(Living in a new country with a different language and culture)
If you’ve read part one, you should know some of the challenges I’ve faced. I lost my job and the reputation I’d had before. I missed my friends and family. I found some friends here, but they weren’t as trustworthy as I expected, so I drifted apart. I had to stay home because of the lockdown. Depression was showing up at that moment!
What happens when we are in these kinds of situations is that we are scared. We are much smaller than our problems, and sometimes we give up. If I were a 23-year-old Manzar, absolutely I would give up; I would come back to my country and decide not to have any other new adventures or opportunities. Fortunately, I have an inner goat that helps me do exactly what I’m scared of. And at that time, these challenges scared me!
I’m going to give you some solutions that helped me a lot!
1- Ask for help!
It doesn't matter if someone helps you or not; when you ask for help, you speak about your problem; when you talk about it with someone else, you can hear your problem again. It feels like when you are looking at a problem from far away. It gives you the chance to think about a better solution. Also, you realize you’re not alone. There are always people who help you. It was difficult for me. We don’t like to speak about what -we feel- is our weakness. But it’s just something that we feel. The world is full of people who want to share their kindness. Believe me!
2- Find your way for communication!
I remember once I asked my English teacher if I could communicate, he answered that if I kept that beautiful smile, I would be fine .So, I kept the smile, and it’s working! (apart from sometimes that, I seem stupid!)
I know it takes time to find a way and how difficult it is. Sometimes we lose a lot of opportunities just because of our communication skills. For me, it was my storytelling skill. Sometimes I want to change the story I’m illustrating, and it’s so difficult. I realized if I don’t have the skill of telling a story in another language, I have another even better skill; I picked up my pencil and started drawing! And people completely understood what I meant.
There is always another way! Think about what yours is!
3- Look for a hobby you had in your hometown!
When we feel lost, we need something to connect us to ourselves. We should remember how our life before liked. I don’t mean to drown in the past. You should find something that used to make you happy in the past and bring it to the present. For me, it was in-line skating, illustration, baking and writing. I felt they are parts of Manzar so that I could find Manzar and make her happy!
4- Have an inner goat!
Just like me, try everything that scares you! When I wanted to speak English, I wished I were an imaginary creature that didn’t have a mouth and couldn’t talk! I put myself into lots of online meetings with Lunchclub! (you can try and find your friends here: https://lunchclub.com) A half an hour before my first meeting, I got panic! I wanted to cry. But my inner goat didn’t let me cancel it! After the meeting, I was so happy because I’d found a new friend! It gave me the courage to do it again. So, thanks to my inner goat, I made lots of friends! You need your inner animals!
5- Make your home the place you love!
As I was speaking about the challenges after immigration, one of my friends suggested that I decorate my home the way I liked. I’d never thought about it! As I mentioned in part one, a part of our brains wanted us to believe it was temporary. Living for a short time makes you feel upset, and since we decided to decorate the house, I feel better.
6- It’s OK to be shy, but give it a try!
The first day I wanted to go to the office, is the most challenging day I’ve ever experienced. As every little strange thing always happens to me, I had to sit in the car with my boss until we got to the office. I’m too shy, and I couldn’t speak. I wished I could hide it when my hands were shaking! And strangely, I decided to tell him how nervous I was! He helped me a lot, and I felt better. Since then, I decided to tell people how I feel or ask them if I don’t know something about their culture or language. I hate when people want you to feel better and always say: “imagine they had to speak your language or they moved to your country; if they did something wrong, would you judge them?” Of course, I would! They could have asked! They shouldn’t be scared of asking some simple questions! (I’m one of those who are afraid of asking questions, honestly! Thank you, my inner goat!)
There is a huge difference between the cultures of different countries. As a friend of mine told me once, you can’t slap on someone’s face and tell them it’s a symbol of love in my culture; you should ask them first if it is OK. Don’t be shy and ask anything you don’t know. I know it is difficult.
It’s not been a long time since I moved. I’m learning and as always, what I wrote, was My experience. Maybe I add another part, or maybe not. I’m sure there are a lot of challenges and happiness I haven’t experienced yet. I love life because it’s always have something new to experience, explore, learn and share. Moving abroad can be one of the most fantastic and challenging experiences in your life. But imagine how amazing it would be to explore the world just like when you did in your childhood. Immigration can be as beautiful as how your childhood was!