Our Journey to Canada
Meet Tita Magdeline Kyrtsakas, a proud Italian and Greek-Canadian. Tita has a BA in English Literature & Drama from the University of Windsor, a Masters of Arts in Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies from the University of Toronto, and is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Education at the University of Windsor. To say she loves school would be an understatement. Tita is passionate about writing and giving back to her community. She currently volunteers at Riverfront Theatre Company, is the Co-Editor of the Feminist Space Camp Magazine, and is a writer for The DRIVE Magazine. Tita loves to write poetry and hopes to bring joy to the people she meets. While reflecting on her family's immigration story this is what she had to say: 🌻 "I remember in grade 12 Biology class, our teacher asked the class if any of us had families who immigrated to Canada. She was surprised to see how many hands flew up in the air when a group of us identified as first-generation. I was thrilled my hand was raised. I’ve spent my life celebrating the fact that I have European parents. My dad immigrated to Canada from Greece when he was two years old and my mom emigrated Sicily when she was just turning eight. My mom was old enough to remember how traumatizing the experience was, leaving everyone and everything she knew behind. 🌻 When I think about my family, the first thing that always comes to mind is that we’re halfers: half-Greek, half-Italian. My siblings, George, Maggie, Zoe, and Chloe (twins) and I grew up on Panelle (chickpea Sicilian fritters) & Moussaka (basically Greek lasagna); Nutella sandwiches rolled in Wonder bread, and rice pudding fresh from my Yiayia’s stove. We have heavily accented grandparents with stories that could fill books, and every time the World Cup and the Euro Cup occur, my dad proudly sticks both the Greek and Italian flag in the planters on our front porch. 🌻 But when I travel, and a person asks, “Where are you from?” I always respond Canada. I say, “Windsor, right across from Detroit.” Because really, Canada is home. I was born here; I grew up in the wide culture of maple syrup, Justin Bieber, and poutine. I’ve had 21 years (and counting) of schooling on Canadian grounds, and respectfully, on Indigenous lands. Canada gave my grandparents and parents the opportunities that they couldn’t foster in their birthplaces.
When I think about what my family sacrificed to come here, to a land of massive amounts of snow in the winter and English as the primary language, I’m grateful and honoured that I had the opportunity to grow, educate, and become an active citizen to contribute to the country. My siblings and I have had opportunities that my parents dreamed of. My parents have given us the world through their own struggles and triumphs, and I’m endlessly grateful for my Big Fat Greek-Italian-Canadian life."