Land of Milk and Honey: Where?
This year will be 14 years since we migrated to Canada and specifically settled in Edmonton, Alberta. Things had reach a point on our island home of Jamaica that it was time to hit the reset button. The political temperature of Jamaica was always running high and sad to say, most of us were accustomed to that so that was not the main reason. My career was transitioning, moving away from a primarily public relations and communications focus to a more spiritual/counselling one. In that sense, the reset button was already being pounded for me.
However, it was my mate at the time who was the driving force, pushing us to migrate. We had previously considered another country but Canada seemed more promising. Being the researcher and general mover and shaker in our relationship, it was I who did the legwork and put together our application for permanent residency. At the time, there was a point system for independent applicants and you had to get at least 70 points to be considered suitable. One of the factors that was given special weighting was your desired destination in Canada.
I think it would be fair to say that the majority of Jamaicans at the time were destined to Toronto. My mate was especially excited for us to migrate to Vancouver, British Columbia for several reasons, not least of which was the climate that was a bit more welcoming than most other parts of Canada. However, my research showed that Alberta was a much more promising destination as it had a booming economy. This helped to make it easier for new immigrants find employment and settle that much faster or so it seemed. It then came down to where exactly in the province and while Calgary was the financial capital of it, Edmonton was our destination. The cost of living was less, there was more cultural diversity and the public transportation system seemed more accessible for those seeking employment and not having their own vehicles.
Reset When Realities Kick In
For the most part, much of that was true at least in principle but we faced many challenges in the first few years. Despite a booming, oil-rich economy our settlement was hard and some of the issues that we faced ranged from:
- our educational qualifications not readily accepted by many employers, although they were by the federal immigration authorities that gave us a substantial amount of points for them.
- our vast and even high-level of professional experiences did not impress (or they scared off) many potential employers.
- landlords extorting us, charging higher rents than they would due to us being “newcomers” and lacking a local track record when it comes to credit.
- utilities, phone companies and other such services requiring larger deposits for new service, again because of our lack of a credit rating.
As good a researcher as I am, nothing prepared us for these realities and others that we faced. Neither of us had expected to step on to streets paved with gold and milk and honey being served on every corner. However, the outright hardships, the rapid diminishing of the money we were required to have (at the time C$14,000) and the borderline poverty that we were facing had us again pounding the reset button! We had to “wheel and come again,” as was the saying in Jamaica, change career courses, adjust our living standards, eat differently and generally downgrade our lives, expectations and standard of living.
But we survived, albeit with shaking knees and copious tears for several years. We kept up a brave front for my daughter, who had not wanted to migrate. We had to make it to show her that things will and must work out in the end. They did and 14 years later, with much trial and tribulations, ending of the relationship between my then mate and I, strain on the one with my daughter, several career changes – we all held our own.
It is now 2016 and as I prepared for the day, scheduling posts to my social media profiles, the television kept me company in the background. It got my full attention when an economist/analyst commented that the province will have to hit the reset button as the much-lauded oil economy continues to decline. Since we migrated here in 2002, Alberta has enjoyed the profits from its “oil sands” with the price per barrel being well above US$100. So many people migrated from other provinces to come work “up North,” here and their lifestyle and tastes adjusted to meet the high incomes they were earning up to a couple of years ago.
Thanks to the Saudis, a large number of these “newcomers” to Alberta had to go back to their provinces or to other cities as their jobs have been cut. Those remaining in the northern parts of Alberta, where the oil fields are, or who are working in oil companies across the province have seen a drastic reduction in their incomes. Reset buttons are being pushed all across Alberta as top of the line vehicles are being traded in, rent is dropping as fewer people can afford to rent or even get a mortgage, more people are accessing food banks, spending habits are changing as people become more frugal and many other measures to live within a vastly reduced budget.
Now, all of this does not scare me. Concerning as it is, I am not biting my fingernails. Why? I know this scenario very well. As I wrote yesterday, change and are I friends. One of my favourite sayings in life is “Change is the only constant,” and my reset button is always on ready. As the economist/analyst said earlier this morning, the economy is on a slide and the government of the province, as well as industry leaders, will have to make sharp adjustments to meet the new realities. That might include – raising base salaries for some sectors, reducing the spend on social services, and generally adjusting forecasts as they were predicated on US$100 per barrel oil.
It Is An Art – Learn It!
One thing that life has taught me, no – one of the many things – is that it will always auto-correct. Whether we are dealing with the economy of a province or an household; whether it is a relationship, a job/career path, friendships or societal issues, the reset button will get pushed at some point. That is why the art of embracing change is such an important “skill,” and one that I would suggest that you take some classes in asap.
Reset and start anew or resist and stagnate. It is as simple as that. Yes, I know it is easier said than done but with practice it becomes less scary. So start with something small. Reset your coffee drinking habit is one way. I inadvertently did that. If you read regularly or follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you will know that coffee is one of my greatest loves. However, for a couple months now I have been drinking a small cup of lemon/honey warm water first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. The motivation behind that was an almost constant stomach burn. My doctor was threatening to send me for that test where they send a tube down your throat. I refused and started drinking my special brew. Result: no heartburn, regular bowel movement, no binge eating and (the sad part) I can only handle two mugs of coffee a day now.
Wherever you live, whatever your circumstances in life, you would be doing yourself a great service by learning to reset when necessary before Life has to do it for you! If you need tips and a listening ear with this, be sure to sign-up and join the community here. When you do, you will get my FREE monthly newsletter that includes an affirmation poster. As well, subscribers now receive my Weekday Wisdom from Mondays – Thursdays to help them put a focus point on their day.
Have a wonderful Throwback Thursday! Remember, while it is great to look at where we are coming from, do not get stuck living in the past.
Happy Birthday to Contributor, Clara Brown! She is celebrating her 30th birthday today for the 10th time! LOL