Monday, April 2, 2012

Three Years.

I'm in a bit of a quiet spell here at the moment, which is really only because there is a lot going on off the computer, some of which I hope I'll remember to talk about later, and some of which will doubtlessly be lost in the crevices of my grey matter.

But, today is my expat birthday.  Today I'm three.  I'm not really sure how I feel about that although there's something about it that seems worthy of making a note of.  I'm not sure I expected that I'd still be here three years later, mind you I'm not really sure what I'd figured would happen.

I do like that I'm more comfortable here, though even with three years of experience I am reminded at least once every day by something that happens either in conversation or event that I am not from here, and that I do not "belong" here.  Perhaps I am welcome here, I don't know that for certain either, but it's not the same.  This might seem bleak but it's not.  You can have great times even when you feel as though you are not 'in your proper place', but there will always be moments where you feel that outsiderness, I think.

Right now what I can say is that after putting in three years of hard work with another language, a different job-market, and a generally different prevalent philosophy of 'how to live life', I feel like I might actually be getting somewhere, possibly, and that the advances I've made will be of worth to me regardless of where I end up in the future.  Certainly my language skills have improved.  I am more patient and a touch less serious about myself, and I may possibly have cracked the tough nut of how to become a recognized professional in the kitchen here.  Possibly.

I'm also quite tired though.  I probably wouldn't have been so much so if it weren't for the unexpected injury last September, the long road to recovering from it (still going,) and the added drama caused by one incredibly unsupportive and downright pessimistic (ex)employer.  Running back and forth from my union, my health-insurance providers, and learning the ropes of how Belgians play office politics hadn't really been an item on my list of "things to learn", but nonetheless I know much more about it now than I ever wanted to.  And I'm still learning, reluctantly, about these things.

I do feel at three years that I've got most of the basics solidly down.  I feel now that instead of trying to figure out simply how to be here, or even how to deal appropriately with what life throws at me, that the challenges are shifting toward my figuring out how to steer myself toward achieving the goals I have in mind.  Not "survive in Belgium" goals, but "get what you want out of life" goals.  After three years, I'm just starting to arrive at that similar point, mentally, where I was shortly before I left Toronto, trying to figure out the same things, no longer distracted so regularly by more basic matters of survival.

While I can't say with any certainty where I'm taking myself, I'll say that what's on the horizon looks nicer than it has ever looked before.  That, and despite the lack of a predictable trajectory, it's still very nice to feel less like a hapless passenger in my life here and more like the one with her hands on the wheel.

1 comment:

Efrutik said...

Cheers to "hands on the wheel"! Congrats Jessica it's a huge thing actually. Giving hope to me as well, who knows Berlin might end up being home after all.