A year ago I was full of dreams and fears.
My husband, Mr. A, who jumped into this adventure since day one, was carrying with me our four suitcases and two backpacks… nothing else.
All I had was a date to start school, the money we brought from Mexico after selling every single thing of our house, and (thank God) a great stress reliever and support: my brother and his family; who, by now, are more Torontonians than Mexicans.
At that point, expectations were huge. This seemed to be the perfect country to settle down. Everything surprised me… and I don’t need to tell you much about it, this blog has been a witness of every learning; what hurts and what cheers me up.
Some people said the first year abroad would be the hardest; but honestly, I’m not sure. Although the first year is when you learn how the city works and the language is still a significative obstacle to bond with other people, you got here with your battery fully charged and somehow you’re still a tourist in the city (and feeling like a tourist is always a nice sensation).
However, if anybody asks me about the major learnings or surprises I had this year, I would say:
- Looking at photos of your “previous life” is risky. Missing your people, food and places, for sure is the worst feeling; fortunately, it’s easy to be alright if you don’t see photos of it! The two or three times I was looking for a file on my computer and (by mistake) I opened a folder with photos of my apartment, parties, birthdays, etc… I almost ended crying.
- Thinking and acting out of the box is a must. That’s what sooner or later allows you to adapt to your new country. The more you say “sure! why not?!”, the faster you get a job or make friends, or whatever. Of course, it’s easy to say it, but doing it isn’t… at least for me. Even though I enjoy getting to know people, different cultures, music, activities, etc., I’m a controller, and controllers will always prefer to draw up plans and make decisions based on what they know… in other words: we want to feel “safe”; nevertheless, being an inmigrant, is everything but a “safe” experience. The first job Mr. A found was related to sales, something he didn’t like; thankfully, by taking it, he met a great woman (his boss) who now is one of our most beloved friends here. Months later, due to that job experience, he was able to move to the radio station I was volunteering for; and soon, he stopped “selling” and got a position more related to his talent and interests. Yay!
- The universe is constantly sending you surprises, be aware and grateful. Six or seven months after we got here, we were hired by the Latin radio station I mentioned before; we never thought that job would lead us to live amazing experiences. We constantly interview interesting people and do live coverages of festivals and concerts; we love it except for the fact that sometimes, those events are in neighbourhoods we barely know. More than once, we have been far away from home (feeling in the middle of nowhere), of course without a car, and with a Google maps recommendation that doesn’t make sense. Those times, we’ve run into different people who offered us to bring us back home. Call it good luck, angels, a very friendly community, or whatever. In the end, it’s been a lesson for us, the day we get a car we’ll be like them.
One year later, I’m still full of fears, but dreams are little by little turning into targets. Now I know that when I keep my mind on the present, it’s easier to build up a nice future; and moreover, it’s less complicated to get used to the new country, weather, people, etc.
Once again, it sounds easy, right? Hahaha… and once again, it’s not! Behind this positive and enthusiastic idea, is a fear of the unknown and a constant sensation of being emotionally tested (Am I capable enough?…I miss my family and friends too much!… is my English good enough?). When those thoughts appear, is time to bring my mind back and do whatever I need to keep it focused on the present.
P.S A year ago I also wanted to be able to write an English entry for this blog without checking the dictionary every two minutes; and today, although it’s not perfect (yet!!), at least my brain doesn’t hurt like those first months. YAY!!!