Time flyes when you are having fun: Second anniversary of our landing in Canada

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Today marks the anniversary of our landing in Canada as Professional Working Class. It is a fancy name for those who ask the country to let us come and live here in exchange of helping the nation’s economy with our experience and professional background. The application process is very onerous and it is based on points. The more educated you are, and the more experience you have, the more points and opportunity to apply you are given.

My vast amount of experience includes a seamless navigation through very multicultural environments. I learned to appreciate people who are very different from me and with points of view and philosophies that would probably contradict my own. Research shows that the key to success in those environments is tapping into how the differences help you achieve a common goal and not how you can isolate yourself from them. Yes, I have also met horrible people with empty gazes on their faces trying to avoid me for not being “one of them”. And yes, I won’t even get started on the fact that most Canadian hiring managers won’t appreciate our international experience – an awful situation that leaves many of these wonderful professionals unemployed, working survival jobs, or at best sub-employed. Today is about celebrating two years in Canada, and the great things that came with it.

The Canadian culture was almost unknown to us when we landed. All I knew from my work interactions was that Canadians were very nice and easy-going. I set a goal of joining every single networking opportunity that crossed my way, especially those that were mostly Canadian in nature. My approach was to observe those interactions and every personality and analyze carefully what was appropriate and was not. The two things I learned from numerous business trips and working assignments were that “locals” don’t appreciate your own imposition on them, and that “foreigners” settle themselves apart in silos. I was determined to avoid that happening to our family. Once you are familiarized with the “locals” and they appreciate you for who you are and for your genuine interest in them, they are more welcoming of your own ideas and contributions.

That was how I entered the Oakville Newcomers Club Oakville Newcomers Club (ONC), the Oakville Moms meetup, the Oak Park neighborhood Centre , Las Divas de Oakville, and OWN, the Oakville Women Network. I have met wonderful women, amazing new friends and have had quite a few playdates for my kid as well. At first I was worried and disappointed when I saw my acquaintances from Venezuela making friends faster and starting to have a very active social life. I also wanted to be accepted and welcomed, but I am also shy and, as mentioned, I want to analyze people first so I know what they like and what they won’t. The best thing I love from my settlement in Canada is that my new circle of friends and network of support includes people from all backgrounds, personalities and even ages. I feel loved and cared for, and I am comfortable everywhere I go. I became famous in my graduate program class for my network and connections and very recently I received the same feedback from my fellow board members at the ONC. It took me 2 years, but today I feel almost settled, the loneliness is almost gone and feeling homesick and missing my old circle of friends and family happens with lesser frequency as well.
Those connections and friends have eased my transition from Corporate America to suburban entrepreneur mom – the latest being a lifestyle I never in my wildest imagination considered possible. To tell the truth, I was very wary and dreaded ever becoming one, mostly because of that fear of walking outside out of your comfort zone, and boy was I comfortable in Corporate America!

Colombia: improving international trade using strategic branding

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Colombia: A brilliant example of how strategic branding can boost international trade efforts.

Colombia: un ejemplo brillante de como ayudan en los esfuerzos de comercio internacional las estrategias de proyeccion de imagen

RT @thinkinglatino: http://thinkinglatino.ca/2011/05/08/colombia-building-their-own-brand/#more-2989

Patagonia, Home of the Gods

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Me too! RT @marketingwizdom: Somewhere I’d like to visit: Patagonia, Home of the Gods (Part I) @velvetescape http://ow.ly/3cWsi Un lugar al que me gustaria ir algun dia: Patagonia, al extremo sur de America!

The 10 countries most addicted to Twitter

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Argentina, Brazil, Canada, & Venezuela made it to the list… RT @sheamus: The 10 countries most addicted to Twitter. http://bit.ly/kgDsAf

Adding here my speech on my opinion on the elections process

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The prior posts on this blog were published as part of my Social Media class during my Public Relations graduate program. There was one speech on another class, that I have decided to share here, because I have a passion for what I say. Having been young and indifferent to the “adult” stuff, I faced first hand the consequences of not voting when the system works:

To vote or not to vote…

Hello, my name is Scarlet Estrada and I am a New Canadian. Years ago, I had little interest in elections and politicians. What difference would my vote make in the election process?

You have just watched what would be less than one minute in the life of real people fighting to have a right to vote or demanding a transparent election process.

The people of those countries have families, friends, a social life, university degrees, careers and lovely houses; they have a language everybody understands and a cultural heritage too. They are loved, they are cared for, and they are deeply missed when they are away. However, if the opportunity presents, they leave all that behind to come to countries like Canada so their kids can grow up in a democratic place.

They don’t take freedom for granted.

The country where I came from was formerly a blooming one. Immigrants came from many places attracted by its perks and opportunities. Their president came to power through a democratic process. He won in an election process marked by voters’ apathy. For many, there was simply no choice. He was supposed to stay five years and he has been there twelve. As soon as he took the job, he started changing the laws until he was able to stay “legally” forever. He doesn’t care for safety, or health, or the economy, or the roads, transportation, or anything. The only thing he cares is power. People voting against him are blacklisted and their social benefits taken away. Government loans, subsidized benefits, or even a simple passport request is denied or delayed for as long as it can be delayed. In the eyes of the government, they don’t deserve anything and they must be punished. His opponents have been harassed, silenced blackmailed, jailed and killed. Their properties have been taken away including their life savings. If you work for the government, and come out as an opponent, you lose your job. He has divided the country in two opposing forces, brother against brother, parents against their children, children against their parents. A small minority, his supporters, did make it to the election poll. Politicians know that in the international law system, the number of ballots in their favor is all that counts… not the number of people who did not vote. Many voters stayed home on Election Day and to this date, they blame the disgrace of the nation on those who voted for this president. I don’t think that way. If half of those people had voted for the other candidate, he would have never come to power… and I would not be here.

