Christmas is always complicated for us, immigrants.
It doesn’t matter our religion, beliefs or customs; winter break is always a great excuse for gathering with our friends and family, eating delicious food and giving and receiving gifts.
Therefore, Christmas is a great example and a huge test for any immigrant. Every culture and family has its own customs; but, unfortunately, when people leave their hometown everything changes… and that sh*t hurts.
I’ve seen people that get used to it after a while… but what about us, newcomers? I’ve been here only for two Christmas in a row, and I still have some issues with this guy called “distance.”
For us, December was a synonym for party, excitement, and friends and family every single weekend; now that’s gone. So, you can imagine my mood last Christmas, it was something like:
One of those days, one of our friends (Mexican immigrant as well), let’s call him Mr. M, said something that allowed me to see the whole situation from a different angle.
He and his wife came to visit us. In the middle of the evening, Mr. M said:
– This year we didn’t go to Mexico to spend the Holidays, we preferred to save that money to go on vacations to a different place; and moreover, I’ve been thinking about customs and I’d like to add new ones to my life.
And I was like…
Great! Mr. M was not talking about losing his Mexican roots or traditions. On the contrary, he was tired of comparing Canadian customs to what is done in his/our hometown.
He was now open enough to incorporate new stuff to his life, without judging it first or thinking that it would make him less Mexican.
This could be a simple (really SIMPLE!) example:
Mexico has tacos al pastor as a late-night food option. Canada has pizza, burgers and sometimes hot dogs.
Of course, as Mexicans, we will always crave more for tacos than for hot dogs. But if we consider tacos as our one and only love, living abroad could become a nightmare.
Then, if I keep thinking that Christmas (or any other thing) is “better” in Mexico, I’m doomed.
Stop missing our hometown combo (people + parties + food + places) is impossible, but start enjoying and appreciating what we have access to, is a choice and maybe relief.
In the end, Mr. M concluded that it could ease our “adaptation process”… and it makes sense, especially now that the “wow period” ended, and we’re already used to this “new” life.
Sounds beautiful, right? Easy to do? Hmmm… Let’s see. I’ll do my best, and I’ll keep you posted.