Back in the summer of 2021, in the midst of my photography college program, I was working on a project titled “Assimilation”. Even though I immigrated from Estonia to Canada in 2003, I still cannot call it my home. I always ask myself whether it is possible to integrate completely in the new environment or whether we move back and forth through different stages of assimilation. This school project turned out to be the perpetual work in progress.
Tatiana, whom I have known for many years, is an immigrant from Ukraine; she settled in Montreal in 2009 with her daughter, husband-in-law and granddaughter. As the war ravaged Ukraine, she fostered four Ukrainian refugees at her house while they were trying to rebuild their lives. The girls have moved on to their own apartments but everyone still keeps in touch. I had a chance to meet these girls to hear their stories, to find out about their assimilation process. I am humbled by everyone’s warm welcome, hospitality and openness towards me. You made me cry.