First Thoughts: Canadian Moving Away From Home

Bear with me for a while, as I ramble on.

Twenty three years ago, my aunt from California filed for sponsorship that would allow my family to move into United States. That same year, we were also accepted into Canada, where my grandmother and many others on my mother’s side of the family now currently resides in Vancouver, BC.

My mom and dad chose Canada, where there are many benefits for a young family… everywhere you look, there’s peace, multiculturalism, and beautiful nature.

This is an interesting thought because, they chose for us, believing that Canada would be where we would set up our lives, get married, and grow old.

Then then cycle of life continues, because like how my parents chose to leave home to find a place that’s most suited for them. I, as their eldest daughter, decided that America was better for me.

I said my goodbyes to my family and friends in Vancouver, BC. There were weeks before the final moment of departure when I met with many of those who I grew close to in the recent year. Many people from all parts of my life came to my goodbye party… and it was surprising, because I felt so supported by those who I saw maybe just once in a while. Others were childhood friends who I still kept in touch with here and there but never even hung out in the same group. But oddly, they understood me as those who grew up from the same hometown would – we shared a special connection.

That same connection, I saw as I started to get settled down here in San Francisco, California. I found a sort of comfort from the people who came from where I grew up and they welcomed me with open arms.

The first few days were hectic. I boarded the plane with two luggages: way too many tank tops and shorts and only three pairs of shoes. I had an interview within the first few days of arrival, and then two others after that. It was in a way refreshing and challenging in a way that I had never experienced before. Interviews here are different. You sit through multiple rounds of interviews, presenting strategies, speaking to CEOs. You come head to head with the realization that you have to work harder and stand out so much more because the competition here is immense.

People are here from ivy league schools, from other parts of the world all wanting the same thing. People here are smart and motivated and won’t take bullshit. People here mean business.

Already, I feel like I’ve grown so much and feel so much more alive from how much of my brain and networking skills I’ve had to use in the past two weeks.

At the same time as I was interviewing, I was trying to get settled into my new life. Somehow, I had managed to get a lot of things set up in the first few days and even prior to my arrival. I’ve stumbled into an amazing flatmate, J, who set up everything related to housing. I’ve managed to snag a phone plan with a lucky phone number that starts with the local area code, 415. My furniture from Amazon Prime had arrived and was waiting for me to put it all together. I needed new toiletries and other random things to help me feel at home, and the people I had connected with prior to my trip were all kind enough to take me on a big shopping spree.

Thankfully, I had wonderful friends like K who helped me get set up and was lucky enough to meet some great flatmates. J in particular invited me to attend several socials. I met so many wonderful people already who barely knew me at all, but were just down to help me out of the kindness of their heart.

The challenge though, is none of them felt truly close. I think it will feel that way, as I start to develop my friendships from scratch once again. Somedays, I’ll feel like crying because I’ll feel awfully alone…it’s like I am climbing a mountain, starting from the very base. As I climb, I realize how much more steep it is than I had originally anticipated. 

It is harder to interview because of my visa situation. All five recruiting firms I spoke to said they could not help me, so when others were getting interviews after interviews, I have to make the extra effort to set up my own.

Despite these set backs, I feel lucky in other aspects of my professional life. I’ve made some great connections so far…managing to stumble into events where I met likeminded people who are supportive, speaking to some smart people who want nothing more than to help. Feeling my way through things and meeting people who want to give me advice and connect me with others. I’m volunteering, getting coffee chats.

I know I’m being impatient, but looking back I’ve already made great progress in just two short weeks. By doing so, I am one step closer to reaching the peak.

It’s a whole new ballgame out here, but yet it comes natural to me. 

You know that feeling…? When for the first time ever, it feels like you’re coming home.

I have an inkling that San Francisco, California is where I belong.

Until I’ve found my way, I won’t give up. For now, I’ll continue to enjoy life on the way to the top. I know that I deeply believe in this saying: “Life is a journey, not a destination.” So far, for whatever damn luck, I’ve formed an amazing bunch of friends who I know by gut instinct are people I can depend on.

Adventures on the weekend has been fun…singing karaoke from my phone on my bed, to attending festivals and from hiking, to exploring the city, to taking road trips down to southern California, and then getting lost on the BART. I know, there will be many more stops to come.

There are moments in the night when I’ve also come to a realization. That, the only person I need to trust is myself. I need to believe that I can do it. I need to believe that I’ll make it.

Lesley, I believe in you. Let’s make it happen.

Friends, thanks for believing in this silly girl who wants to make her dreams come true. Thanks for believing that I can do it.




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