A day of celebration

**Day 22 of the Challenge wants me to put my ipod on shuffle and write down the first 10 songs. First, I barely listen to that damn ipod and second, that’s pretty boring, as my taste in music is different than anybody else’s taste in music, and you’ll just skip this post anyway… so let’s talk about more important, fun stuff!  

22 February 2002

Pose in front of the Monastery of Curtea de Arges, RomaniaFourteen years ago, today, I would land at Pearson Airport in Toronto. I would set foot in this foreign land to start a new life. A new beginning full of new dreams and hopes. For the first few days, everything was new and my heart was racing about every little thing. I had just flown across the ocean with two luggages containing clothes and some of my most precious possessions. Although I’ve been here before, this time was for good. Only that thought scared the bejesus out of me. Would I fit in, would I be able to make new friends, would my language skills get me enrolled in a good school, would I be able to make it without my mom by my side?

I cannot say the move was hard nor easy, but rather different. It was different than I have ever imagined it to be. I was afraid of facing new challenges and definitely I was afraid at the thought of meeting new people and trying to create new relationships.

The first few months were a little bit of a blur, as I had to go through the whole commotion of getting all the paperwork in order, get proper IDs, having to write tests for English and Math so they can assess which grade is best to put me in, enrolling into high school, and learning about my whereabouts on a map of the city.

Assuming that all research about the new place has been concluded, here is a list of things that may or may not be on your mind while you’re thinking about making a move across the ocean/country.

  1. It is difficult, different, but not impossible.

    • When I left some people would say “You are so brave” or “Good for you” and I would tell them “I am so scared. And if I don’t like it, I’ll come back”. After about six months I didn’t feel so overwhelmed and started to really like it here. Canadian winters and all… never before has it snowed on my birthday (April) but I got used to it. 
  2. The difficulties last about 2 years, getting easier towards the end

    • Talking to other people, the 2 year mark is about when everything gets a little easier to manage and you feel confident to say you are only moving forward from now on.  *Keep that in mind when setting goals for your arrival in a foreign place.
  3. You never stop missing your mom

    • Even now, 14 years later, and even though we talk regularly, I miss her. I miss the old relationship we had. The little things I would do and would annoy her. The times she would tell me to be nice because there would come a day that I would really miss her. I am not one to apologize very easy (truly apologize), but after about two years of being apart I called one day and we had a heart to heart talk and I apologized… about little things and big things. And she was my true best friend from there on.
  4. You’ll miss some friends, but not all

    • you’ll really miss the friends you confided in. Those friends that time could pass and when you get to see them, it was business and usual, and it didn’t feel like you missed any time apart. And you will miss those friends that you could be in your PJs watching TV and they would understand the feeling and don’t have to talk or judge you about it.
  5. Making new friends will feel like dating again

    • ‘talk about yourself’, now ‘you talk about yourself’, 21 questions, why-who-when-where-which-how…now take a deep breath and start over. During university it got easier. As I taught my sister when she changed schools, I would sit during the first class in the back and “analyse” the crowd. The next class I would sit in the middle and even move closer to the people that I want to get to know better. At the end of class, I would ask for one line that I “missed” and then say “by the way, I’m Laura. See you next class”. I don’t say it always works – some people might not like you back and next class they might try to sit far from you lol – but it sure breaks the ice with some of them.
  6. This is the best time to be picky about your circle of friends

    • making new friends has its benefits too and when you start again while you are a grown-up you tend to become pickier. When we are little there are the neighbourhood kids, then the classmates kids, later the university/college ‘mates’, and then work colleagues and bosses. Through different stages in life we are taught to include everyone, befriend so-and-so because this-and-that, but sometimes we need to choose who we become friends with, especially when some circles of friends tend to encourage each other to do more harm than good. Later in life, this notion tends to have its similarities: “don’t mix business affairs with personal affairs”, “don’t wash your laundry in public”, “acquaintances are not necessarily friends”, “trust nobody but yourself!”
  7. It gets easier to change old habits

    • can’t find your favorite [fill in the blanks with bad habit] in the new city? Maybe it’s for the best 😉 Old habits die hard, but look at this move like a switch over to a new you 😉
  8. On the visits back home, you have to chose who to see

    • stay away from social media and ‘advertising’ that you’re back home for the week, unless you want a hundred messages “fantastic! we have to meet for lunch”. I did that the second time I was back and 3 weeks were not enough to see everyone! It felt like a race I could never win nor see the finish line. So, the year after, I booked 5 weeks so that I could “squeeze in” a few more people to see, and just like Murphy’s Law has it, it was at a time of the year that most of my friends were busy or out of town and it felt like I barely saw anyone. I did spent a lot more time with my mom, which made her super-dooper happy, and we took a well deserved trip through Europe.
  9. You have to come to terms that some friendships will be come to an end

    • …and that’s O.K. Friendship is a gamble. People are in your life for a reason, for a season, or for a lifetime. Out of all my friends that I had when I was younger, I can count on one hand how many remained true to this long-distance-relationship thing we have going on. Social media helped to connect with others. I have to say I have more friends that I talk to from elementary school than from higher grades. The bond created at that early stage in life survived the longest!
  10. You’re allowed to brag about your leap of faith

    • Be proud of the accomplishments, the hurdles you had to overcome, the hoops you had to jump through, the end of the rollercoaster ride, which this whole thing felt like all along. You made it safe and sound and can talk about it all!




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  1. Pingback: 30 Days Challenge | Caledon Acres

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