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A Life as Immigrants

Today I’m going a little too personal. I always try to share my creations and fun experiences with you all because my main purpose is to share happiness and inspiration. But the truth is that I’m as human as any of you, with lots of success and failures in my path to find my perfect life {the one that feels perfect to me}. The reason I decided to share this part of my life today is because I know I’m not the only immigrant in this world and there might be more people out there feeling the same way I do living a life as immigrants. Maybe I can be of help and maybe some other people’s experience can help us too.

A Life as Immigrants

A Life as Immigrants cover

Maybe many of you know I’m Latin-American. I was born in Brazil and raised in Venezuela. Ever since I was in High School, I had my life planned out. I was determined to have a bachelor degree and get my independency. I always dreamed of having my job and my apartment and really far in the future, a family. That would be kind of my graduation in life.

I got most of what I had planned for my life: I graduated with honors, I got a good job and I moved out when my parents decided to leave the country and I decided to stay. Then I moved to another city, to the capital. There I got a really nice job as a professional. I felt like my career was taking off. I met my hubby and I felt like things were going my way, except for one thing. Even having a good job with a decent salary, I still needed my parent’s financial support because life there was too expensive.

I must clarify that I lived in a tiny apartment in the suburbs that usually took me about hour and half with luck to get to my job every day. Minimum expenses, and almost no entertainment budget. I didn’t want to depend on my parents for the rest of my life. Every year I got like a 20% salary raise and the cost of life raised like 30% above. It was ridiculous. It was like I was making less money than the past year.

Life doesn’t always go as planned and I soon realized that my country wasn’t going to give me that kind of independency and quality of life I was craving for. That was so sad for me.

Now:

Thinking about leaving your country is always a sad and hard decision. It means leaving behind friends, family, material goods that often have an emotional value and start from scratch in a new and unknown place.

Seriously! It’s never, never easy.

view of Westmister Palace in London

Our first intention was applying for a qualified working Visa to Australia. We started the process, we invested a good amount of money and somewhere in the process our profession was removed from the required jobs list.

We were SO boomed! Another huge bump on our way!

That was crushing. We were so invested economically and emotionally on it that it took us completely by surprise. We decided to drop that dream since there wasn’t any warranty that they would put our profession back in the list. So we moved on to plan B.

Or next move was claiming my European nationality through Spain and go to London. There my hubby could learn English and I could practice it more so I could get better prepared for an IELTS test. I already had gotten 6.5 over 9 on it but I wanted more.

As a result, we sold everything we had with this huge dream of making a new and better life for us. We sold our cars, all our goods, and a few months later we had our lives in 3 baggages each and a plain ticket.

Our hearts were so full of excitement and sadness at the same time as we got ready to depart. Tears and sadness as we said goodbye.

We arrived in London…

Our life as immigrants had just started…

View of the Tower Bridge in London

My hubby and I started English courses right away while we were looking for a room to move together. I was staying with my sister and he was in a rented room somewhere else.

We found a good and affordable room a little outside of London, being a couple that was more than enough. The plan was to find a job while studying and give my hubby a legal residence so he could work too. As a student he couldn’t work but me being European, I could.

Everything seemed to be working out. I was offered, without even asking, to work for a Starbucks Coffee branch near by our school. That was a lovely surprise as the manager {I had no idea that sweet lady I saw every day was the manager} asked me if I would like to work with them because she liked my personality.

view of a museun in London

You might be wondering:

Why they offer me a job?

Well, it happens that I used to go every single morning to that Starbucks, ordering the same coffee every time.

This is crazy:

One day I couldn’t help giggling when one of the guys there said really out loud when I crossed the door “double tall latte and a double espresso macchiato, right?”. How cool is that?…

From that day on, as soon as I stepped in the shop I would already have my cups with my name on them and just make my line to pay at the register hahaha.

That was nice.

I was considering accepting the job but I had to go to Spain first and get my Social Security and other documents done first and they were willing to wait.

But here’s the kicker:

I went to Spain and during that trip I find out I was pregnant. Shocking!!!!

I got so nervous and scared at the same time. We both unemployed and I was the only one allowed to work. That was a sudden change of plans and I couldn’t take the job. I couldm’t be that dishonest and accept it just to say a couple months later “hey! Guess what? I’m pregnant.”

Off course, I had to say no.

