4 years old guys 4 years that I put a foot in Canada. I really can not believe it. For several reasons: 2014 Astrid seems so far from the 2018 one, the time seems to be super fast and at the same time I have the impression that 2014 was a million years ago. I had only come for a year, a parenthesis in my valentine life, to get fresh air and come back. But it’s the beauty of life: nothing ever happens as planned. It’s better.
First: between my first and second year.
Small recap if you take the train on the road: my first departure and my return.
I have been back for almost a year and a half now. The biggest difference between my first year and today: my daily life. In 2014 I felt like I was passing by, enjoying every moment without having any idea what I was going to do at the end of my visa. I discovered everything, my first winter, my first Canadian traditional festivals .. I had the life of a student in transition. Today everything is different. I created my everyday life I have a real life here, not a student life. I have a real job that I like, not a transitory and alimentary job. I have an apartment by myself, as when I had a good life in Valence. I do not have an end date in Toronto. It’s not a secret I mentioned it in my stories, I’m applying for permanent residency to stay in Canada after my current visa (ending in February 2019). I build my life here, I have my friends, my habits. I do not feel like passing. I know what the summer looks like, I know what winter looks like, I know Canadian habits, and I know cultural differences. Well I bought furniture if it is not a proof of commitment! Of course there is nothing definitive as I told you in the article “And in 5 years“. Working in the digital industry opens great doors and offers a certain mobility, then as I say often if I meet a Canadian guy I could well find myself stuck with 6 months winters for a few more years;).
Where to start … In 2014 I left a good professional situation to apply for positions well below my skills. I was prepared for it, I knew that I would go through less fulfilling jobs to finance my Canadian experience. Difficult on a first year to find a job that sticks, some get there in their first year and I’m really impressed, it is so short and intense. Managing work / emotions / discovery is a little complicated. Since obviously things have evolved well, I do not regret the time it took. Each of these jobs taught me something that I can reuse today. Regarding my move back to France the professional part was more difficult, I told you about it in this article. I really struggled to find my place. What I am selling today in interview is my digital expertise that I obtained through the blog and my different freelance experiences. This is the best business card, no school will ever teach you digital as well as experience since it is not an exact science and above all it is a science in perpetual motion. Even having found a job in communication I was not fulfilled, the field communication / marketing / social networks is still very underestimated in France. “You only post on Facebook”. It’s a lot more than that and I could talk to you again if you’re really interested. I was so frustrated, not fulfilled and without any prospect of evolution to move me forward. Today I know that if I had to go back to work in France I would have a lot of trouble finding my place, I do not have the requested diplomas, when the Canadian seeks to know what you will bring to the company and how to use your assets for the team French will mainly trust your degree and be very careful. The Canadian is not afraid of commitment, in 2 weeks he can make you leave and the employee can do the same while in France we fare of the 2 months of notice and threats of Prud’hommes for a yes or a no. We create an environment of mistrust in both camps, a frustration and a clash between the boss and the employees when we should walk hand in hand with the goal of making the company successful.
Third: personal life
Change. This is the word that best summarizes these 4 years. From a 26-year-old girl with a messy dreams, who would run to exhaustion, I moved on to a 30-year-old girl who is still more determined but who makes better use of her resources. It was not always easy but as I told you in this article on the natural evolution of life (this sentence is reminiscent of a documentary at 5am on a animal documentary seriously ^ ^). We experience such upheavals when we arrive: we want to meet people but we also need to maintain the links with France. I already said it but sometimes I feel like living on 2 continents, 2 parallel lives with the pressure not to disappoint those from whom I have moved away. I have also seen friendships come to an end, others intensify. Because our lives can no longer match each other and the bonds that bind us require more work than pleasure.
Friendship here is also a challenge. I often compare it to reality TV, we meet through a common adventure, we live a crazy experience together, we click very quickly and we can end up doing all together after one week. But we also meet people because we have to meet people, we do not want to be alone, we do not know anyone and sometimes after the excitement of the beginning we realize that it does not stick . These friendships will naturally fade over time. I often say that we stay friends with 50% of the people we meet in the first 3 months (stats from the Astrid Moulin research center ^^).
Fourth: how I see the world
I took a lot of distance from my situation. To be completely honest when I arrived I thought a little bit that I was the person with the coolest story and I wanted the whole world to realize that I had left my country to live here without anyone. Crazy life. I already have a big tendency to take myself for the center of the world (dixit my family huh .. me I do not have this impression ^^) then I felt like I have walked on the moon for the first time or I have found a cure for an incurable disease (never in exaggeration, I could be from Marseille, no offense to the Marseillais;)). And then, as late as yesterday, I was in my Uber pool (you share an Uber with someone who is going in the same direction as you, it’s 2 times cheaper), the guy was about 20 years old. years, he explained to me that he had come to Canada to flee the violence in his country. This is the most recent example but I have more. We realize then that there are 2 types of immigrants in Canada: those who had no choice and us. We have not fled, we want to discover a new culture, to open other doors as they want to survive a country that leaves them little luck. I think it’s one of the most beautiful life lessons I’ve learned here. It taught me to put my problems in perspective and to take a step back. I have a country where I can go back to live without problem, where I am not afraid for my family, where I have one of the best health system in the world, I have the right to vote, I have the right to abortion, free education, I have no threat of war, I exist as a woman.
I also improved my geography skills! I discovered countries in the world that I did not know, cultures that were totally foreign to me. I even discovered my own country with the French community coming from the 4 corners of France. Some put their shopping in pockets and eat the crown of kings when I am using a bag and eat a slab of kings. I discovered Lille and Ireland thanks to my meetings here. It’s as if a new world has opened to me.
What I like in Canada:
- The simplicity of life: leave me alone, I will leave you alone. If you do not mind I do not bother you.
- Security: Walking alone in the street at night without fear is a luxury that any Frenchwoman could appreciate.
- Flexibility at work: being able to leave a job without being taken by feelings, to be able to leave on time without being shot, to be able to openly discuss these pro projects without scare his manager, to be able to reconcile main job and freelance without feeling guilty or have to hide it.
- Positive competitiveness: there is no unhealthy jealousy here, instead of criticizing the success of their neighbor people are trying to do better than him.
What I don’t like in Canada:
- The consumer society: it’s a crazy thing in North America, shopping is a national sport. We are constantly solicited. There are balances all the time. It’s pretty destabilizing at first and it takes a little time to adapt.
- Friendly Relationships: I think that every immigrant was fooled by one of his first Canadian encounters. The Canadians are very welcoming and will offer to see each other again but in reality you have very little chance to hear about them again. The culture of friendship is different. We have everything to rebuild, our friends will be our families here while for them they already have a life, habits, friends and family here. My only true Canadian friend is like my family here.
- Hypocrisy and political correctness: Canadians do not like confrontation when we like to argue and have lively conversations.
- North American passion for air conditioning !!!
What I miss:
- Obviously the closeness with my family and my friends.
- The food, everything is healthier and cheaper in France.
- The long summer evenings to remake the world around a swimming pool and a barbecue.
- Summer car rides through the fields.
- The syrup, Monin or Eyguebelle if you hear me!
- Animated and passionate conversations with people of different opinions!
I hope it gives you a glimpse of these last 4 years rich in emotions, change, in decisions, if you want me to develop more fully a point let me know in the comments!
Enjoy your week and don’t forget your are amazing! Chase your dreams! !
Crédit photo: Chara Ho.