I first met Maria and Viktoria on a pleasant October night, we agreed to have tea at a trendy Old Montreal cafe. The girls greeted me with their smiles and we entered inside the coffee shop with its inviting armchairs and cushy couches. We slowly broke the ice over warm tea and tasty pastries. The girls, who arrived in Montreal in April, miss home with their family get-togethers and warm dinners tremendously and admit that their first weeks in Canada were strenuous – endless paperwork, lengthy phone conversations, search for an apartment, job hunting – all in a matter of weeks.
Maria, who is twenty-two, works as a pastry chef at a busy Old Montreal restaurant and Viktoria, who is eighteen, works as a server at a hotel downtown. The girls are constantly asking themselves if they will stay in Montreal as they never studied French but they are not planning to go back home anytime soon even though their parents and siblings are still in Ukraine. The girls share their plans for the future, full of hope and ideas. The cafe is about to close, we finish our conversation and set a date for the next weekend at their place.