On being away from home

What’s it like, being away from home? People keep asking me that. Do you miss it? Do you miss your family? And your friends? And speaking your language? And knowing where everything is, and all that?

Well, sure, I miss some of those things. I don’t miss the place much at all. I do miss the people, of course. I do miss being able to speak Spanish a little. I was never a big fan of my native language, just as I was never a big fan of my home country, but I do miss hanging out with other Spanish people, or Latinos.. anything. There’s something about being away from home that makes you feel (proud?) of your roots. It’s kind of like the World Cup. Argentinians hate each other and their country all year long, but come the world cup, we’re up against other nations, (and, of course, it’s football – hard to find something Argies are more passionate about) and suddenly, we’re all family, we’re all together, and we all love each other and our country. Why can’t it be like that, always?

There aren’t that many Spanish people in Canada, especially not in our area. A lot of Arabs, Chinese.. but latinos? Nope! Not that I’m complaining – I enjoy diversity, always have. Since I arrived in Canada   I have met some really nice people from all over the world: Russia, Italy, Iran, China, America, India.. and of course Canada! I have always had a fascination with people from other countries or cultures. I’m a foreign national fetishist, I guess.. hah! Foreigners have always just seemed more interesting to me. Which is kind of silly if you think about it – really, we’re all the same, right?

Anyway so yeah, I miss Spanish. I miss my friends’ goofy natures. I miss having a job. I do volunteering work now which I love, but.. I miss financial independence. (I’m not going to lie and say I was swimming in cash back home. But the little money I had was my own and I could do with it what I pleased) The whole not having my own money thing has proved to be one of the biggest challenges for me here. I like to treat and spoil the people I love, and that, in a lot of cases, takes money. Again, I’m not complaining..  my man has been so amazing in wanting to support us until this whole thing is over and I can finally earn some money. We have a roof over our heads and food on our plates and I am more than grateful for that.

Something else that I REALLY miss is.. feeling at home. Knowing where something is and how to get there if I need to. That is another big challenge I have here because I dislike feeling trapped. And that is how I feel a lot of the time. I don’t know how to get to a lot (I’d say, most) places. I can’t drive – I do take the bus, but I’m not familiar with all the bus lines yet, where they go, where they stop, where do you buy the tickets, do you need to flag it down or not.. yep, all these silly little things that you just DON’T know. And they add up, quickly! Suddenly you find yourself completely overwhelmed by everything and all you want to do is get on the first plane out of here and go home, where everybody knows your name. (Cheers?)

I’ve learned that what they refer to as culture shock is very real. I felt it in Minnesota in my teens, and I felt (feel) it now here. Again, especially with the little things. Like, my first  4 or so months here, going grocery shopping was insane. Grocery stores here are 10 times the size they are in Argentina. They have 50 times the items. The variety, the millions of things I’d never seen or heard of before is unbelievable. And it would happen every time, I would go in to buy a few things to make dinner with, and and suddenly I’d begin to feel completely and utterly lost because oh my god, I don’t know what half these weird food items are, or what they’re used for, and how you cook them, and I should know these things but I don’t and oh my god how and when am I going to learn all of this, and… you get the picture.

Maybe I just overwhelm easily .. yeah, that sounds like me.  😛

I do have days like that where I think – what am I doing here? This isn’t home. I would like it to be, but is it ever going to? Am I ever going to feel confident here?

And the one last thing I’m going to bitch about tonight (I guess you could call it bitching at this point) is that I feel guilty. I feel guilty being here because I feel like I’ve left my mom behind. I don’t know if that makes sense to anyone else out there, but I just do. I miss both my mom and my sister terribly, but I know my sister is young and strong and can take care of herself. My mom on the other hand is 66, and I keep thinking if something happens and I’m not there how is that going to make her feel? How will I feel? One of her children already moved overseas years ago, and now me. And if she had been horrible about me coming up here, maybe that would make it easier.. easier to get angry, to care less. But she was so amazing about it. So supportive.  So I’m torn between wanting to be somewhere else, with someone I love,  running away from corruption and murder and rape, trying for a better life for myself, and wanting to take care of my family.. because to me, family comes first.

I wonder when it is that we stop feeling like our parents’ children and begin feeling like we need to take care of them instead. For some reason it makes me sad that I feel that way – I wish my mom could stay strong and beautiful forever. But it’s the circle of life, isn’t it?

I know this sounds really whiny, but having said all of that, I love being here. Canada is a diverse, safe, open-minded and astonishingly beautiful country and I am  lucky to be here. I guess I’m just feeling homesick tonight.

Over and out 🙂

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