Moving away is hard to do

snoopyAt some point, in unspoken agreement, it was decreed by the emigrants of the world, or at least by the emigrants of MY world, that we would pretend to outsiders that it was easy. When anyone from back home would ask what it’s like to pack up and move to the other side of the world, we would all reply something to the tune of ‘it’s great, I’m really loving it here’.

I’ll hold my hands up and be the first to admit that I am 100% guilty of sugar coating my experience in Canada so far when people ask. Sometimes ‘it’s great’ is just the easier answer to give to someone, especially when the alternative is ‘actually it’s been really tough – finding work is hard, I’m broke and homesick and the chocolate here doesn’t even taste like chocolate’.

Maybe I’m wrong to generalise. Maybe some people have found emigration to be genuinely easy. Maybe they have a nice sensible profession which allows them to glide into a job in another country with relative ease (damn it, journalism). Maybe the city they moved to is cheaper and the chocolate there tastes better. Maybe their life there is genuinely as good as it looks on Instagram. But thus far, in my experience of Vancouver, people really struggle when they move here – particularly in the first year – and they find it difficult to admit it for fear of sounding like a failure.

Several times in the past few months I’ve thought about giving up and going home. Several times during the course of my trip home for Christmas I thought about not coming back. But each time such a thought crosses my mind, I think about all the experiences I’ve had and the things I’ve learned since I got here and I decide it’s worth it. The struggle is part of the story. I just wish more people would admit it.


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