One resilient woman inspires another

Toronto Inspires when the resilience and generosity of one immigrant woman inspires resilience and admiration in a Toronto newcomer.

Shared by Jiraporn Sonpaveerawong

jenna DSC_0452Can you remember your experiences when you first came to Canada? I strongly believe you haven’t forgotten them.

Patra is curly-haired, brown-eyed and of medium height. I met her by chance last year and didn’t make contact with her again until this February. She and her four children have been surviving in Scarborough for more than ten years. The stick-to-it-ness in Patra’s principles is seeing her glass half full and understanding knowledge is power. This inner drive forced her to attend many courses for her new career. As many people who have taken a health professional license know, it is very difficult. High tuition fees and one year of clinical research training haven’t supported her to find a job because most of the positions were in the USA.

Time passed day by day. Meanwhile, the cost of living for her family was increasing. She realized that her dependents can’t wait so long for her trial and error solutions. She started her own business, a Thai cuisine restaurant, after attending a food handling and culinary course. She trained her four kids to help in her business by having them deliver food to customers and be food handlers in the restaurant. Her rugged life was not smooth due to her ultimately losing her restaurant capital.

Life must go on. She survived by working a part time job as a chef, at the same time as taking a realtor course. As the real estate business has been booming for the past decade, she has earned much money from this career. She has also been working as a chef to gain more experience. Perhaps, she will be an owner of a Thai restaurant again. She encourages her four children, who are now teenagers, to continue working as chef assistants and food handlers to support in her future business.

Listening to her open-hearted stories has motivated me to fight to the end. Her heartfelt character and generosity led her to be an impressive person and a close friend. Patra’s experiences have helped me to understand living in Toronto. It’s not necessary to start from zero.

How come I met this resilient woman? She is concerned about my difficulties in finding accommodation and settling down to life in a new place. So, she drove with me to many places to buy everything and gave me suggestions about how to select things suitable for living in Etobicoke. Her most important quality is her generosity.

Patra, thank you so much for your friendship and your kindness.

Thank you for your inspiration.Inspirational Takeaway: Resilience fosters resilience.

Another reason Toronto Inspires: Shared by Jiraporn Sonpaveerawong, a recent newcomer from Thailand


Chechen Garzni Hovl: The original Rice Krispy square?

Toronto Inspires when Esila Yusupova generously shares her Chechen culture and classic dessert, Garzni Hovl, with ESL classmates.

Chechna dessert Garzni Hovl

Esila with her Chechen dessert Garzni Hovl

Bakers and non-bakers alike know making Rice Krispy squares is a snap. A comparable honey-infused Chechnya dessert is not so easy. Imagine having to begin by first making the Krispy pieces… individually… from scratch. Yikes! That fictional undertaking is the equivalent to the day-long pursuit the traditional Chechen dessert Garzni Hovl requires. Luckily for those attending Toronto ESL classes with Esila Yusupova, she prepared and generously shared this not-too-sweet, verging on savoury, Chechen labour of love. In the process, Esila’s efforts have strengthened ties with her new Canadian community who appreciated sampling this delicious representation of her native cuisine.

In Chechyna, Garzni Hovl is an integral ingredient of family milestone celebrations. An illustration, following a Chechen wedding, it is customary for the new mother-in-law to make an ‘official’ visit to the mother-of-the-bride’s home, a gesture that fosters familial relationships. Part of the ritual typically includes bringing gifts and, most-notably, a multi-tiered version of Garzni Hovl. To commemorate her own 10th wedding anniversary, Esila created this beloved sweet for her classmates to enjoy.

Inspirational Takeaway: Generously sharing traditional foods connects communities. 🙂

For those curious to learn more, here are two step-by-step guides. The first is a picture version of how to make Garnzi Holv (also called Garziny-H’avl) from which photos below have been sourced. The second is a video lesson by Chrystal Callahan. Recipes do vary. Esila stresses that in her version, she uses only flour and eggs in the dough, and only honey in the drizzle.

Chechen Dessert Step 1

Garzni Hovl: Making the Krisp #1

Chechen Dessert Garzni Hovl Step s

Garzni Hovl: Making the Krisp #2


Another reason Toronto Inspires: Shared by Lynda Chubak

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