63 Another move – Living abroad

January 23, 2024

«¡Los mexicanos nacemos donde nos da la rechingada gana!»

Chavela Vargas

I think we often idealise or underestimate what it implies to move from one country to another. From the outside, it seems simple, but being a migrant presents many challenges. Human mobility ranges from those with the privilege of travelling comfortably to those who risk everything for a better life. Everyone deserves respect and support. Being a migrant means entering the unknown, facing challenges, and adapting daily to a new reality. Even if some of us migrate from a position of “privilege,” we all need empathy and solidarity to face this process.

For almost 6 years away from my home country, I’ve tried not to share the challenging experiences we’ve lived through. Very few people can understand it, and the responses I received when I did were disheartening. However, while I acknowledge our privilege and luck in life, we also face tough moments.

Our last move was chaotic. When we were confined due to COVID in Ireland, I couldn’t imagine how everything would change. At first, the idea of working from home excited me, but fear took hold of me as I watched the news. Confinement, the weather, and uncertainty wreaked havoc on my mental health. I tried to evade it by working, but depression intensified every day. The bad news started pouring in, close deaths occurred, and we tried to support from a distance, but everything hurt too much. I began to lose myself more in depression, and when this happens, there are no activities or words that serve to get out of that hole. Until one day, an email appeared in my inbox with a job offer. I remember perfectly that all I read was, “We offer you more than 300 days of sun,” I immediately replied that I was interested; that’s where the adventure began.

When the interview process arrived, my intuition immediately told me that it wouldn’t be a good career move, but it would be a good life move. I remember perfectly what I felt and how I tried to convince myself that I would have control to enjoy my work and that it would be best to live in a sunny place near the sea. So, I resigned from my job; when I had my farewell (virtual), I felt my heart breaking because I was leaving good company and people who truly inspired me. I knew that the decision I was making was to survive; my mental health was very affected.

My human was the best support; he managed his relocation, and we were lucky that such a move was allowed despite the restrictions. Everything seemed to flow in our favour. We packed everything, and during a pandemic, we moved. The surprise was that, on my first day of work, I was informed that they hadn’t realised I was Mexican and, therefore, had no permission to live in that country. I swear I almost had a heart attack; I thought it was a joke until I realised we had a real problem when they gave me the documents and requirements I needed to start the process. That’s when the nightmare began because if bureaucracies are terrible, during COVID, everything was worse. My days became more complicated; I felt like a fool for making such a move, for not listening to my intuition, I blamed my “weakness” in the face of darkness and difficult moments for exposing my human, who couldn’t go back to work in Ireland because all his papers had already been moved; I felt awful; we had already moved all our things, sold everything we had in Ireland, and were already paying rent for the new home.

In the new country, we could stay for three months and then had to return to Ireland to continue our visa process there. The issue became complicated; they told me we were going to Ireland for only one week while they processed the new visa, and that week turned into three long months. Fortunately, our guardian angel rescued us because due to the restrictions, there were no hotels, and renting was not allowed. But we called our former landlord, and fortunately, he hadn’t rented the house where we used to live, so we returned to that home.

Those three months were challenging; we returned to the darkness of the Irish winter, and I plunged into a severe depression. My body no longer responded to me; I only woke up to connect my computer and work. My mind would get lost again as soon as my working hours were over. The restrictions continued, and we couldn’t leave the house; I didn’t have a single book; the house was empty, and we had the minimum to carry on with our lives. My human tried to encourage me, but I still felt the failure of my decision.

Everything terrified me; I got sick; I didn’t enjoy my job. I had never received such bad treatment in a work environment. I tried with all my might to focus on the positive: that my human and I were together, that my loved ones were still safe from the virus, and that, fortunately, we had a safe place to live through this experience. In Mexico, as always, I received support from my mom and a great friend who helped us get all the documents we needed, but I was terrified of exposing them and having them go out for our paperwork.

Finally, after three months and eight days, we received the call announcing the approval of our visas. I cried joyfully; I will never forget the hug from my fav human; we were ready. I wanted to run out of Ireland; I needed to see a day with sun, with a blue sky. We bought our flights, and the next day, we were back in what would finally be our new Spanish home. I remember the joy I felt at returning to this country that has welcomed us since then. I must confess that Spain was never on my radar; we have a list of places where we would like to live, and Spain is not on that list, but I don’t know what it is about this country that has enamoured me. I had never enjoyed a place so much.

My intuition fails me very rarely; everything I assumed would happen in my work environment happened. My first year was challenging; I often cried out of frustration and sadness. I wore myself out physically and mentally, but I also knew I had arrived where my soul wanted to be and that it was just a temporary job. Having an experience like this was valuable because it was another form of learning. I lived many things there that I never wanted to be or do. Ultimately, everything falls into place, and new sunrises always come. Today, I am very grateful for what we lived. My fav human and I are enjoying this great opportunity of life immensely.

So, now new posts will come with everything cool and what has marvelled us the most about living in this country.

Thank you for reading.

Wishing you a fantastic day! 😘

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