View of the Grand Mosk in Abu Dhabi

The Only thing left to do was getting our bags done again and go to Spain where I was going to have all my health care services guaranteed and figure out how to let my hubby work.

There my Biological father {I didn’t grow up with him but with my step dad} helped us as much as he could giving my hubby the chance to work illegally while his documents were in process.

Those were really hard days for me. I was spending most of my days alone in the apartment while hubby was working, pregnant with all the symptoms in place. Summer was approaching and we didn’t have air conditioning. No friends, no close family, no one to talk to and most importantly, no internet for the first few months.

I was in a breaking point in which I was really considering if leaving our country was a good idea. But this little tiny human being that I was carrying made me gather strength and hang in there, I didn’t want he to have to live in Venezuela.

me and my daugther at The Burj Kalifah

As much as I hate to talk about the Venezuelan situation, it’s inevitable. That was the main reason we were where we were. The situation wasn’t anywhere near getting better and the fact is that it was getting worse every day. So we had to hang in there as a family. Gladly we had full support from our families. They helped us in every way they could and we could hold on for 2 and half years. Then Spain’s economic situation got worse too and we couldn’t keep up anymore. No money for rent and barely for food.

But not everything was bad though.

During those 2 years in Spain I got used to our new life, and I even liked it a lot. With time I got new friends and while preparing my girl’s first birthday I started to make handmade cards to sell and with that my blog was born too. That was my real getaway to keep myself sane.

view of cammels in the desert in Oman

I found a place to keep my mind busy besides only being a mom all day. I found a happy spot, something to do that made me happy. Hubby usually left at mornings and came back really late so I had plenty time. I started to see future with my blog and my life and started to put my energy and love there so I could help hubby.

When hubby lost the job he was really close to get the legal residence but there wasn’t money anymore so we made the hardest decision to be apart. He stayed in Spain for a while and tried to find a job so we could go back. My girl and I went to Oman {Middle East} with my parents.

Oman was an amazing experience. A complete different culture and way to live. Amazing architecture and the people is really nice. I loved every place I went. Thank to my dad I had the chance to visit Dubai, Qatar and Abu Dhabi too. Those are absolutely amazing places.

view of The Sultan's Palace in Oman

That was supposed to be a 6 months deal tops but it end up being a lot longer than that. Hubby couldn’t find a job and he had to go back to Venezuela. That hit me so hard. I couldn’t see when we were going to be together again. He found a job there and I started my design business more seriously.

A year later my dad’s contract ended and we moved to Colombia where I lived for about 2 years and a half. The idea was to find a job myself and bring hubby back with us.

After many interviews and job offers I figured I could make a lot more money with my design business at TCN Design Studio than they could offer, not mentioning leaving my girl all day at home. I made the decision to make my business work, so as soon as I got my visa, I registered myself as an independent worker got my tax ID, bank account, PayPal account and started with all my energy to offer my services and start growing. 8 months later I was ready to bring hubby home.

A new Adventure as immigrant was starting.

me and my dauther in Colombia

When I brought my hubby everything started to get so complicated. It was like we were going against some sort of force. Not sure yet what it was. Things started to change in Colombia and no company was willing to provide the necessary documentation to get a working Visa. Then Venezuela closed the borders with Colombia and started deporting Colombians back to Colombia. Politically that screwed us up big time.

We had to rush into giving him a beneficiary visa from mine so he would be legal there but that meant that he could not apply for any formal job. Colombian Government is not allowing the change of status so I don’t need to say what that meant to him.

Things got so frustrating. We just wanted to work and make a living. Things have been so hard for us as immigrants. We had been apart for almost 2 years struggling and fighting to make things work and now we only want to have a decent and peaceful life.

We tried establishing our business locally to start offering our services in what I’m good at and what my hubby is good at there. Starting almost from scratch. I would be the company front and hubby would help me and do what he likes and knows how to do: Computers, systems, maintenance, etc. Not really comforting for him as he wanted to be the head of the family and provide for us, but life is taking us this way and there must be a why and something to learn from it. So, we had to embrace it and put all our mind, heart and soul to make it work.

View of Grand Mosk in Dubai

It didn’t last much. Problems between Venezuela and Colombia got worse and the government decided to deny renewing visas and pretty much most visas were denied unless of course you had a job long enough so they would consider giving you the new status.

Boy oh boy! Seriously! Could life get any harder?

