Love is strange. It is said to make fools out of even the most brilliant. In the beginning, it was my love for adventure that drew me to Canada. Before the move, I was a nurse and part-time lecturer in the Philippines. Eventually, the mundaneness of the days caught up to me. Waking up and playing out the same routine was tiring. I wanted to experience something new. I wanted to see the world, and more than anything, I wanted to be more than what I was born into.
I started saving every penny I made to afford the shift. I knew I wanted to study something new and eventually decided on chemical engineering. The field was uncharted territory, but the newness excited me. After years of saving, I finally made the move to Canada. The day my plane took off from the airport, I knew there was no looking back. As I sat in the airplane seat, the absurdity of what I was about to do finally set in. I was moving all alone, leaving behind my parents and sister, the home I had known, in search of a new one. For the first time, it felt like I may not be able to find it.
I was wrong. I did find it. However, like all good things, it took time. Lots of time. I spent 2 years completing my academic program. My days were a lot busier then. I remember working three jobs one summer, shifting through my days as if I were not a real person but a shadow swiftly moving across the city pavement. Human connection was rare in those days. Friendships require time and effort; I had neither. As the loneliness of my days caught on, I began to feel invisible, as if the space I occupied was not meant for me.
I graduated this year from my academic program. It was an odd feeling. The degree I had spent so hard working towards was finally mine. As I walked down the stage, I remembered the sacrifices it took to get here. I remembered the late-night studying, the jobs, the classes. At that moment, I realized I would do it all again if I had to. I possessed something in Canada that I would never have in the Philippines: opportunity. The effort I put in would amount to something. It would never go wasted.
After months of searching and interviewing, I finally landed a job in my field. This job is not as hectic. I finally have more time. Now, I take every chance I get to connect with old friends and make new ones. I think a part of me is still trying to compensate for the busyness of the last two years.
I came to Canada because of my love for adventure. However, as fate would have it, it wasn't the only love I found. Finding someone I could connect with was not on my list. It was not a part of the plans I made for myself. I consider it a gift from the universe, a sign that things are falling into place. Having someone to share the tribulations of my days with dramatically alters the course of my day. When I come home, and we talk, the hardships wash away, revealing the person I am beneath all these aspirations, difficulties, and desires.
I came to Canada in search of something new, and while I did find it, I also found something much more precious: myself. Canada was not just a place of external discovery but also a space for internal rediscovery.
Please note that certain facts have been altered for anonymity
This story is a collaborative effort between Vipasna Nangal and Maria Bautista