I am for the first time in my life an immigrant. I’ve been one for the past two years. Any changes in me? My DNA is probably still the same, I haven’t checked but Papa Science assures me it still is. I have not become more melodramatic, which I notice is quite a common “skill” us, immigrants, acquire. It’s either that I reached my full melodramatic potential before I became an immigrant, or, the version of reality I personally prefer, my not so new anymore immigrant status made me much more practical.
I can’t help it but hear Gary V in my head – yup, I hear voices, call the doctor! In his book “Crushing it!” which is actually the first audio book I ever listened to, courtesy of my friend Daniela, yes the photographer I mentioned so many times already. Gary (how familiar we are already, we go on first name basis) said that he couldn’t be happier that he is an immigrant and attributes all his drive to this. When you’re one, your family is probably far so there is nobody to rely on. You have no option but to succeed.
When things get hard, I get slightly jealous at the second generation immigrants, or should they just be called kids of immigrants? I am not really familiar with the terminology. My jealousy comes from all the opportunities naturalisation in a much better place than the one that you came from brings. Ok, I am not actually jealous (most of the time) but I am from time to time thinking – lucky bastard! Too sensitive a word for you eyes? Then let me rephrase it: I admire the parents who have sacrificed the comfort of their homes, of a country and language that they knew so well, in order to give you more options in life. No pressure on your shoulders, right?
Now, should we tackle an issue that most immigrants either think of or have encountered – how do locals see you? I am a first generation immigrant and I was either oblivious to it, or had a huge load of luck that I didn’t have anybody treating me differently because I was one. It’s either this or I was surrounded by too many immigrants to stand out, which especially in this situation, is fine by me.
I heard so many stories about how Romanians are treated abroad, and how Romanians treat other Romanians, that every time I thought of it, my heart would sink to the size of a flea – Romanian expression. However, I want to take this moment to thank the Romanian girl who I worked with in Harvey Nichols, who not only was super nice and helpful, she actually kept an eye out for any job that might be good for me. Hats off for your kindness.
Another thing about immigrants – after a few years abroad, to me it happened only after two, you start seeing your own country through a sort of a fantasy lens: quick crystalline rivers, sun is brighter, grass is greener, that kind of a thing. You only remember the good of it all. Ok, if you make a conscious effort, you might remember something really bad, but nothing in between, or is that just me?
Except nail-biting Brexit and sometimes still thinking in Romanian and laughing when it comes out all wrong in English, UK feels like home.
I’d love to know your own immigrant stories if you’d like to share in the comments below, I am always fascinated by the subject.