The act of starting a new life in a new country, with all its difficulties but with infinite opportunities for transforming yourself, is definitely the best decision I and many others have ever made!
The possibility of packing up everything and leaving is there for everyone, and potentially, everyone has what it takes to make it a successful experience. Of course, everyone measures “success” with a very subjective yardstick, but for many it is defined as a certain degree of on-going transformational growth.
If you, my dear reader, feel this need to change your scenery right now, to stand on a new stage and play a new and important role in the movie entitled “My Life”; if you are tired of playing a secondary role in your own movie, pushed around by circumstances, by your culture, your family and even the ghosts of your past, then this is it! Immigrating is the most powerful tool that can help you to make this change, and it is definitely for everyone!
I hear many people saying, “Immigration is not for everyone; you need the right personality!” and “You have to be strong and have the ability to adapt” and many other versions of the same thing…
Let me tell you, there is no right personality, nor do you need to have a special degree of strength or special adaptation skills! Do you know why you don’t need to have all these traits? Because you already have them! You don’t need something that you already have: what you really need is to know that you have it!
What I have noticed is that not many people are willing to pay the price required to allow the transformation that always comes with the immigration experience; so what seems to be a case of “not having the right personality” is actually a case of not being willing to go through the psychological and practical disruption that immigrating requires.
Let me introduce you to my sister Dominga: she is now 40 years old, and finally started working permanently as a math teacher in Italy just two years ago. She had been licensed to teach for 14 years before that. Ever since she was a little girl, the love for teaching was always there, maybe too present… She would turn almost every game she played as a child into: “…ok, I am the teacher and you are my student…” It was a real pain in the neck for her friends and our youngest sister Isabella.
I had already left Italy when she finished her university course in 2004 and obtained the license to teach. When she came to visit us in Canada for her honeymoon, I asked if she wanted to move here and become a teacher, promising her I was going to help them out. While her husband’s eyes lit up immediately, my sister’s answer was fast and concise: “Never!” And her husband’s eyes suddenly lost their brightness. After reminding her that in less than four years in Canada, she was probably going to start living her dream of working as a teacher, and that it was basically impossible for her to achieve this so early in Italy, I asked a simple “why not?”
Dominga’s answer was: “I will never leave Italy, I was born there and I will die there!”
I couldn’t understand what was behind her answer until her husband Enzo asked me if it was hard to find a job in grocery stores, an industry that he had worked in all his life and that he definitely likes. When I explained that what he was doing for 1000 Euros per month was paid 4 to 5 times more here, my sister jumped up from her chair and started listing all the reasons why money was not the most important thing in life: that the cost of living was higher in Canada, that it was going to be hard for him to learn English, etc. What shocked me was the way she was saying it: inadvertently, her voice got much louder, her eyes grew wider and she was definitely tense. She was afraid.
I kept asking what she was afraid of, but she could not see it, she kept saying that she wasn´t afraid, she just didn’t want to immigrate. She was not lying: she couldn’t recognize the fear, it was too deep in her subconscious.
It took her 14 years after being licensed before she could teach: she kept studying and updating her curriculum, she kept taking specialized courses. She had two kids along the way but always stayed focused on her dream. She never lost hope and never lost her love for teaching: with her husband working, they managed to raise the two kids in a tiny one-bedroom rented home with very few comforts, but she adapted and struggled financially through the process.
All through those years, I never heard her complain about her situation: she kept saying that things were going to change for the better, and stayed strong and positive, providing a healthy family environment for the kids no matter what.
I am very proud of her. Her strength and resilience paid off, because now she is living her dream of teaching and, thanks to her stable government job, they finally qualified for a mortgage and purchased a brand new comfortable home.
My sister Dominga had everything she needed in order to become a successful immigrant! She had unbelievable willpower, a sense of adaptation, a dream and many other qualities. I want to use her story to demonstrate that immigration is for everyone, even for you! Independent of how you see yourself, immigration will change your self-image if you allow it, and so it will catalyze your transformation. Dominga’s story, however, demonstrates that, on the other hand, not everyone is for immigration. She suffered from a difficulty that I´ve mentioned in some of my previous articles – she was fearful of losing who she was, her identity! In her mind, her country, culture, memories, language, and everything that comes attached to them was a big part of who she was!
For her, the idea of changing countries triggered the same defensive mechanism that would have been triggered if a pack of wolves had been chasing her! Run!
You have what it takes to be a successful immigrant, no matter where you are in life… but if you have caught yourself thinking like my sister, you definitely need to work on detaching your identity from your culture and country first. And if deep down inside you feel the “call” to immigrate… just do it!