Coming home – to a foreign country

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We have all heard of people who were born in the wrong body, forever trapped, not feeling happy with who they are, forever longing to be someone else. But what if you were born in the wrong country? Not because it is a war zone, where there is starvation, poverty and social injustice – but rather because you don’t quite fit in, you sense you belong somewhere else.

I felt exactly like this before I decided to take the plunge and immigrate to Canada 2004. It was a fairly easy decision, my ex husband was Canadian and his entire family was there, ready to greet us with open arms.

The case is completely different for my friend Sandy who realized almost 15 years ago that Germany wasn’t the place that truly felt like home or like a place where she wanted to raise her children. Today a mother of four children – whom she raises on her own most of the time while her husband Manfred travels Europe for a freight company – she is about to make her dream come true.

By chance she noticed a job posting from a Canadian trucking company in a small business magazine her husband had picked up by chance. Bravely she responded via email, being the one in the family with the best English. The company in the small town of High River, Alberta, had already hired someone. As disappointment set in, they received another email from them shortly after – the hired person had changed his mind.

Life has been a whirlwind for the family ever since – emotionally and physically. The potential employer didn’t hesitate long. After seeing his resume and a first interview they invited Manfred and Sandy to come visit, to learn more about the job and the town, to make sure everybody would be comfortable. Manfred and Sandy came to Canada for four days and returned home – utterly in love with Canada, knowing this is the country they want to call home in the future, where they want to see their children growing up.

The employer felt Manfred’s English had to improve so he would be able to do the job. Immediately he began a crash course, dedicating all his time to the goal of being able to speak better when he talked to them again four weeks later. Meanwhile the employer started the job permission, visa and immigration process for the family. They are arranging their housing situation and organizing a car for them to use privately. Sandy tells me she rarely felt more wanted and welcome. There is still a little bit of uncertainty, a hesitation to cheer, until they hold the papers in their hands. Moving a family with four young children between the age of 6 and five months isn’t a small task. Joyful anticipation definitely overrules their worries though.

For long they felt Germany wasn’t making the political or economic decisions they wanted to see. They felt life was too expensive, people were too unfriendly and chances for their children’s future weren’t what they wish for. They are ready to leave their beautiful home in Bavaria and all their relatives behind to move to High River, a town of less than 13,000 people, close to 5000 air miles away – feeling their children will grow up freer there, their quality of life will improve and they will finally feel they fit in. I can only support this plan. I have lived here for over eight years now and there was not a single day when I regretted my decision to have done the same.

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