Mitchelle on Navigating Change
Updated: Jun 4
"My life in Canada brought me a lot of learning experiences and amazing memories. And when did I know that it has to change? It happened during a point when I felt betrayed, stuck and thwarted by life; I fought so hard to look for ways to end the brawl to no avail. I felt I had nobody so I turned to God.
It may sound clichéd and melodramatic, but it is true that when you realize you’re human and you do not have all the control, God will step in and He will find a way to get you out, no matter how deep you are in the pit. So when I surrendered everything to Him, I gradually learned to let go and found healing and forgiveness. God cleared my path so I can see clearly. After endless nights of careful contemplation of where I yearn to be, I decided to go back to the Philippines."
A NEEDED CHANGE
"Change is a scary thought for me. Change means getting out of my comfort zone, or letting go. For me it requires a great amount of self-awareness and motivation. It is never easy. But I read somewhere that the logical move is to make gradual changes (as opposed to drastic makeover like in the movies), until they stick. Awfully hard, but I am trying to follow this."
"Immersing myself in another culture was worthwhile. I discovered that it changed my perspective and my entire disposition. I realized that people’s personalities are fluid; they are influenced by a lot of factors. And when you get to this point of consciousness, it becomes hard to cast any sort of judgement on how people choose to live their lives."
"This experience made me discover a lot about myself and made me question some of my old values and beliefs. My hobbies and interests changed. My priorities were rearranged. This experience casted a different character in me and I am grateful for having experienced such change."
"I wish I had realized sooner that worry will not add one cubit. I wasted so much time thinking about what-ifs; there was a time when I let them take over and consume me. When I learned that there are tons of help out there that can show me how to deal with them successfully, it brought me great comfort and understanding that it is natural to have them and that they can go away when I chose to."
"The hardest part about moving back to the Philippines was the process of re-calibrating myself to the normal life in the country. When I say normal, I meant the dense population, traffic, job trends, and the “system”— all of it. For me, the best way to cope with it was to accept the situation. I know that if I do not own up to my decision, I will find myself complaining about the unpleasant things and start comparing the good life I had in Canada to my present reality."
"When I learn to accept that this is my life now, I learn to take responsibility for my choices. And then I start to see the good parts about moving back home. I became excited that I can now see and visit my parents anytime. I am closer to old friends and colleagues. I get to travel with my loved ones and experience the joy of seeing the beautiful places in the country. Now I get to slow down and feel grateful that I am able to start over and be finally home."
THE TRUTH TO THE STORY
"This is how people see my story: I fell in love with someone in the Philippines so I left Canada and live happily ever after. They missed the part where I had to weigh in on this big life decision. Not everyone knows that it took me years to finally be ready to go home. When I am in love, I lose most of my reason. This time around, I took my time to think."
"I worked so hard to get the Canadian citizenship, why would I give it up? I am earning enough in this career, why would I resign? What type of job is waiting for me in the Philippines? I will be going back to zero, can I handle it? How will my family feel about this move? Where will I live? What is the best step to take to protect my savings? How about my insurance? How about my debts? Do I want to get married? Am I ready to be a mother? Am I ready to give up so much? Is it worth it? These questions and a lot more occupied my mind for years in preparation to finally do what I had to do."
"I endured a long distance relationship for 3 years. I researched about citizenship. I inquired about loans and insurance. I worked double shifts and extra hours to upturn my savings and pay off my loans. I looked for potential jobs and businesses in the Philippines. I spent time with friends in Canada to say our good byes. I visited my favourite places in Alberta often enough to etch their memories in my head."
"It took a high level of mind setting, adjustments, and preparations. I want to share this part of my story so that people will know that in battles between heart and mind, sometimes it doesn’t matter who wins, what matters is the effort you put in to the process of finding the balance within your rational mind and intuitive heart. This experience has equipped my current mindset and made me grasp the importance of finding the middle ground."
WAYS OF THRIVING
"I found the liberating feeling of acceptance and it brought me to realize that some people will not recognize you for the real you. It doesn’t mean that they are set to not like you; it only means that they see you through the prism of their own lives and experiences. This teaches me to live in compassion and awareness about the people around me."
"When people hurt you, it is not always because of what you do or what you are. Sometimes, they have battles within themselves that you don’t see, which make them act the way they do towards you. I get a little self-absorbed and reckless about my decisions when I was younger. "
"Acceptance helped me see with eyes of clarity and kept me from burying my head in the sand. I believe accepting things as they are, is a great starting point that will ultimately open up possibilities that I may never have considered. I am set to practice this because I believe that time does not always heal everything, acceptance does."
"Among all the counsels I received, there were two that I will never forget. The first was from my aunt who is very dear to me, and the second was from a book by Terry Davoll Hudson, given to me by a friend:
1.) Take a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment towards anything that harmed you. Forgiveness and acceptance will free you from the burden seething inside your heart.
2.) The things that excite you are not random. They are connected to your purpose. Follow them."
"Undeniably, age is just a number. I think our life experiences define how “old” we are. Someone could be in his early thirties and had the same amount of pain as the other person in his fifties. Or maybe we should never compare life experiences. And due to this individuality, advices are very hard to impart."
