I want to acknowledge just how fucking hard it is to emigrate.
While I know that choosing to immigrate is nothing like fleeing a country as a refugee; however, it is, by far, up there with some of the most stressful life choices you can make or experience. And you have no one to blame but yourself. Or that cute Canadian boy you met when you were just supposed to be away for a year…
It has taken me about about 7-8 years to feel settled. That’s longer than I was in high school. That’s longer than it took me to get three degrees. That is a Long.Bloody.Time. And I still have days where I think… wait, I live here? What the actual fuck was I thinking?
Moving countries means leaving everyone you know and everything you know. It means leaving behind your culture, your orientation, you language, and your career. It means leaping into a new way of doing things, a new pace, new people, and new challenges. I was extremely lucky that my degrees are recognised in Canada, but many peoples’ aren’t and so they have to figure out what starting from scratch really means.
And even though now I feel like this is home and it’s not just where I’m meant to be, but where I want to be – make no mistake – it’s still a challenge. Sometimes daily, sometimes just in an occasional twinge.
I miss my friends. I miss my family. I miss the sun and the huge blue skies and the colourful riot of birds. I miss the huge smiles of people on the streets. I miss Table Mountain. I miss the sound of the ocean. I miss fresh fruit. I miss Woolworths. I miss Royale. I miss Franschhoek. I miss the bushveld. I miss weekends in Hermanus. Did I mention the SUN?
Immigration is hard. So I want to give a big shout out to all of you who may be in the same boat as me. Know that it takes a lot of time. It takes effort. It takes luck.
But know this: you have made it. You will continue to make it.
And you have a depth of courage that you haven’t even begun to plumb yet.