Last November (eek! still not used to referring to 2014 as last year. Criminy!) marked a full decade since I first arrived on Canadian shores. I still distinctly remember arriving at YVR and having a moment of utter terror at the sheer ballsiness of moving to the other side of the world without out much of a plan.
Of course I came armed with a few numbers of friends of friends, but on the whole, this was a solo mission. I was elated, freaked out, tired, and disoriented. Little did I know, I’d find myself still here, 10 years on, somewhat slightly less elated, freaked out, tired and disoriented. It’s taken a long time since emigrating to really feel settled here. Like more than five years kind of long… Finally, however, this feels more and more like home and while I’ve never doubted my choice to come back, it has not been an easy journey.
Vancouver is like a gorgeous girl who knows she’s gorgeous and spends a lot of time pretending she’s not. She also spends a lot of time making sure her beauty seems effortless. She does that annoying thing of acting less intelligent than she really is. She goes to yoga a lot (obvs!) and likes to wait until she’s made sure that nothing better will come along before committing to anything. She will not emerge from her clique easily. Like her sister, Cape Town, she can be fickle and frustrating. But she can also open her heart to you – and it feels that much more precious because it’s so hard won.
So here’s some advice for you. Prepare yourself. Gird your loins and steel your nerves. It will be hard and often lonely being with her. She’ll be annoying and make you so angry you want to hop back on a plane to all that is familiar and comforting and home. You’ll feel like you’re going crazy and that no one should ever leave you to make your own choices, because clearly you’re incompetent. You’ll then have days when you marvel at your own audacity. It’ll be rewarding and challenging and hard hard hard.
But persist, because she’s worth it. And so are you.