The situation was also causing our marriage to crack and it was starting to fall apart. I was again reaching my breaking point as I had a lot of pressure from my parents and my hubby’s state of mind and heart. I thought for a second that I was going to get a divorce and that was killing me.

It was time to take some serous actions.

We talked and decided to leave Colombia. The thing is that this time we decided that we would leave only to a place from which no one can kick us out. That left us only 2 options: Venezuela and Spain.

The decision was pretty easy being Venezuela out of discussion.

Thankfully, I got to save some money from blogging and design business so we put everything towards that direction.

We decided to go back to Spain.

And here we are now.

My lovely family in Santa Barbara castle

Things are still not easy at all here but we came now in a different condition. I’m not pregnant, hubby is not illegal anymore and I make money.

Most importantly I came with a different perspective.

I made an important decision. I made the decision to be happy. Money is important but is not the most important thing in life. I hope I can keep working in what I love and I that hubby finds a job that fulfills his heart but in the meantime I decided to be happy with I have. I decided to enjoy when I have and when I don’t. I’m determent to enjoy and cherish being with my family together and enjoy having my own home. A life as immigrants doesn’t have to be sad.

The rest will come eventually. I’ll keep working hard. I’ll still put my soul into my job but also will enjoy.

me and my daughter playing in a fountain in Elche-spain

Life is never easy.

No matter what our deal is. I’ve read so many stories from people going through worse than us and that makes me feel so selfish and without arguments to feel like I have felt. Our life could definitely be worse but the truth is that this is what I have had to live with. This is what has broken my heart and made me struggle but also made me stronger.

I’m looking for a good life for my family and I probably won’t stop looking for it until I get it. I’m not looking for luxury or a fancy house… I was just desiring to have a home of our own, where we can make it as we want it to be. That includes our work income, the result of our efforts.

I’m so grateful to have all the support I have, to have had somewhere nice to live, that my girl went and will be going to a great school. I’m grateful for not being alone in this journey.

 me and my daughter in the castle santa barbaran, Alicante-Spain

Well lovely readers, That’s why I left my home country. That’s why I started this life as immigrants. That’s why we have failed and started again. I’m not scared of starting off from scratch; of falling because I will stand up again. I’m just scared of breaking my family apart. I’m scared of losing my marriage and I’m so scared of not doing the right thing for my girl. That’s why we are here now and that’s why I’ll always fight for what I dream.

As immigrants, life can get so hard but it also teaches you so many things, so many values. It’s all about how you decide to take it.

I know I won’t stop looking for my “perfect” life no matter how imperfect it might be but it doesn’t change how I feel in the process. I’m not a quitter but it doesn’t mean I don’t want to fall apart at a times.

I know God knows why we are dealing with all this, and I know He doesn’t send us challenges we cannot overcome, but it definitely doesn’t make it any easier. I trust Him and I know we had to learn something from all our journeys but it doesn’t make it less hard for us to keep up.

Now I see a future here. I see I can set roots and make my life here. I have new friends, really wonderful friends to be honest. Now I have new goals and new dreams. I see we can make this work here and I’m happy to start feeling like this again.

me in Grand Mosk in Dubai

I wish someone had an answer or the key, but hearing what you think or your experience might help a little make more sense and give hope that our better life is somewhere waiting for us to figure out our riddle.

What I regret the most from our journey?

Leaving so many awesome friends and family behind. But I’m grateful for having the opportunity to meet them and keep them in my heart as they keep us in theirs.

me and my friend in the colombian forest

What’s the bottom line here?

Life as immigrants can suck big time, it’s hard, it’s messy, but it’s also a great opportunity to grow, to learn and find new treasures like friends, love and support. Everything else can be replaced.

Hope you enjoyed my story and if you know people that is going through similar journey, share this with them so they know they are not alone.

 view of Burj Al Arab

If you are one of those then please share with me your story. It’s always so good to learn from other people’s experiences.

Love you all!!!

Want to know all about my Origins and Nostalgia? Check out this post!

About Origins and Nostalgia

Til' next time...

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11 Comments

  1. Cami, thanks so much for sharing your story! You are very determined and very strong. Our mommy instincts kick in and there’s literally nothing that stands in our way that can prevent us from making a better life for our little ones, immigrant or not. I am so happy you have finally found a place you can call home and friends you can make memories with.
    I, too, am an immigrant and moved to two different countries, but not by choice. It was very hard leaving everything behind and losing friends. Yes, it is easy to make new ones, but you have nobody to reminisce with. If you’re interested in my short story, you can read it here: http://all-thats-jas.com/2012/10/this-is-why.html
    Sending you hugs and smiles across the miles. You made it, girl! Be proud!!

