This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of CBC for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

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I was born and raised in Colombia, South America. I had a large family with over 13 aunts and uncles  and I grew up surrounded by their love and attention. I fondly remember how nice it was to have family gatherings that were always packed with so many people that I loved dearly.

When I was around 17 years old my world changed completely. My Dad was transferred to Canada for engineering work and we decided to use the opportunity to permanently emigrate. As a teen my entire life was in Colombia such as my lifelong friends, close family and school. I had to prepare to leave everything behind and start fresh.

Although it was not easy to pack for a permanent move I remember thinking how material things come and go easily. I cleaned up my room and closets, donated and gave away most of my possessions and at the end everything I owned and I wanted to move to Canada with was packed in two large backpacks. That was all I needed!

Arriving in Canada and not knowing anybody was tough at the beginning since I missed my family and friends tremendously. It took a while to adjust but since my English language skills were relatively good it made it a lot easier to adjust to school and navigate the new city.

I believe that moving and starting fresh helped me grow as a person and develop thicker skin. Sometimes stepping out of your comfort zone is just what you need to connect with who you really are and what’s around you.

After a few years in Canada I met my husband, got married, moved once again to another city nearby and five years later became a mom for the first time. We started our own little family and now I am a the lucky mom of two beautiful, healthy and happy little boys. I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason in life.

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This year, the theme of the CBC’s annual battle of the books is “Starting Over“. Just like in my own story of change, the five books/authors featured in this year’s Canada Reads wrote books about change and starting over.  By opening up conversation about this topic we are helping connect readers all over Canada while they go through their own periods of change.

The five books/authors featured this year are:

  • Birdie by Tracey Lindberg,
  • Bone and Bread by Saleema Nawaz,
  • The Hero’s Walk by Anita Rau Badami,
  • The Illegal by Lawrence Hill,
  • Minister Without Portfolio by Michael Winter.

The five Panelists speaking this year are:

  • Vinay Virmani (Actor/Writer)
  • Farah Mohamed (Activist)
  • Clara Hughes (Olympian, Humanitarian)
  • Bruce Poon Tip (Social Entrepreneur)
  • Adam Copeland (Wrestler, Actor)

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Canada Reads takes place on March 21-24, 2016. You can live-stream the action on at 10:00AM EST and on-demand video will be available each afternoon HERE. You can also follow along on CBC Radio One at 11:00AM local time (1:30PM NFLD), 8:00PM local time (8:30PM NFLD) or watch the action on CBC Television at 4:00PM EST (3:00PM EST on Tuesday March 22). Be sure to follow on Twitter and Facebook as well.

Moving and leaving everything behind was not easy but I would not change a thing. I am happy with my family and even though I wish my boys could grow up with all my other family close by I am grateful for technology allowing us to connect like never before. We are in touch via Skype and social media and I can’t wait to take the boys over to Colombia to meet all of our family in person.  We are excited for the adventures and new opportunities and change.

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