It’s February in Canada and the temperature is below the freezing point. The people are shaking in the cold, harsh winter wind and the ground is entirely covered by a thick layer of white ice. Pheak Kdey, who is 30-years-old, drives his BMW through the blistering cold every day to work at his gas station. But today, he is taking time to join a meeting with other ethnic Cambodians to discuss their action plan for 2010.
The six-strong Khmer Youth Association of Alberta has contributed substantially to its community since it was founded in 1994 in Calgary, a sprawling city in western Canada. Pheak Kdey, who migrated from a border camp in 1983 during the civil war in Cambodia, was raised and educated here, and now runs a family business.
Pheak Kdey is one of many young Cambodians who have grown up in a foreign country, and he said that this hasn’t always been easy. “My parents had a difficult time adapting to a new life in an unfamiliar culture, surrounded by people speaking a foreign language,” he said. “But I enjoyed making new friends at school, and I became a coordinator between my parents and other people in our community.” After graduating from high school, Pheak Kdey began working at a gas station and seven years later, he was the station’s owner.
Continue reading “Letter from Abroad: Struggling Life”