Thursday, April 28, 2016

251 Days of Travel


It has been 251 days. I wonder for how much longer I can call myself a new immigrant.

251 days ago, I was surrounded by my close friends. The living room was dark except for some failing candles, music and laughter. The only care I had in the world in that moment was to get through immigration without incident. Was my luggage too heavy, would I get through the flight? There was a fleeting moment when I wondered how I will survive without my friends.

251 days ago, I was often sure of myself, suffering from bouts of very high self-esteem. I knew what to do and when, where to go, or so I thought.

And then I fell through the rabbit hole into the unfamiliar. What ensued was an adventure that is ongoing. Sometimes I grow too tall. Other times I shrink too small. 

In these two hundred and fifty one days, I have survived without a bed, TV, a car and other familiarities. I have found a job with benefits (it is nothing like having a friend with benefits) and that is not in a grocery store or a call centre. I have not yet been lured by the oh-so-attractive and imminent cycle of debt, on the weak foundation of which life survives here. I have realised that always being sure of myself and knowing what to do has got nothing to do with self-esteem. 

251 days ago, my daughter was stressed about being killed by the Taliban in school. 251 days after, she is stressed because a boy in her class had a minor outburst. I have witnessed how quickly fear thresholds change; how quickly the unfamiliar starts to seem like the reality we have always lived.

I wonder for how much longer I can call myself a new immigrant.