Day 5: Stuck between Two Lives

During the first few years of living in Toronto, I felt that I was stuck. I missed home, I missed spending time with my mom, I missed the lifestyle I had lived in South Africa. I spent my days in the apartment we had rented with my children: playing with them and doing ‘work’ with them. My husband had not found a job and the worry of that weighed on my mind.

I felt stuck between two places. I longed for home, for the familiarity of the surroundings I had grown up in. In the city of Toronto I was unable to move forward because I longed for the place I had grown up in, and because our situation did not seem to be changing. Friends were difficult to make as people in the city of Toronto are not as open as those who live in my home country. We had no car and could not drive around. Our place was sparsely furnished with almost no mementoes from our previous lives.

I felt stuck for many years – even once I found a job. The job was just that – a job. I did not enjoy doing it and yet continued working at it each day as we needed the money to pay the rent. I found a better job working with pleasant people – and yet I was bored. I had chosen to teach so I would not be stuck in an office all day but that was what I had ended up doing.

It has taken a while but I no longer feel that I am stuck between two places. I am now working at a job I was trained to do and I am enjoying the experience. Bit by bit, I feel that I am moving towards where I should be. It is still a struggle as I was not born in this place but at least now I believe that my goals can be achieved.

photo (10)If you have missed any of my Migrating North posts, head on over here

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was written for the FMF 31 day challenge hosted by Kate Motaung. Today’s prompt is: stuck)

Advertisements

40 thoughts on “Day 5: Stuck between Two Lives

  1. These pieces about your move have been really interesting, Colline, and it’s generous of you to share so openly and honestly. A lot of people experience the kinds of things you describe. In today’s world, so many of us have had to move numerous times for different reasons, and those moves change everything about our lives to some extent — some more than others. What you’re writing will encourage other people who are struggling with all those changes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was that person for many years Sandra – I would never speak to anyone about what I was feeling and experiencing and I think it did some harm. If you are able to talk a little, it does help with your sense of disconnect I think.

      Like

  2. It’s not easy to relocate to another country. Our daughter and family went to Vancouver many years ago, and her chartered accountant husband couldn’t find a full time permanent job. I think it was the most difficult few years of her life, and eventually they returned to South Africa, where things have worked out very well for them. Well done to you for sticking it out and making a success of your new life. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My husband still has not found permanent work as an accountant – even though that was the skill the country was looking for when we applied. Thankfully I have been able to get something permanent (a journey I will share in another post).

      Like

  3. Just moving from city to city in the same state can be difficult. Making new friends and adjusting to different ways. I imagine your children adjusted quicker than you. Glad things are going well now. 🙂

    Like

    1. Yes they did. Young children makes friends so quickly. Their accents changed as well – though my older daughter insists on trying to keep the South African one. I thinks she likes being a little unique 🙂

      Like

  4. The feeling of disconnect is pervasive isn’t it Colline? I think it has something to do with no longer walking on the land where you were born. The quality of the light is different between the two hemispheres also I found and long term something in us begins to pine for the light we grew up in. When I first returned home I would walk in the bush and smell the smells and feel the earth beneath my feet and cry. I didn’t know why. Homesickness is an ephemeral thing and really hard to understand unless you have experienced it. I know some South Africans who came here who suffered terribly from the lack of colour and heat and vibrancy of their previous lives. We do not realise we will miss these things we take so for granted until we find ourselves somewhere they are not …… I am impressed that you have stuck it out and glad you are now writing about your experiences.

    Like

    1. What you say is so true. The colour, the warmth, the sounds and tastes are what one really misses. Even today I miss the creaminess of the shortbread I can buy in the South African supermarket, the sight of the bougainvillaea, the wide smiles of the walkers on the streets, and even the buzz of the insects at night. One never really appreciates one’s surroundings until one is no longer in it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This was wonderful – you really highlighted the displacement that comes with moving and relocating – and I think a lot of people in transition need to read this – 🙂 ❤
    Later when I have time I am going to read the other Migrating North posts – have a nice day!

    Like

  6. That’s quite a move Colline – no wonder you felt disconnected! I can’t think of 2 more different places. Your kids can be a big help as they make friends, as their friends’ parents could be your friends some day. it takes a bit of work for sure but you’ll get there. Think how much more settled you are today than you were the day you arrived!

    Like

    1. That did happen but only with one of my children’s friends. It helped that she lived nearby and that she has the same philosophy as I do about a lot of things. Alas, she moved away from Toronto 😦

      Like

  7. That is interesting, that idea of being, I know that feeling too, but it happened to me when we just moved in the same city here. Moving from inner city to an outer suburb was like that, I’m sure not the same extent, but it was one of those what have we done things. I’m glad you got a job that like doing now. How many years has been since you moved there?

    Like

      1. I was told I had the suburbian blues, I guess you had similar, but I imagine on a much larger scale. It took about 3 to 4 years for me to adjust.
        Denmark was different because I knew it wasn’t permanent and that I would be going home.

        Like

        1. When I spent a year in Europe I got a little homesick but, as you say, I knew I would be home at the end of the year. Moving countries on a more permanent basis did make it harder to beat the homesick blues.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Although wholely understandable it’s odd to read this when I ‘know’ you as a well adjusted, happy individual who seems to thrive on the teaching. Did you move schools to achieve this? Or is that a later instalment, Colline?
    I’m enjoying reading about this process. 🙂

    Like

    1. I am busy writing a post that explains the process I took to get to where I am in teaching. To get to where I am right now has taken 10 years, plenty of emotional upheaval, and a lot of adaptation. All will be explained in a few days Jo 🙂
      I am glad you are enjoying the series Jo – your support is heartening.

      Like

  9. I haven’t moved from the country where I was born, but I understand this. The culture, the way of life, even the language, while still English, can be so different from place to place in the U.S. I’ve gone from a Midwestern way of life to a Southern way of life, and I’m having trouble adjusting. It’s good to know from reading your post that it won’t be this way forever. 🙂

    Like

  10. Ah, I was there once, too. I still miss my home country, yet the weird thing is, the last time I visited, I felt like a stranger. It was somehow the country I left and NOT the country I left at the same time.

    Like

    1. When you go back you realise that the country you miss is the way the country was at the time of your leaving. The physical environment does change (new roads, new buildings, etc) but the friendliness of the people remain.

      Like

  11. “I no longer feel that I am stuck between two places” – congrats! An important process, we are not bound to locations, cities, countries – but bound to the paths of joy we’ve created inside of us – and it should be a ritual to follow those paths storytelling daily (result of my work with children and adults).

    Like

  12. I know that feeling of stuck. It’s taken me a while to realise that if you feel stuck, then it is up to you to unstick yourself! (instead of wallowing in self-pity and misery which is always my first tendency) well done on moving forward with your life!

    Like

  13. It is very hard to change the way of life you are used to. The older you get the harder. I am glad you are settling in now. Good to work in the workplace you are trained for(specially teaching!) You are lucky to have your husband and children who also makes it worth the change!

    Like

Share what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s