It is very difficult to be an immigrant no matter how privileged you are. A while ago, I wrote how I didn't feel worthy of writing about my immigrant experience, precisely because of privilege. And I've been thinking about this topic because of 2 reasons:
1. My 9th Anniversary in Canada.
I arrived to Canada in August 2007. I'm married, I've become Canadian, I have a Canadian degree, I have friends, a Canadian job. I love it in here, it is safe and beautiful; I trust the police and politicians (I know! This makes the list because I'm from Latin America! ahhaha). Yet, so many times I'm simply tired of been here. I'm tired of people pretending to care, yet not caring at all; I'm tired of racism...the one where people include you, but not really, because you'll never be part of the club.
I'm tired of small things, like bland food and terrible Christmas dinners.
I don't get at all the concept of family and love that a lot of Canadians have.
So I think to myself...Silvia, you'll never fully adapt to live in here.
2. Talking to a friend
I don't have a lot of immigrant friends. It's kind of odd when you think about it, but when I came to Canada I came alone, I didn't know anybody. I've never belonged to a group of Latinos in Vancouver, or Spanish speakers groups. Nothing! That could be the reason why it took me so long to make real friends in this country.
A few weeks ago, I was talking to one of my immigrant friends. She is bright, caring, loving. She told me all sort of stories that were making her upset, stories about immigration, conversations about that constant judging (nicely presented of course) a lot of Canadians love. My friend started to doubt herself: is it me? is something wrong with me? Luckily, my friend is not depressed, she has people to talk to. But I was so upset that she was feeling that way, because I totally understood what she was talking about.
I remember that when I experienced those feelings, I didn't have any friends, I was highly depressed, I wasn't close to the Church the way I am now. It was awful, I needed medications, counselling, and I was barely making it day by day. I used to think: maybe I don't speak English well enough, maybe it's because I don't understand the pop culture in here, maybe I'm not trying hard enough!
After nine years...
I know it's not me,
it's not us, the immigrants.
Because it is always hard, no matter how long you've been here
Because I can complaint, even with all the privileges I have.
Published by Silvia A.A. Vasconcelos