Did you know that migration makes you go back to being teenagers?

Psychological aspects and implications of the migration phenomenon seen from the eyes of those who decide to move abroad

To leave is to die a bit.

regarding the things you love

for we leave a little of ourselves

in every place at every moment.

It is a subtle and definitive pain

like the last verse of a poem...

To leave is to die a bit.

regarding the things you love

It starts like a game

before the extreme journey

and in every farewell we sow

a little bit  of our soul.

Edmond Haracourt

 

 

Leaving is a bit like dying', says this poem by Haracourt, and after all, in my opinion, without being melodramatic, it's a bit like that. When you decide to emigrate it's a bit like leaving our past life, closing it, in favor of a new life, all to be discovered. The departure becomes a watershed so from this moment on each event will be placed in a "before" and "after" this event. It's a bit like coming back as virgins, a sort of tabula rasa, where what was done before the departure ended, left us a mark, a teaching, and now we're ready again to question ourselves, to learn new things and to face new challenges and new adventures. It's as if we were turning children again or maybe teenagers even though we're finished adults, we have to learn to live a new life, to rebuild ourselves from scratch.

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Once I got there, then, I felt like a fish out of the water that had to learn and face many unknown things: a different culture from mine, a different climate from the Italian one, a different mentality from the Mediterranean one to which we are accustomed, a much more precise approach to work, sectorialized, regulated, a different food from the Italian one made of more spicy flavors unknown to me, a city architecture completely different from ours (do you know that in Germany you don't use the grates on the windows?), a lifestyle much more attentive to the environment and to the neighbor in which if a ray of sun comes out even if it only has  5 degrees, you go out into the garden to eat and you make barbeque as if it were 30 degrees and if it does not rain, even if there is snow, you go around by bike!

So, what happens in the mind of the migrant? On the one hand, as already mentioned, we go back to school to learn a new language, we face everything as if it were the first time and in fact it is, it is the first time in a country that is not ours! Of course, we have already gone to the post office a thousand times in Italy to send something or pick up a package, but when we get the first package from home perhaps full of pasta and other typical products of our land, for the first time we have to confront us with the staff of the post office of the new country in which we are and discover how the post offices works in the land that is hosting us. We go back to being children because we miss our mum and dad as we missed them when they left us at kindergarten or with the baby sitter, because we realize that we pay attention to the smallest and most insignificant things of the new place where we are because we see them for the first time, or simply because we see them with different eyes, we get excited in front of the snow, sometimes we get angry in front of the snow because maybe we come from a city in southern Italy where everything is blocked by the snow realizing instead, that if well equipped, in northern Europe you can do everything even if there is snow! And while all this happens, without realizing it, we learn and we slowly get used to new habits and this will be the key to our good or bad adaptation in the country that hosts us. Yes, our ability to adapt....

Fortunately, due to the need to evolve, the human being has a great capacity to adapt, more than one might think. It is enough that you commit yourself to get out for a whole month from the bed with the foot with which today you are not used to get out and after a month in which you will try to use the other one you will get down magically and autonomously without having to think about it anymore. In takes 30 days to change a habit or to install a new one. Try it, it works!

 

Emigrating then is a challenge that teaches us to come back, to face different problems with diffrent solutions that perhaps we had never thought of. It teaches us to broaden our horizons, to understand the true value of things. For it can teach you to live in a very small space with few clothes in the closet and still feel good if you are satisfied with your live. It teaches us to relate to new cultures, to meet people who come from different cultures from ours to whom certain questions, such as asking how much they earn, is inconvenient.

 

So, despite the initial difficulties in getting used to everything, don't throw in the towel before you really test it in the field, take the time to reinvent yourself in a new place, to get used to different habits.

Maybe this experience is not for you. But you have learned something: you know what you need and what you do not need, you know who you are, you have seen so many things from a different perspective, you see your country with different eyes, with love, with pride in some aspects, with nostalgia certainly

 

Or maybe this experience is for you. You are happy, you feel confident with much less uncertainty, but above all proud of yourself for having succeeded!

Those who have already had this experience, like me, will understand, because that's how it feels when you leave your country, your family, your friends. I remember that two years ago, when I left for Germany, I bought stationery useful to start the language course as if I had to go from middle to high school, or perhaps from elementary to middle school, given the amount of iridescent colored puppets that crowded my new case, my new pens and pencils, my new notebooks.

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