The Shoe Project

The Click That Changed My Life
By Roxana Goerlitz



I was born in southern Chile. My hometown is a port city called Lebu. At the farmers’ markets in southern Chile, there are stands full of clothing made of sheep’s wool. I bought my purple and fuchsia sheep’s wool toque in a market in Patagonia. I loved those colours. 

Chile is a beautiful and diverse country. However, there are many things that disappoint me about the society: the inequality, injustice and high cost of living. Also, I had a dysfunctional childhood during which I was physically and psychologically abused by my mother and bullied at school. Even as a child, I sometimes did not feel fully settled there. I thought of moving away many years ago. I had just finished my studies, and I did not have money to leave, so I focused on finding a job. I got one as an operations auditor.

In November of 2013, I suggested living abroad to my boyfriend. We tried to apply to New Zealand, but their system collapsed because of too many applicants. My boyfriend suggested the USA. When I started to research it, I accidentally clicked on “Immigration Canada”. Out of curiosity, I created an account. Then I forgot about it.

A while later, my boyfriend and I broke up. He didn’t really want to go anywhere. I was determined to travel. I planned to reapply to New Zealand because my younger brother was there. But then I received an email from Immigration Canada stating they required my documents. I sent them even though I did not think I would be accepted. After a few months, surprise! I was accepted for a one-year working visa in Canada. I chose Calgary because I like nature, outdoor activities and the mountains. 

By the end of March 2015, I was here, alone in a country I never expected to be in. I brought my toque with me. I wore it when I went to my work in a restaurant, when I taught Spanish and when I volunteered. My Patagonia toque was not lined, so it was better for spring and fall than for the Canadian winter.

I fell in love with Canada immediately. The Calgary people were tolerant and respectful. I liked starting a new life far from the Chilean culture and my past. When the time came in 2016 for me to leave because my visa was expiring, I was extremely distressed. I did not want to go. I left full of sorrow.

I went to Ireland to improve my English, take the proficiency in English test and apply to some Canadian immigration programs. When I visited the Irish Cliffs of Moher, I looked out across the Atlantic Ocean and wondered if I would ever be able to live in Canada again.

I returned to Calgary in 2018 to visit friends and then planned to go east or to the territories to find a job. Due to the economy, I knew that finding an employer who would sponsor me in Alberta would be difficult. I was happy to retrieve all my cool-weather clothing, including my toque, from a friend’s house here.

And then I met a wonderful man. I wasn’t expecting anything. I never thought that having a Canadian boyfriend would work because of cultural differences. I thought nobody would like me because of my temporary situation here. I was wrong. On one of our dates, I wore my toque and we went for a walk in Fish Creek Park. We got married last June.

I am blessed. Canada is a wonderful country and I am here in the company of a fantastic man who is everything for me: my partner, my friend and my family.


Roxana Goerlitz was born in Chile and has a bachelor’s degree in business administration. She came to Calgary in 2015 and then again in 2018 and currently volunteers at the New Canadian Friendship Center.


Other Shoe Stories from Calgary, January 25, 26, 2020:

Butterflies of Love

The Crocheted Hat

Virtual Dreams

Snow at the Border

My Educated Head Scarf

Home Sweet Home

The Click that Changed My Life

My Hooded Homeland Jacket

The Blackfly Hat

My Borrowed Hat

My Big Pink Hat

Rainbow Head Scarf

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