I love observing immigrants. It is my weird thing. I just love their take on the culture shock and seeing how they cope. They move with such caution, light-footed. Their choices are tied to so many things. It is almost a burden. We are so lucky to be in a country were compassion is a natural response. As much as coming to this country was scary and had difficult moments surrounding navigating the systems in place; I cannot say migrating has been something to regret. I blame that solely on how I assimilated. Also, the birth of a Canadian-born child. You see, if you moved here with children from another country, they will be subdued and burdened with things a child shouldn’t. When you have a child in the country you migrated to, they almost seem to cruise through life. We find ourselves shaking our heads at the simplicity and ease of my son’s life. This caused me to compare the resolve within that never truly let us settle. This isn’t our home, but it is his. He will never have to learn to assimilate and will naturally thrive in certain situations. This will be worse once he goes through the various systems that span his life cycle. No internal battle to attach himself to Canadian ways or to hold on to his ‘first culture’. A lot of immigrants become so stuck in their ‘first culture’, they refuse to adapt to the ways of their new world. Irresponsibly imparting certain views in a tolerant environment. Carelessly handling themselves in a way that makes them think their ‘first culture’ is an excuse. Recklessly throwing away all the sacrifices and investments made to pave the way. I say all this to say, assimilation is so important.
A lot of people think to leave their home country for a better life, but never check the culture of where they’re going. What is common place in the corporate world? How loose or strict are certain industries (of interest)? Something as simple as understanding what a ‘scent free’ environment is, knowing a sharp fragrance is a part of being fully dressed. You will have to go back to school. Period. Even to do a ‘small’ course. Are you open to learning and formal education again? Are you ok with ‘play-based’ learning for your children? The concept of free public schools may be new and seem like a relief, but can you accept limited say in your child’s education? If religious, how would you navigate the LGBT curricula that is taught in public schools? How would you handle private school tuition, knowing as an immigrant you won’t necessarily get a high-paying job right away? It is imperative to consider residences and learn about surrounding communities. Child-rearing will fall heavily on parents and a daycare provider. Are you keen on the cost both financially and mentally to get an older relative to come and help instill your values and morals? Are you prepared to leave your children for hours with someone who looks nothing like you? Are you aware of the political practices where you’re going? Is there civil conflict, uprisings or mistreatment of those marginalized? What are their considerations around health and healthcare? What do their people look like? No, really, intersectionality creates clusters of people and what they do and look like is very important. Where is your community located and what are their social stats? What about social programs and views on community support? Who gets respect? Will your qualifications mean anything? Can you promise yourself that you will seek to manage your mental health when faced with coercion from societal pressure? Are you racist and known to discriminate? There is also more interracial dating because the culture of those who grow up or is born here is wholly Canadian with references to their parents’ culture. They do not live by their parents’ culture with reference to Canadian mores. No matter how much parents speak their language, take their kids to visit ‘back home’ or inundate them with stories of past times; their culture is first. Can you accept interracial relationships? Can your child marry who they please? Are you a person that will experience a language barrier? This will affect how far you get ahead in the corporate world, so can you learn a new language at your age? Immigrant health is known to decline over the years, what is your coping plan? What will you do when you are homesick? Do you laugh a lot and often, or know how to at all? You will have so many moments when you don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I say all this to say, research and prepare yourself so that you can assimilate, as this is non-negotiable when it comes to survival.
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