Yahya- Beirut, Lebanon

Where are you from?

Beirut, Lebanon

What made you decide to move?

When I was in Grade six, my parents told us that they applied for emigration and they thought it would take two years, but then it took us 10 years and a half. So we almost forgot about it. And then I finished high school, went to university, got into a relationship. Then in third year of university, all of a suddent we received the permanent residency here. And my parents decided to go.

Was it a difficult decision? What was the most difficult part about leaving?

Since I was in a relationship at the time, I told my partner that I was leaving. It wasn’t a very good moment because everything happened so suddenly and nothing was really planned. This part was hard, if I knew from before that’s what’s happening, I could have told her. So we came here and she stayed there.

What was it like when you first arrived?

The first week I came here, my brother had a job, he was doing door to door sales of furnaces and air conditioning. So when I came, I had a job. The second week here, I started working. I didn’t know anything about Canada. Didn’t know anything about how things happen here.

The first day I knocked on a person’s door, he told me, I’m gonna call the police, you are here to rob my house. I’m not letting you in. So I said, okay, sorry to bother you, have a good day. And I left. I turned back and I saw him running behind me. He wanted to hit me. Then he couldn’t catch up with me, so he grabbed his car and started following me. I found someone on the street and asked to help me. This was my very first experience working here.

Every time I would get a rejection I would open my phone and start looking for architecture jobs. It was so hard, but then I found a program for architects who are new immigrants. I applied and was lucky to get it. And that was the end of the door to door sales.

As soon as I was done the program I knew where I wanted to work, I had a company in mind that I knew about even when I was in Lebanon.

I applied but they didn’t get back to me the first week. The next day they put up the same post, which meant they didn’t take anyone. So I applied again and they didn’t call me again, so then I called them. I told them, can I speak with the H.R. manager? They transferred me, but she didn’t pick up. I left a voicemail. They didn’t get back to me again, so I called the next day and did the same thing. They didn’t pick up and I left a voicemail. No one no one got back to me again. Then I applied again and they finally invited me for an interview and the day after I already had a contract from them



What are you most proud of so far and why?

The journey was tough but I am glad I got where I am and that I was able to bring my wife here so she wouldn’t have to go through what I went through.

What are some of the things that bring you the feeling of nostalgia about home?

I miss my family and my wife’s family, I also left all of my friends there too but also the Lebanese food, ofcourse. My favourite food is Manaqish. We used to eat that every day and that’s not very common here. So because I couldn’t find it, I learned how to do it at home. Recently, I discovered that I really like baking, so me and my wife started a Lebanese catering business.

The taste of the Middle East where the aromatic qualities of floral thyme and piney oregano are combined in a most delicious way by nutty toasted sesame seeds and lemony sumac.

Yahya reminisce about Lebanon and the traditional Lebanese cooking by trying to recreate the recipes at home, and the primary and most distinguishable ingredient that makes his pastries so unique is Zaatar.