So 2012 is here. The Mayans predicted it would be the end of the world. I, on the other hand, believe that this will be one fantastic year.
It’s been almost a year-and-a-half since I arrived in Canada and man, has it been a crazy journey so far. Immigration is truly a whirlwind, and sometimes when you’re in the middle of all of it, it’s hard to take a minute and honestly reflect on what’s been happening. In the past 12 months, I was really, really busy. Busy adjusting, busy transitioning, busy learning…and it all never stops.
I needed to take a moment, take a breath and to look back. That’s what new years are for. It’s the one time of year when people—even those usually oblivious—take the time to think what they’d like to change or improve.
It seems like it took the beginning of the ‘end-of-the-world’ for me to pay attention. But the moment has finally come.
As the year began, I woke up one day and realized that I had achieved so many of the dreams that I had previously thought were unattainable.
I used to sit on the other side of the globe and dream of the exact experience I’m going through right now. I wanted to live in another culture, pursue a Master’s degree, and challenge myself. I wanted to meet people from all over the world and live independently.
I wanted to learn more than I could’ve ever learned while in the comforts of my own home.
This is exactly my life now: I’m living in Vancouver, a world away from home. I’m enrolled in one of the world’s top universities. I live on the top floor of a house (back home we don’t live in other people’s houses…ever) with my great South African and Canadian roommates. I’ve met people from Venezuela, Nepal, France, Belgium, Malta, Columbia, India, America, Korea, Denmark, Mexico, China, Iceland, Japan…and so much more.
And if you haven’t read any of my previous column entries, well I’m as far away from the “comfort” of home as I can get. For all of that I am entirely and profoundly grateful and I’ve decided to start 2012 with a sense of appreciation and a commitment to take the time to really experience and reflect on all that is happening around me.
I’ve truly learned so much in Canada. I’ve learned how to keep an open mind and push myself to try new things. How to explain and examine aspects of my own culture that I took for granted. How to be more open to learning more about who I am. How to effectively perform household chores (sigh). How to walk in snow (considering I fell 15 times in the first hour I tired, this IS impressive). How to make a family out of people who don’t share the same name as I do. How to wrap my mind around a massive time difference. How to view massive challenges and setbacks as learning experiences.
Now I can’t wait for all the new things 2012 will bring, all the lessons I will learn and all the people I will meet. This is the year of exploration and I would like to share with you my new year’s resolution: “I dedicate 2012 to discovering, improving and embracing who I am with patience, love, honesty and forgiveness while remaining humble, kind, understanding, appreciative and eternally curious.”
And just because we love Top Ten lists: Here are my top ten resolutions for 2012:
- No More McDonald’s (It’s difficult when you live half a block away from one).
- Embrace new challenges.
- Visit every neighborhood in Vancouver.
- Read and write more.
- Learn to walk better in snow (I think this one is accomplished already, wooohoo!)
- Do or say at least one kind thing to a stranger each month.
- Finally accept that it will rain…a lot.
- Learn the art of layering my clothes (Oh, Vancouver!).
- Buy an unbreakable umbrella (sixth one broken as of today).
- Maintain a child-like curiosity and excitement about all that’s happening around me.
What are your resolutions for this year?