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I was recovering from my neck injury when I signed up for the Coursera online writing course

With the countless emails, document attachments, and Facebook exchanges, the realization of The Magic Diary Project shows that a group of people who barely know each other from all corners of the globe can make a difference in achieving something towards worldwide cooperation and collaboration. I am proud to share my humble story with those of so many talented writers all over the world.

I really have two countries to brag about – one is the Philippines where I was born and raised, and the other is Canada where I immigrated when I was 18.

The Philippines is a very small country in Southeast Asia. Despite its small size, there are about 7,100 islands and 17 regions that have distinct cultural differences. The Philippines is special to me because it is my home. Sadly, I have not returned since I immigrated to Canada nine years ago. (It should be illegal to be deprived of real Filipino food for this long.) However, my husband and I are planning a big vacation there next summer!

Canada is immense compared to my small country of origin. Since living in Canada, I have either traveled or worked in eight out of its ten provinces and two out of its three territories. Not bad for a “newcomer,” right? My most recent adventure is in the province of Québec where I now reside with my husband. French is the sole official language in Québec, as opposed to the rest of Canada where it is either solely English or both English and French. Many Canadians may share the sentiment that the language is the single most significant hurdle in integrating one’s self into Québec society. Before moving to Québec, I knew a grand total of ten verbs all in the present tense and could have only very simple conversations in French. Now after a year of serious (and sometimes, frustrating) language learning, I’m at the advanced level and I feel fully assimilated into society! One big plus of being able to speak French now: being able to enjoy the remarkable repertoire of well-produced TV shows and movies from Québec!

Danica LeBlanc was born and raised in the Philippines, immigrating to Canada at the age of 18. Newlywed at 26, she nearly lost her life in a car accident on her honeymoon in April 2015. Breaking her neck in at least three different places, she luckily escaped paralysis yet endured a long 14-month recovery that included undergoing two spinal surgeries and wearing cumbersome neck braces 24/7.

Keeping My Head Up High is an autobiographical account of her recovery. Today she is back to her job as a geologist at an underground mine, swims regularly as her new sport, and speaks three languages fluently including French, all while enjoying the simple pleasures of a neck brace-free life. Her blog www.dpleblanc.wordpress.com details the triumphs and struggles of living with her injury.

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9 thoughts on “Why Danica LeBlanc is proud to be from two (or three, if you consider Québec) countries at the same time

  1. I hope your story spreads far and wide through this book, Danica! Your incredible spirit, intelligence, and love of life is one which inspires me and all those around you – congrats on this new project! :]

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