Contribution from Maya

Adapting to a New Country: Managing your Roots

I chose this topic as it’s what I’ve been doing every single day during the last year.
When you migrate for any reason, there are some circumstances to manage. It doesn’t matter whether you’re rich, educated and young, or poor, illiterate and old. As a migrant, you will face a couple of things.
● Leaving your home country
● surviving in a foreign country

Keep your old roots alive

Let me illustrate it for you. Imagine a plant is pulled out from the ground to be implanted in another ground. Leaving where you were born, where you have been nourished, where you have grown up. Leaving your safe zone is the fist part. Let’s come back to the plant. It’s just placed in a new ground. How does it feel? It must be cold, dark and hard. You need to adapt your thick old roots and make some thin fresh roots as well. That would be such an exhausting and time-consuming process to keep alive, this is the second part. Do you know what makes this battle so hard to overcome? Fighting on both sides at the same time. You have no idea how difficult it can be without getting ready for it.

Firstly, you will be home-sick. You’ll feel down. Nothing is joyful any more. You have lost every familiar lovely thing that you had been used to your whole life. It can be an endless list starting with family, friends and food.

Making a phone call is a useful solution through which you are struggling to picture the smell of your mum’s hair, the tenderness of your spouse’s kiss or the extreme joy of your children’s smiles. A good attempt, but watch it! It’s very likely to sink in it. Sometimes this medicine transforms into a drug. You might become phone addicted and then you will be living on your mobile phone, iPad and laptop, literally. You have surrounded yourself with all those songs, films and clips from your home country. First of all, every time that you have to drag yourself out from this virtual world it could be a shock “ I’m not there any more. How sad!”

On the other hand, after a while, probably, you won’t be keen to communicate, to get along with some real people from the real world. I’ve got a more analogous suggestion for you. Do frame some pictures of your family, friends and your favourite places? Put them on your bedside or hang them on the wall? They will sweeten your room. The uprooted plant will breath some familiar scents.

The easiest part is finding your home country foods and ingredients. (Thankfully, you have migrated in modern time in which almost everything is available). Get started with cooking, have a try. However, it seems impossible to remake your mum’s cooking. At least you’re making your own meal ( particularly, as a student or refugee you aren’t able to afford to eat meals out very often). Cooking is one of the most joyful weapons against gray moments.

Finally, I’m going to share my personal experience, a helpful treat, I explored this accidentally. Use the perfume that you used to wear in the past. An invisible treatment that brings some delightful memories back to you unconsciously.. It reminds you of your previous life in pleasant ways positively instead of regretting what you’ve missed.

Create new roots

Are you an easy-going person? How flexible are you? The answer to these questions can save you, from what? Depression, disappointment and discouragement.
Embrace new things openly and generously. If someone suggested what you haven’t done before the correct answer is “Yes”( as long as you don’t break your leg). Enjoy a new experience like testing a new food. It won’t kill you. Go to new places, wherever is your type, a local park or local pub. Do something, anything that makes you feel better, walking, talking, shopping. You need to keep yourself busy positively. Start what you always wanted to do or learn. I started running which was kind of impossible before. You have to distract yourself from what you wish and miss which is inaccessible at the moment. Don’t choose to live in limbo. Commuting between where you were loved, to where you are and live will make you remain like a wandering confused soul.

Search out your compatriots and make relationships with them. These people can guide you to manage the difficulties of ordinary life and routine such as which shop has the best ingredients from your country . Find some people, from the new country, who have things in common with you. It can be related to your education, skills and passions. (in this case, social media is a massive aid )
As a part of a community you will be more confident and courageous. Making strong and reliable links with people from the country that you came from and people from the country that you arrived in helps to create the feeling of belonging to a new place, society and culture. These relationships are your fresh roots. They will nourish and strengthen you slowly and softly and you will feel safe and secure soon.

Finally, share your happiness and sadness with your new friends. Share your cooking and food. This is the best part of cooking for me. “Delicious” is such an amazing word for feedback. A table covered by plates full of hot and colourful simple meals is the best place to bring hearts together. I’ve had dinner with people, who were from the five contents, with beautiful smiles on happy faces in different colours, as dark as a pure coffee, as white as vanilla ice cream.
It’s the meaning of friendship, isn’t it?