Thursday, June 14, 2012

The caged Lion

When I moved from my home country I had a dream, to build a better future for myself and my family back home. This is probably most people's dream who move from their native countries. I arrived here with all the excitement you can imagine and I had expectations too... to work hard and make a life for myself. I had a picture in my mind of how it was all going to play out. It was me working part time while I studied and graduating on time and then I would go on to get a nice job or start my own business. In that picture was me dressing really well. I used to love the show melrose place and liked the way Amanda dressed and how authoritative she was. Don't laugh... that's how I envisioned myself.

I packed my bags really excited to embark on this new journey of pursuing my dreams. I didn't know anyone here and I didn't worry at all about it. My mind was set on going abroad to make my dreams come true. This was it for me. It's funny that today if I had to go anywhere I would first google and make sure I know a thing or two or even someone. This are the kinda guts you have when you have a dream. You walk by faith not by sight. I love me back then but not more than I do now. I met a guy who was coming to the same school at the airport and we immediately connected and I quickly learned he had family. I told him I didn't know anyone here and asked if his family could find me a hostel... thinking about it... isn't it crazy that I didn't even know where I was going to stay? long story... his family hosted me for the night and took me to take my exams the following monday. The exams went well but I was so nervous and jet lagged. After the exam was the beginning of my training about my new country. This was a training that would shutter my dreams beyond my imagination and it would take years to get back on track.

The first thing I was told is that no one makes it here and the only jobs available are cleaning jobs. If you were working anywhere else didn't matter where, people thought you were privileged. The reality of the life my country men were living was heart breaking. I didn't know what to say but I knew in my heart I am a different species and I came here to make it, to achieve something and hopefully take it back home. That was about to be tested. I had a big dream but when I looked around, surely it was not possible. The language was the biggest block.  My studies were in english but outside school all the other affairs were conducted in the native finnish. The visas took forever and all the student lived in fear of not getting a permit to work or even stay. Those were hard times.

When I left home, I didn't expect inequality, I didn't expect to feel different, didn't expected to made aware at every opportunity that I was different. I always thought of myself as a citizen of the world, and I still feel that way. Life became challenging and my melrose dressing was challenged by the weather and second by the jobs I was doing. My first job was cleaning a supermarket for one and a half hours from 5:30 am to 7:00 am and I got 195 euros a month. This was survivor... I did my job to the best of my ability and was given some sort of award for the cleanest supermarket (Alepa). lol.. Whatever you do, do it well. Every time someone asked you what you do, you felt smaller and smaller because you had to explain that you were a cleaner. Don't get me wrong being a cleaner is great, as long that is what you want to do. The only people who didn't ask and don't ask are your fellow immigrants because they know. I went on to clean some more, till one day I got my current job where I was working part time. I spent the last three years telling them I'm a graduate and begging for a full time job. Somehow it seemed to slip off their minds. I'm thankful today that they didn't give me because it has pushed me to find my purpose and helped me to discover my potential.

Before I got here, I had guts, faith, hope and a voice but over the years it shrunk to nothing. I was on the drivers sit in charge of my destiny. I knew where I wanted to go, till I  got here... where occasional depression took over, where my voice seems to disappear into nothingness. Where every time I try to rise above, I hit a glass and Icy ceiling. Sometimes I get a high and light up when I come up with a good Idea, it seems though that's as good as it gets.

I feel like a lion in a cage, always thinking of how to come out. The zoo is not my natural habitat. I'm locked up and tied down. My resources are limited to my cage. I know my potential, that I'm the king of my jungle, the author of my destiny. I have a voice that can silence the whole jungle and I'm in charge... sometimes I try to roar... then I start doubting whether I'm actually a lion. Slowly I have taken back the authority. I'm in charge and my dream is still intact because I realized the cage was just mental and I built it myself. The years I have lived here have not been easy but they are worth it. My character has been built, now I'm better, wiser and even from this mental cage I will roar with confidence because I know... the time is coming when I will be freely roaming in the jungle of my accomplishments.

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