Hello, and welcome to my blog! I’d like to thank you for taking time out of your day to visit my website. As you probably already noticed, my page is a safe space for future or current immigrants to learn more about how they can enhance their immigration experience and cope up with the identity issues is one of the biggest challenges of moving to a new country.
Believe me when I say, immigrating was one of the scariest, yet most empowering decisions I have ever made. I know how scary it is to start this new adventure.
Leaving your home country feels like you are abandoning your old life; all your friends, family, and special places are now in your past. Never forget that you are human. You are bound to experience feelings of loss or separation anxiety when you leave everything behind. And, at the same time, you struggle with the issues of losing your own identity.
About a week before I left Italy to come to Canada, while thinking of how real this experience was about to become, I suddenly become awareof the past as I was walking through the church parking lot where my friends and I used to play soccer.
I started remembering all the exciting moments that we had hadas boys during those soccer games;the sweaty, smiling faces, the messy hair, and the running commentary of the goalkeeper. We played for several hours; so long that our scores were almost as high as those in basketball games.
When I look back at these memories, they bring a gigantic smile to my face. It is crazy how these memories are from so long ago, yet the emotions that they give me have not changed at all.
Another memory I have isthe unique smell around our little town when it was olive harvesting season. It was a mix of the scent of olives and soil in the air thatwas the concentrated representation of what my roots and my people were all about:simple, infinitely passionate, hard-working souls very anxious to receive the fruits of a year´s worth of tough but skilled labour.
I soon realized that I was not going to have these placesand/or smells triggering my memories anymore.
What about people? From the co-actors of our past experiences to important role models?
I am sure that, just like me, the unexpected viewof an old friend, a cousin or a teacher often would prompt a memory,reminding you of a hidden side of your personality, a traumatic experience that changed you or simply a funny anecdote that makes you laugh.
I feared that I would forget these significant people in my life if I never saw them again. However, this was not the case.
One of my role models was my grandmother who was 80 years old. I was afraid I was not going to see her again after moving and I knew it was a realistic possibility; I felt like my decision to immigrate was anticipating her death and all the memories I had of her.
Behind the fear of not seeing the people or places again, or smelling the scents anymore, hides the fear of forgetting these memories, and behind the fear of forgetting the memories hides the fear of losing the sense of belonging and so losing our identity.
Arriving in your new country with this fear will lead to loneliness and a sense of guilt, and can make the integration process into your new society very painful. I have personally experienced this and I know that many other immigrants have as well.
Most of us underestimate ourselves; we are used to the idea that that to experience something we mustexist in the moment, use one or more of our senses; it is not true!
The reality of the situation is we can tap in on those happy memories and the emotions attached to them, at any point in time.
When I feel the need to get in touch with my past I just think about it and I am there, in that place, re-experiencing everything, the smells, the colours, the noises and the feelings attached! I have done it and so have the many immigrants that I have interviewed; which means you can too!
Furthermore, you need to know that our mind organically tends to eliminate memories of people and experiences that are harmful to us and enhances the ones that make us feel good! This brings me to highlight one of the most powerful advantages of immigrating; you will not encounter people or end up in places that will trigger harmful memories anymore. You will soon only be able to recall the positive memories that make you feel good!
Being afraid is a positive sign. It means that you care about your experience as an immigrant, and you are willing to work hard to make it as positive as possible.
I hope that this content has helped you, please share it with the people you care about!