"I guess if it comes to a point that I had to give guidance, I’d advice to practice self-awareness. It will help you evaluate your behaviours, values, ideals, and emotions. It will help you see that it is not always about the right or wrong direction. It is relatively about owning up to your choices and braving up to make changes when necessary."
"I spent my early 20s in Canada and called it home for almost a decade. Edmonton was my city and the people I lived and worked with became my second family."
"After I got my Bachelor’s Degree, I worked with BPO companies then shifted to working with a software development firm. I was happy & comfortable with my career in the Philippines, but offshore jobs looked very promising to me. I applied to large hotel groups outside the country for many years with no luck. And just when I was about to concede, an opportunity to work in Canada came, so I went for it. At first I wanted to just finish my 2-year contract, but I saw a chance of becoming a permanent resident, then after 6 years, I became a Canadian citizen."
"My life in Canada was bittersweet. It was hard because on top of working in a service industry where it was physically, emotionally, and mentally draining, I lived oceans away from my family and there was not a day that I did not think about them. It was ambivalent because even though it was tough, it was also immensely wonderful."
"I have a very long list of the things I miss most about Canada, but I will limit it to my top 10:
1. Safety. I can go on long walks or jog for miles and not worry about getting snatched. I’ve never felt as safe as I ever did in Canada.
2. Healthcare. Free healthcare. Clinics in every community. They follow-up on your check-ups, prescriptions, & medical appointments.
3. Efficiency. I rarely have to wait too long for anything in Canada. Grocery check-outs, bank transactions, postal services, in-store or online shopping, billings & payments are always hassle-free. Buses, taxis, and trains show up on time (and almost no heavy traffic). Food delivery arrives almost always swiftly. If your car is up for maintenance and you have to leave it onsite for a day, you get a loaner car service until yours is up & ready. If I encounter any troubles, someone can help me fix it immediately.
4. Cleanliness. Canada’s air smells pristine; it feels like smelling a purified snow with a hint of fresh pines. The streets are litter-free.
5. Shops/stores and all their deals. I miss the ability to easily find anything at a drop of a hat. Organic food stores. Vegan stores. Italian, Ukrainian, or Asian food stores. Any necessity I could possibly need was very easy to find. I also miss the ridiculous amount of coupons in my email and wallet (which I actually used towards my bills). I got a free Polaroid camera, a set of Delsey luggage, Kate Spade watches & jewellery, an electric hair brush, and spa vouchers from collecting Airmiles! I also got a free iPad mini from opening a savings account with a bank.
6. Tap water. I miss turning on the tap and getting cold, delicious, and safe water.
7. Mixture of cultures. Canada is a melting pot of different languages and culture. I used to volunteer at the Heritage Festivals; I loved experiencing Canada’s multiculturalism first hand. I used to go to the Taste of Edmonton with my cousins during summer; we enjoyed the colossal culinary offerings of Edmonton restaurants.
8. Food! I loved dining in the local restaurants and cafés in Edmonton. I miss the Italian dishes from Il Pasticcio Trattoria and Caffe Sorrentino in downtown, the Pho in that Vietnamese restaurant in Kingsway, the pastries at Duchess, the Neapolitan pizzas made by Famoso, and that roasted chicken at Jimmy the Greek!
9. Parks and open spaces. I loved going to the parks and jog along Edmonton’s trails. They are incredibly clean and lovely.
10. The People. Aside from my friends and family, I miss interacting with the locals in Canada. Canadians are very nice and friendly. The police officers (most of them, aside from looking incredibly gorgeous) are well respected and pleasant. Government employees, bank tellers, cashiers, bus drivers, taxi drivers, almost everyone are amusingly nice. Locals chat with you on the bus, they ask how your day was, they tell you to have a great day, or they say sorry and mean it. Ask for help and someone will help you. Smile and you will get a smile back."
"Twelve years ago, I thought I made a terrible mistake of moving to Canada. When I didn’t see anything but vast lands of snow from the shuttle’s window that picked me up from the airport, almost immediately that night, I felt sadness and regret. Days went by, my outlook evolved. The feelings of fright and loneliness gradually went away as I found new comfort in my new city. Culture shock is real but it ends when you begin to be open-minded and embrace your new reality."
"Same as when I landed back to the Philippines, I felt the same feeling of loss and confusion. I took it one step at a time until I was brave enough to embrace the whole change. I guess what I want to impart is in order to cope with change, take continuous little steps until you are bold, amenable, and resilient."
"When I become a mother, I never realized how selfless I could become until my daughter came. The fact that I try every waking moment to cultivate all parts of my life, to be the best person I could be for my child, is something I am very proud of."
"Right now I am busy parenting my toddler while overseeing two little family businesses. Also, I am currently into container planting of ornamentals and vegetables."
"I feel like I have grown and learned a lot recently, but there’s so much more I want to learn and experience. I have the ability to learn from my mistakes. I discovered that I can adjust to any kind of situation, as long as I put my heart and mind to it. Aside from outliving this pandemic, I look forward to extra hours of me-time and tick off more things on my to-do list."
Deeply moved by the bestselling book (that started off as a blog), Humans of New York Stories, I am making space for little stories from real people to spur me into thinking about and doing constructive things. We all have stories to tell, and they do carry a lot of weight. May the words and insights from these Little Storiestranslate into some form of hope, courage, and change above all else. ~Ray