are you still connected to the Philippines in some way?

Yes, I am still connected with my family in the Philippines. And hopeful that someday my brothers and their own families would be able to come here. I miss them so much. I had not been home since 2008 and if I have a chance, I will visit them.

Q. Where do you feel at home?

A. I grew up in Manila but I felt much at home in Canada because our family are growing bigger now that 3 of my daughters are settled and I have 2 wonderful grandkids. Also I found my soul mate Wes Frith and enjoying life with him.
what do you miss about the Philippines?

I miss my brothers so much and friends in the Philippines. Social media has played a major role in connecting us all. I found some high school and university classmates in Facebook and some former work mates in Linked In and Tweeter.
I also miss some of our local food specially fresh seafood, most of them here are frozen. I miss places like Tagaytay, north Luzon, Cebu and Bohol, their warm beaches and warm weather.
Frankly, I do not miss the crazy traffic in Manila (lol). In Edmonton or Alberta, there’s not much traffic and can easily get around the city and I love driving in the highway to the Rocky Mountains.


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