After the euphoria of the first month wore off, some things went upside down for a while. Here’s what really stood out:

Meltdown:

Even if everything went perfectly with the move, I still would have had a meltdown eventually. It happened when I moved before and I know different things have the potential to set it off. For me personally, it’s normal for me to have a meltdown after a month or so in a new country. I can’t speak for other expats though. I think there should be more transparency about the are ups and downs in the process because immigrants aren’t robots.

My first post-international move meltdown was two months after moving to England. I was in school and I hated it because I was being bullied for my accent. I didn’t expect to have a meltdown after repatriating to the USA because it was my home country and I wasn’t expecting to go through culture shock. Soon after I wrote my post about the theme for my first month here in Canada, I had a meltdown.

The thing that set me off was: a toxic American. It hit me that Trump has brought out the absolute worst of Americans. It takes different forms, but the fact of the matter is, it’s been traumatizing dealing with it for the past four years. I got to the point it’s been hard to distinguish rhyme from reason. I have lost friends who I initially thought were good people, but then it was like they had turned bad almost overnight. People aren’t who they say they are. That’s what you get when you’re part of an entire culture of people who are hurting for one reason or another.

I’m not saying I’m perfect though. I have lashed out too. Generally, I like to be low-key and get on with life. However, it doesn’t mean I don’t make mistakes. I have forgiven the people who have hurt me though, and even though I wish I could be forgiven for my mistakes, I have accepted it might not happen.

It hurts me to see a country I used to love imploding. I asked my Mum, “Why does this hurt so much??” And she said, “Because you care.” I never thought of that before. Even so, I’m not going to put myself in a situation where I have to deal with toxic Americans. I have put up my own personal boundaries and I. AM. DONE.

The most important thing I can do when I’m having one of those meltdowns is to listen to what my intuition is trying to tell me. For example, when I was in England, my intuition was saying to me, “I don’t want to stay here forever.” When I repatriated to the US, my intuition said to me, “Maybe this was a bad idea.” Now, when I had a meltdown, my intuition said to me, “I CANNOT go back to the USA! I just can’t!” And get this, my intuition has ultimately been right. I didn’t stay in England forever. It was a bad idea to repatriate. And now, I have been thinking about what I can do so that I don’t have to return to the USA. While I was going through the meltdown, I didn’t have the room in my feelings to say that I love Canada. Once I felt better, I was able to express the fact that I genuinely love it here and I’m going to do everything I possibly can to stay!

I was also incredibly lonely. It’s not like I can go out and meet people because of the pandemic like I used to before. I missed my friends and just being around people.

Getting Settled:

I’m going to be real with you. It takes a MINIMUM of two months to get settled in a new country! I kid you not, it took almost a year to feel settled when I repatriated to the US. Of course, there is more to getting settled in a new country than meets the eye.

Getting settled goes faster if everyone involved pitches in and helps. If you have a job or have to study, it goes slower. Even though getting physically settled makes a difference in how you feel settled mentally, there is a mental side to adjusting to a new country that takes a lot longer.

I have been taking advantage of counselling services this time while I’m in transition. I have never done that before, but I knew I had to this time. Since I’m new to Canada, I am still trying to figure out what services to find and where. I was able to find crisis counselling where you get six free sessions. My counsellor has told me how I can find expat resources and other important information that citizens use too.

When you’re getting settled in a new country, there is a considerable amount of running around and doing chores. During our mandatory quarantine, we had to buy everything we needed online which was less tiring but also had its disadvantages. Once we got out of quarantine, we were going outside almost every day. We were feeling under pressure to get things done because we had no idea how COVID restrictions were going to change. Even the days we’re at home, there are still a lot of chores to do online.

My Mum and I have been efficient at getting chores done, but we also realized we burned ourselves out. We’re deliberately going to have a low-key, quiet Christmas and make a point of taking a break for a while. COVID restrictions have tightened in Alberta anyway, so we think it’s best to lie low for a while.

Additionally, I have had some issues going independent on my blog, so I’m going to take some time to improve it when I’m laying low. I’m hoping I can do some posts and also work on the book I hope to publish in a year! We’ll see though. I need to do some improvments.

COVID-19:

Speaking of COVID, if the pandemic situation in Calgary was as bad as California, it would have taken a lot longer to get settled. Since starting my pain treatment, I have had to go out a lot more, and my treatment plan has been switched up so I am seeing more healthcare providers. I don’t worry about COVID when getting treatment. It’s just that usually we stop at stores to get whatever we need. Although, I am happy that I will be getting a bit of a break for treatment soon. In some ways, these restrictions are going to affect my treatment, but I’m okay with that.

Since the end of our quarantine, my Mum and I have had a couple of scares where we thought we might have been exposed. My biggest scare happened when I went to the post office. The guy at the desk said he didn’t normally work at that branch. He had been called in because a couple of days before, the post office had to close because one of the regular staff had contracted COVID. I was glad I had my KN95 mask on. When I left, I went to the nearby mall and practically washed the skin off my hands!

