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"To Walk In His Shoes," by Keira Gagliardi

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"To Walk In His Shoes," by Keira Gagliardi

"To Walk In His Shoes," by Keira Gagliardi (West Island College)

"Everybody has their different cultures that they grow up with. Mine were Italian and English but there is more to my story than just those two. My grandfather was born and raised in India, although, his parents weren't Indian due to the fact that they had only been stationed in New Delhi by the British government, for their work.

I am proud to say I consider my Grandfather as one of my best friends since he has impacted my life in numerous ways by teaching me so much and always being there for me. Forever engraved in my memory are the countless times he'd tell us the stories about his 18 years in India he'd experienced before going to University in England. Geoffrey Byrne attended a school of 2000 boys where the minority of only 3 European students included him. My Grandfather loved teaching us Hindi and I will never forget the feeling of serenity and peace of mind I would get as he sang us to sleep with beautiful Indian lullabies. He also loved to give us gifts when he came back from his trips to India, like the gorgeous colorful shoes in the photo.

He always had an extreme feeling of pride in his roots from his time in India, which he loves to spread to my sisters and me by taking us to attend an Indian celebration at the Beaconsfield Library. At these public parties, there was a great deal of beautiful Indian food and clothes. My Grandpa's big sense of humor and love for meeting new people leads him, still to this day, to talk to an Indian person in Hindi. The look of shock on their faces, when a white man spoke their language is one of his favorite things in the world. He still loves to do it to this day anywhere we go.

Even though I am not Indian, it is a huge part of my upbringing that I am so proud of. Indian culture is a huge piece of my life and childhood stories because the shoes in the picture to have a special place in my heart. Not only are they a lovely gift from my Grandpa, but they symbolize my childhood and curiosity to travel. My dream is to travel to India and live the stories of my youth since I wouldn’t be who I am today without them."