Friday, November 22, 2013

week 47

This week we also got a foreign visitor to tell us about herself and her country. This young woman, Esther, comes from Spain, and it was really interesting to hear her thoughts about many things. She said that it is fairly common in Spain these days that young (well-educated) people go abroad to seek for employment or participate in different projects because there are no jobs available in Spain. Esther herself has been abroad twice and is now going to go back home within a few weeks, hoping that she will find work in Madrid and be able to stay there permanently.

That got me thinking that actually it takes a huge amount of courage to leave for a new country all by yourself. Of course, when you're young, you usually want to experience new things and see new opportunities as an adventure, but still I think it's admirable to have the courage to do this.

I myself have been abroad but not actually lived anywhere besides Finland. Still, I have an idea of what it feels like to jump into the unknown. When me and my husband (then fiancé) were young, he got a new job from a city we had never even been to, let alone had any connections to. When we moved, we literally had to read a map to be able to find our way anywhere -or back home. First it seemed exciting; it was just the two of us in compeletely new surroundings. After a while, though, the feelings of isolation and alienation began to grow, and the new home town didn't feel so alluring anymore. The different phases of a phenomenon called "a culture shock" can be very strong, and naturally they are more difficult to bear if you have to go through them alone. In my case I had my fiancé to keep me company, to ease my feelings of loneliness, and help me read the map!

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