Now, we’re prioritizing our outdoor chores more carefully. We decide if we both need to do them and we spread out the time between them.

I will say this about dealing with the pandemic in California. My family had some emergency N95/KN95 masks on hand long before the pandemic because we’ve been getting once-in-a-generation wildfires every year! Who wants to breathe that crap from the fires or contract the virus? Not me! 

I have noticed my bandwidth has been a lot lower overall from getting settled. Someone hacked one of my social media accounts because I didn’t spot the warning signs. Normally, I don’t fall for scams, but I guess this was a clue to how vulnerable I was. I found myself checking the weather forecast a lot during this time because I kept thinking, “Where’s the snow? I need something beautiful!”

Last week, we had a chinook that broke an 81-year-old temperature record! Did I bring California winter with me?

And then we finally got a bit of snow! For me, that’s a better end to a rough month! Will there be a White Calgarian Christmas? Watch this space!

First Month Theme: Is This A Thing?

Calgary Quarantine Diaries: Week 1

Calgary Quarantine Diaries: Week 2

Self-Care

About Author

I am a Third Culture Kid who has lived in five different countries: 🇨🇭🇫🇷🇺🇸🇬🇧🇨🇦/🇯🇲🇷🇺. I moved to Canada in October 2020 and I started blogging about adjusting to life here. Follow my blog for tips on expat life, stories about my life as a Third Culture Kid, features on where I have lived, and world news.

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4 Comments

  1. kagould17 – Not much to tell. After working for 3 companies over 43+ years (38 years 7 months with my last company), I finally got that promotion I had waited my entire career for……retirement. I have been exploring this new career for the past 7+ years and while it is not always exciting, the chance to do what I want for myself and my family instead of what my company wants has been very fulfilling. Early on, there was a long list of projects in my “to-do” hopper and I attacked these projects with a vengeance for the first 9 months of retirement. Eventually, my brain told me that this was not what retirement was about, so it took me another 5 months before my industriousness again took over and I attacked another line of projects, this time somewhat shorter and less complicated, as well as many new projects related to the family weddings in 2016. After going hard for 6 weeks and 3 weddings, my body was telling me to relax, then the flu bug hit and as soon as that was done with me, my sciatic acted up. No rest for the wicked. In 2020 and 2021, the Covid 19 pandemic changed the whole retirement gig. I was lucky to not be still working, for sure. I enjoy photography, gardening, working with my hands, walking, cycling, skiing, travelling, reading and creating special photo and video productions obtained in my first pastime. I may never become wealthy in any of these pursuits, but I already feel I am rich in life experiences far beyond any expectation.
    says:

    I’m with you on adjusting from moves. I never moved internationally, but we moved 28 times in my first 17 years of life. I was always the new kid and friends were often tough to come by. So, I had lots of time to study and get good grades and get ahead. In my first job, I moved 5 times in 3 years and then 5 times only since 1974. Once we got married I made a promise not to put my family through what I went through. My kids never moved once they were in the school system. They are successful and have lifelong friends. A good decision. Stay well and thanks for telling your story. Allan

    1. Third Culture Kid – I am a Third Culture Kid who has lived in five different countries: 🇨🇭🇫🇷🇺🇸🇬🇧🇨🇦/🇯🇲🇷🇺. I moved to Canada in October 2020 and I started blogging about adjusting to life here. Follow my blog for tips on expat life, stories about my life as a Third Culture Kid, features on where I have lived, and world news.
      says:

      Wow! You moved a lot more than I did total. It is hard to move frequently, especially when you’re younger, or a teenager. Moving is on a whole other level as a Third Culture Kid though. I’m just glad I didn’t move during my teen years. I know some TCKs who have really suffered from moving countries in their teens. I think it’s only at this present time where there is more stuff coming out about what TCKs go through. Before, it was really kept under wraps. I didn’t even know the term TCK until I was in my early twenties, but it made complete sense to me after all the countries I have lived in and cultures that have had an impact on me. Thanks for commenting!

  2. WanderingCanadians – We’re a couple of Canadians who enjoy hiking, camping, diving, and spending as much time outdoors as we can. We hope our stories can help as you plan for your adventures. https://wanderingcanadians.com
    says:

    I’ve lived in Canada my whole life and can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like to uproot your life completely and move to a different country (especially during the middle of a pandemic!!). I may be incredibly biased, but I’m glad to hear that you are genuinely loving it here in Canada and want to stay!!

    1. Third Culture Kid – I am a Third Culture Kid who has lived in five different countries: 🇨🇭🇫🇷🇺🇸🇬🇧🇨🇦/🇯🇲🇷🇺. I moved to Canada in October 2020 and I started blogging about adjusting to life here. Follow my blog for tips on expat life, stories about my life as a Third Culture Kid, features on where I have lived, and world news.
      says:

      Thank you! Even if a country is working out, it can still be a bumpy road. I’m glad you’re glad. I have noticed that Canadians genuinely love their country in a really cool and healthy way! 😊

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