  2. You are so brave. I admire you and the way you have been able to “pull yourself up by your bootstraps”. I admire your courage to share your trials and tribulations with the world. There is a publication here in the U.S.( it might be world-wide) called “The Guidepost”. They publish encouraging stories to share and lift others. I suggest that you research it and send in a perhaps shorter version of your life story. It might reap more income for you. My very best wishes, from Ohio, USA.

    1. Thank you so much for your sweet words. Also thank you for the tip, I’ll do some research on that!!!
      Appreciate you stopping by and leaving some love!
      Hugs

  3. With everything that is happening here in the UK after the whole Brexit fiasco this is such a timely read. You have such tenacity it’s really inspiring. My husband has worked in other countries in the past so I understand how hard being apart is, I’ve always stayed put here in the UK though, I just don’t think I’m brave enough to travel about as much as you have.
    It’s lovely to hear you feel settled now, I wish you and your lovely family all the best with whatever life brings next.

    1. THANK YOU so much Julie. I feel honored by your sweet words. I didn’t think I was capable either. I never wanted to leave my country. I guess we find the strength when we actually need it. I do feel settle thank God! Not sure yet if this is it but feeling like this is such a a relief. I love it here and I’m sure we can make it work. I’m actually happy!

      Love having you visiting Julie! Thankyou so much for your constant support. It means more than you know!
      Hugs and XOXO

  4. Thank you for sharing your journey! You are an inspiration and a source of strength for others! Keep your spirits high and keep moving forward everyday. You have already done so many amazing things.

    1. Thank you so much Carole, Such inspiring words. I hope I can be a source of strength for those in similar stuations. It’s not an easy journey but it is full of fulfilling moments and experiences!
      Thank you for stopping by and leaving your love!
      Hugs

  5. Cami nunca habia imaginado que tu trayectoria de vida haya sido tan complicada. Viviendo en tantos paises y sin poder tener “lo tuyo” o hechar raizes como decimos. Tener que separarte de tu esposo sin saber cuando se daria ese reencuentro. Pero me alegro que has sido consistente y que tomaste decisiones e hicistes planes para que esto se diera, y no te tiraste a llorar en una esquina. Te deseo lo mejor en tu nuevo pais, que esa union familiar sea permanente al igual tu empresa de disenos de blogs. Hay algunas personas en este mundo bloguero a quienes sigo y admiro y tu eres la primera . Gracias por tu ayuda incondicional, cuenta con mi humilde ayuda siempre. Un abrazo y besos a la titi.

    1. Hola Fabi, Pues si, muchos obstaculos y altos y bajos pero aqui estamos. De tirarme a llorar, mira, no te niego las ganas que tuve en muchos momentos pero es que no tenia ni tiempo de eso. Con la Titi alli y tanto por hacer que la verdad no me podia dar ese lujo. A veces por las noches despues que todo el mundo dormia pues me dejaba desahogar y ya, a limpiarse el rostro, respirar profundo y a empezar de nuevo un nuevo dia. Yo soy terca lo cual es bueno para algunas cosas y no tanto para otras. Yo simplemente me niego a conformarme. Es decir, conformarme con la miseria, con vivir separados, con la inseguridad, con la escaces. Puedo aceptar vivir sin lujos pero si lucho por tener lo que me merezco como ser humano. La parte economica se sobre lleva, pero la parte humanitaria o esta o no esta, no me conformo con ir por la vida con miedo. Eso basicamente y mi hija han sido mis motores de vida. Lograr mi vida perfect. Que no necesariamente tiene que ser una cuenta bancaria llena de ceros. Que si llega, bienvenido sera pero si tengo para lo necesario y para darnos nuestros gusticos pues yo soy feliz.

      Gracias mi Fabi por tu constante apoyo. Con eso me ayudas muchisimo!!!!
      Besos y Cariños!

  6. I am so glad that no matter what country you live in we are friends! What an inspiring story!

    1. Thank you girly! I’m so thankful for your friendship and constant support. It’s funny that I met you when I was barely starting my business and I was in Oman, Middle East. What a wonderful friendship came out it!!! You are one of my treasures!

      XOXO

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