Now, let me ask you,

Are you going to vote in the next federal election?

I know I would, if I had the chance…

Video sources: YouTube
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Further than the end

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At the very end of my assignment I am struggling with my blog count and how well I did overall. I really don’t know if I am going to keep writing on this blog, or move back to the one I had before where I vented my frustration on finding a job as a professional immigrant. The one I should have named “in the middle of nowhere” due to my overqualified/underqualified profile rendering me no success at landing a career life in Canada.

Hey, on the other one I got paid… $10… but still 🙂

http://wallpapers.bassq.nl/Travel/South%20America/index.html#1

courtesy of wallpapers.bassq.nl

Anyways, as I was trying to come up with one post that would make it up, I remembered I had not written about Chile. And that is one country in South America that needs to be heavily publicized in terms of PR. Most of the people would remember Chile from the 2010 earthquake or the Chilean miners rescue.

Chile, as many other Latin American countries has a very diversified geography. They have a desert (Atacama), Andean mountains, the coastal range, the pacific ocean, the Patagonia, and, or course, Easter Island. This mysterious place is located at the southeastern most point of the Polynesian triangle and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage in 1995. Diversity has blessed the nation with a wide assortment of climates, landscapes and cultures… However, I love Chile for two things:

  • Chilean wine: Well, there  is no post or country mentioned on this blog that does not have a reference to an alcoholic beverage. Chile, with its fabulous wine, could not be an exception. They have a great industry and it is being sold with great market success in lots of countries. Chile is the ninth largest producer of wine in the world and the fifth largest exporter. They have a variety of grapes, mostly from the Spanish and French variety. The most common are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Carmenere. The National Geographic has two short blogs about the country and its perks.
  • Their progress: Chile, like any other South American nation, has had its ups and downs and a good number of dictators. The progress they have made in the recent past amazes me because they have become one of the biggest economic powers of the South. Their pension plan was recommended as a model to be used in Canada by the Montreal Economic Institute. “Pension funds accumulated $111.4 billion by the end of 2007 – 70 percent of gross domestic product – and helped to drive growth in what became known as Chile’s ‘miracle’ economy.” could be read in a NYTimes article  published in 2008. Chile is, and should be, a role model for the rest of the South American countries that want to succeed and progress.

To conclude here, I must say love the fact that Chile is my last country, at least in terms of class assignments, because of two reasons:

  • It ends at the very extreme of the massive piece of land formed by America, North and South, opposite to the location of my writing. Chilean people might feel like they are located at the beginning of the piece of land formed by the Americas and, in their perception, I would be at the end … Everything is relative! The good, the bad, the ugly and the pretty. It is all good in the eyes of its creator. One of the things I tried to communicate when I decided to share only good things about these countries.
  • I found the video below about two guys snowboarding in the Andean mountains of Chile. One of my team members is the biggest snowboarding fan I have (and probably will) ever met. If you met my team, you would think none of our members had anything in common. We might have been the most diverse team ever formed in this program, and yet, we managed to work well as a work group thanks to the common things, but mostly, thanks to our differences. The Chilean snowboarding video feels to me like a visual representation of the common ground. South and North, young and not so young, snowboarding, the end, not really. Can you see the connection? I do. ♥ Crew PR!

[note: After publishing this blog I found out that in terms of economic risk, Chile got rated in the top 10 of least risky nations. This is the first time for South American country and it is a confirmationof what I said on this post  Chile top 10 world’s least economically risky nations http://bit.ly/hePufc ]

Galapagos and world heritage cities

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When we first started the school semester I was told that we were to write from 12 to 24 blogs in about 14 weeks time. The item needed to stay relevant and engaging, copyrights on pics were to be respected and so on. I feared the assignment as I wondered how on earth I was going to find time to write (and research) that much. I also struggled a while trying to find a topic that would be general and new. I decided to write on South America as a way to publicize the great things the continent has to share. But my main goal was to counter act all the bad publicity about the region out there.
 
The time has come and sure enough I don’t have the minimum required and I am far from publicizing the whole continent on my blogs. Not only I struggled to find time to sit and write, sometimes I just felt I needed to write about something else. After I have read some of my classmates blogs I feel humble and concerned on how well I will do on my assignment. However, I feel good about the fact that I managed to put a few countries out there and profiled them as the great places they are.
Galapagos

courtesy of CIA the Worldfact book

Ecuador is another country in South America that can be called a hidden treasury. Once part of the Gran Colombia nation, it became a country in 1830 with Venezuela and Colombia.

Quito, its capital, is the second highest capital of the world and it has been declared a world heritage city. Besides Quito, there is the Galapagos archipelago, formed by 13 islands and 6 small isles. It is very well-known by historians, both amateur and professionals, because its wildlife inspired Charles Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection.

There is also Cuenca, a UNESCO World Heritage site, it is a lovely place to liberate stress and relax on hot saunas and natural mineral hot water.

The best thing about the country is the diversity you find in such a little place. You move from the coast, to the jungle, to the colonial sites, to the Andes and to the Galapagos.  I could write pages and pages about the beauty it has to offer, but I found this video that is simply amazing in portraying it.

Please enjoy!

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