Few days ago I remembered that this week, Thursday more precisely, there will be exactly 8 years since I live abroad! A multitude of thoughts rushed in. I lived so much in these last 8 years, I have so many things to say, I faced so many and diverse situations, frustrations, discriminations, sometimes I felt welcomed, I gained new friends, I lost a few, I fought with demons, I won some battles, but if I were to sum up these 8 years of life abroad I would choose the following mix: learn - transform - grow.
All the time I learned something new about myself, about others, I discovered places and corners and people, I learned languages and how to live in different cultures, how to manage the daily life in a new country, how to fit in, how to make new friends, how to cope with homesickness, how to keep an open mind, how to become more tolerant. Tolerance has been my most valuable lesson. Practising understanding especially in the most difficult situations. My migration journey is a continuous form of personal development!
During my journey some days have been quite tough. I particularly remember those when people failed to see me for who I was, failed to see my individuality reducing me to labels, stereotypes and misconceptions based on my nationality and gender. It has been a long process to heal and understand the perspective of the other in this particular context. It took me years to learn to understand.
While you are out of your comfort zone and everything you know, you need to practice understanding, you need to be able to carry your roots with you while the new you is taking over. You need to understand who you are and where you're coming from. Otherwise "you" becomes <me> and "they" becomes <them> and in between is hate and anger.
Telling my story was the best way to shorten the distances between me and the people I met. It allowed me to transform the foreign into familiar, to make the unspeakable speakable. So, never give up to tell your story!
These 8 past years are a celebration of the new me, of all the beauty that I've seen in people and places and the way they touched my being, of everything I learned, all the challenges I overcame. They are encompassed in migrationlab. In each thought expressed, each letter, each visual or sound.
Plenty of options to be and create. All the possibilities to grow. So, full steam ahead!
Happy intercultural week, everybody!