Moving away often feels like a fall, different from enjoying the fluid change of a landscape seen from the window of a moving car or getting absorbed by a movie. I felt everything shifting around me when I moved to BC, like wind crowding the senses during a fall. I barely noticed, because when you’re falling there’s only one thought in your head: the landing.
If I were to discern the shape of a large sculpture during the night, I might have an idea of it by sensing its surface and trying to visualise how it comes together or by waiting until daylight and retrieving more information with a glance. I realized later this reasoning doesn’t apply to moving to a different country.
I didn’t do my homework before moving to Vancouver. I arrived in one of Canada’s rainiest cities with no umbrella, in both the literal and figurative sense. The silver lining is that I’ve been presented with several welcoming surprises. I grew up in a country with no access to the ocean. When I arrived here, I wasn’t expecting a horizon full of islands.
I was ready to hit the floor running and I found myself landing on a cushion. The part I thought was going to be the most challenging turned out to be the most welcoming. I thought I would be an awkward orange fish surrounded by blue fish, but I found myself surrounded by many colour combinations. Instead of feeling my unique colour interrupted an established palette, I felt like it added to one.
Moving to another city means there are many challenges to overcome, language barriers that need to be climbed, bus routes that need to be deciphered, paperwork that won’t do itself, and so on. But I know others have faced the same challenges. Their success stories, like mine, are meant to inspire. Our mishaps are here to learn from. The more willing you are to listen to these stories, the softer your cushion may be. In time, you’ll find yourself sharing yours.