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Becoming a Local

“Then came the winter. And, again, I was excited; ice skating, snowboarding, cross country skiing. But how can I teach my son something I don’t know how to do? I don’t have the time to learn. What will people think of me not knowing? I decided not to try. I am an immigrant and I didn’t want to reinforce the stereotypes. I let a year pass.”

– Excerpt from Becoming a Local – A Digital Story by Tannia Burelo

I originally met Tannia a year ago when I photographed her family for the Bow Valley Locals Project with the Bow Valley Immigration Partnership.

I quickly came to learn just what an amazing person she is and was ecstatic when Tannia agreed to co-create a digital story as part of the Stories of Resilience Project. Stories of Resilience was a collaboration between the Bow Valley Immigration Partnership, artsPlace, and the Canmore Museum, Kristy Wolfe Photography and, of course, Tannia!

Becoming a Local

In her digital story, Becoming a Local, Tannia tells her story as a newcomer to the Bow Valley. She shares what it was like to move to Canada from Mexico and to find herself within her new community.

I finally stood up on a snowboard! Getting off the chair was still terrifying, but, honestly, I didn’t want to give up. I gained more confidence. I took Julien to ski for the first time. And I joined a Crossfit gym. I was empowered. I was finding my community. I wasn’t so afraid. I felt happier. And I even hung out with my first Canadian mom friend.

– Excerpt from Becoming a Local


Everyone Needs a Cheerleader

After watching Tannia’s digital story that very same Canadian mom friend wrote the following post…

“Have you ever felt like an outsider at one point in your life? Know that you are not alone! Everyone at some point in their life has felt alone, not belonging, lost at where to start!

Meet my good friend Tannia Burelo! Tannia was born and raised in Mexico City. She completed a degree in Psychology and Human Resources at Universidad Del Valle De México and a certificate in Human Resources at York University, Toronto, Canada.  She speaks 2 languages, Spanish being her primary.  I mean I’m already impressed with these facts! But what made me embrace her and love her as my friend was her curiosity and willingness to put herself out there even though she was scared!  I myself am awkward and scared around new people let alone groups of people.  Its truly a struggle for me!  But meeting Tannia and learning about her insecurities and struggles and overcoming that as a new Canadian was truly inspiring!

She has created this beautiful inspirational story, with the help of Kristy Wolfe a gifted story teller and friend of ours. It is about her struggles of moving to a foreign land and entering into a whole new community, let alone a mountain life community here in the Bow Valley. Mountain life is beautiful but it is also intimidating! I encourage you to hear her humbling story and be inspired!

– Facebook post from Tammera

See what I mean! Everyone needs a cheerleader like that!!


One More Project

Recently, I was excited about reconnecting with Tannia and her son, Julien, at Adrienne Lawlor’s Crafting Calm workshop at artsPlace. Crafting Calm was a free art-making session for newcomer families with children under the age of ten. Unfortunately, Tannia ended up having to work, but I got to spend some time playing with cameras with Julien.

Kids experimenting with cameras before a class at artsPlace in Canmore.
Kids playing with cameras.

And photograph him and his cousin creating art together.

Two people paint pumpkins during Adrienne Lawlor's Crafting Calm class at artsPlace.

Want to Know More?

Tannia’s digital story, the Bow Valley Locals Project, the Stories of Resilience Project and Crafting Calm are just a few of the community projects over on my new website.

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