Wednesday, October 21, 2009


They should come up with a name for people, like me, who share two or more cultures. When you move to a different country, you never stop to think how you will manage to integrate the new culture into your own. You keep saying to yourself that it won't be difficult to adapt and you are in the best disposition to learn and embrace the customs of the new country. It all seems so easy!

I remember the first time I went to Mexico to get the rest of my stuff (everyting I hadn't been able to bring with me when I first came to Canada), I still felt like being in Canada was just a long vacation. However, as time went by it started to feel the other way around, getting out of a plane and stepping into Pearson International Airport felt like arriving home. Cross cultural experts say that it takes 1 year to adapt to a new culture, and during that time you experience all kinds of feelings. First, everything seems new and exiting, then, you go through a period in which you start missing your food, family, friends and you see all the negative things of your new home. Finally, you end up understanding that this new place is not Paradise and you learn to cope with the things you don't necessarily like.

It has been 4 years for me and I have definitely left that learning curve behind, but it hasn't become easier to go back to Mexico and experience those very weird feelings of not belonging there anymore but not belonging here yet either. It's like living in a world in between worlds that is inside you, and nobody can fully understand it unless they are going through the same process. I think that is one more reason for hanging out with my Mexican friends here.

I wonder how it will feel like after 10, or 15 years, how different it will be and if I will ever feel completely Canadian (by the way, it's just 1 more month for me to be able to apply for the Canadian citizenship).

And then there is my son... who is, will be and will always feel truly Canadian. How will that affect our relationship and our understanding of each other? It is very sad to think that there is already something that separates me from him (as dramatic as it may sound). We will probably feel very different things when singing the Canadian anthem, or when Canada wins a gold medal in the Olympics. And of course it will be the same thing for him when Mexico wins a soccer game...

People should take these things into consideration before deciding to move to a different country. I don't regret my decision at all, I just wish I had been better prepared.


  1. As they say in Spanish, "cada quien cuenta como le fue en la fiesta," each one describes how they did at the party. As in the Japanese movie Rashomon, the same event can result in very different accounts depending on each person's point of view. While some things are quite similar in the immigrant's experience, each immigrant will have his or her own take in relation to the new country. I also came to Canada from Mexico. Went through similar things as Gina, but as soon as I obtained my Canadian citizenship, I felt fully Canadian. After all, every Canadian, including First Nations, came to this land from somwhere else. Marrying a third or fourth generation Canadian, in my case, might have accelerated the process, but I feel that in Canada I found my true home. I see myself as fully bilingual and bicultural and I like to think that Zi have embraced the best of both cultures, mind you with the reminder that in Mexico as in Canada there are many regional cultures as well so that a person from the Yucatan or Newfoundland has a different culture from someone from Alberta or Nuevo Leon. I also have a Canadian born child, but while she might be considered " more Canadian," she's proud to call herself Mexican-Canadian or as she puts it, "half Mexican."

  2. Thnk you for your comment Jaime. It definitely gives me some reassurance. I know the time will come when I feel totally Canadian. For now, I enjoy this "Mexicanadian" status and I learn a lot from it.