Family • Photo Restoration • 23 • Dusil • Emigration

• Introduction by Eva Dusil • Editing by Gabriel Dusil • 2014 November

• In my third year of veterinary studies, Prague Spring began. It was January of 1968 and Alexander Dubček was at the forefront of the reforms. Some of the leaders rallied behind him, wanting to give communism a human face. It felt like fresh air was blowing though the country. We began to lift our heads in hopes of a better future. The older generation was cautious but everyone else was optimistic. Eight months later the Soviets decided they had enough and sent 200,000 troops to clamp down on our aspirations. One month after that Warsaw Pact Invasion my son, Gabriel was born.

• Soon after the invasion, a mass exodus began. We decided to leave everything and everyone behind. In October 1969 I was supposed to begin my fifth year of veterinary studies. We fled the country instead. This was only possible because of the general chaos during those few months. There were relaxed procedures in the government agencies responsible for issuing travel visas. My parents were devastated by our plans, but still supported us. Vašek and I assured my mother that I would finish university, but we had no idea how we would fulfill that promise. First and foremost we had to focus on survival and take care of our baby. We believed that as long as we had two healthy hands we would survive.

• There was no looking back. Our flight took us through Paris, where we spent nine weeks waiting for approval to immigrate to Canada. Coming from an authoritarian regime, we thought we had to choose a province. With pressure from the immigration officer, we chose Saskatoon, Saskatchewan because they had a veterinary college. She encouraged us to choose an agricultural province. On the 9th of November 1969 we arrived in the beginning of a freezing cold winter. We met other Slovaks including my favorite professor from Košice, František Hrudka. He had also immigrated! By this time he was lecturing at the University of Saskatchewan. The people we met were supportive and ready to help us, but I felt lonely. Vašek was gone most of the day looking for a job and I was left alone with Gabriel, and nobody to talk to.

• On one occasion a local Slovak family invited us for dinner. I told them I wanted to continue with my veterinary studies. “Well, you’ll be the only female veterinarian in Canada” was their reply. Suddenly I felt that we came to some backward country. But I soon realized that they didn’t know much about veterinary medicine. It was true that there were few women in the profession, but I didn’t lose hope. Meanwhile, back home my mother listened to criticism that all her sacrifices had been wasted, and that I didn’t finish my studies. After ten long days in Saskatoon, we realized that we were in a free country, and could go wherever we wanted. The layers were shedding from the repressive regime we left. We were no longer prisoners of the state. We contacted Manpower and with their help we moved to Toronto, Ontario to join my brother-in-law, and his family. Within a few days we were happily reunited and I was surrounded by family. We lived together in a rented house, attended English language classes together. Vašek worked part time at a car wash with his brother. We took turns babysitting, while the other attended English lessons. Vašek was also studying for his provincial veterinary exams which he passed without difficulties.

• Postscript by Gabriel Dusil

Today commemorates the 46th anniversary of our arrival to Canada.

Home - Signature, Gabriel Dusil ('12, shadow, teal, Gab)

• Dusil

If you missed the previous posts on Dusil, then click on these links:

• Digital Photo Restoration

 6 minutes 14 seconds

 

69.Oct - Paris · Eva, Gabriel, Erika, Sona, Roman Dusil
69.Oct – Paris · Eva, Gabriel, Erika, Sona, Roman Dusil
69.Oct - Paris · Eva & Gabriel Dusil
69.Oct – Paris · Eva & Gabriel Dusil
69.Oct - Paris · Eva, Gabriel, Erika, Roman, Sona Dusil
69.Oct – Paris · Eva, Gabriel, Erika, Roman, Sona Dusil
69.Oct - Paris · Gabriel Dusil
69.Oct – Paris · Gabriel Dusil

• Postscript from Eva Dusil • 2014 October • Here is my cute son, Gabičko. He had his first birthday in Paris. During our stay in France, you had this red sweater with a leather front.

 3 minutes 38 seconds

70 - Toronto · Vaclav, Gabriel & Eva Dusil (grocery shopping)
70 – Toronto · Vaclav, Gabriel & Eva Dusil (grocery shopping)
70 - Toronto · Eva, Gabriel & Vaclav Dusil (kitchen)
70 – Toronto · Eva, Gabriel & Vaclav Dusil (kitchen)
70 - Toronto · Eva & Gabriel Dusil (Slavo Sykorsky's house)
70 – Toronto · Eva & Gabriel Dusil (Slavo Sykorsky’s house)
73.Aug - Burlington · Vaclav Dusil (house)
73.Aug – Burlington · Vaclav Dusil (house)
73.Aug - Burlington · Vaclav Dusil (front door)
73.Aug – Burlington · Vaclav Dusil (front door)
73.Jun - Burlington · Vaclav, Eva & Gabriel Dusil (Veterinarian, Aldershot Animal Hospital sign)
73.Jun – Burlington · Vaclav, Eva & Gabriel Dusil (Veterinarian, Aldershot Animal Hospital sign)

70 - Toronto · Eva & Gabriel Dusil (Slavo Sykorsky's house, premiere pro)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s