Ready to go? My Strategy on How to Cope After Leaving your Country

Many of us happen to dream about going on a trip, planning vacations with their loved ones, and finally purchasing the plane tickets, but could you imagine yourself having to leave your country in the worst scenario you possibly think of?

My husband and I were practically forced to leave the country right after Maria hit Puerto Rico and leave it devastated. It was a 4 category hurricane, with 155 mph winds, storming our island Puerto Rico. My family including all of the 3.4 million residents were struck into a humanitarian crisis. Which affected us losing economy, energy system, water, houses, agriculture, and eventually food supplies for so many families like us. I was a pregnant woman at risk since day one, with a one-year-old daughter. From a family who has lost everything like, home furniture, clothes, including my husband’s job, leaving us without any income to provide us a living. That incident made us realize we might have to think about leaving and restarting our lives somewhere else.

Taking into consideration moving out and eventually leaving your country might be one of those common situations that many people had to go through. If you ask me, a lot of my friends and family members had to leave their nation to seek a better future for them, like me and my family on this tragic event.

If your reason to flee away is about a job opportunity or college, it’s a good step to finally fulfilling your dream. That will give a lot of excitement there is when the first symptom or roller coaster of emotions begins. See, these changes appear with a lot of feelings at the same time. After these achievements you will feel extremely excited by the fact of the new chapter you will undergo. It’s totally normal, the happiness of moving for a promising future it’s a life-changing situation that takes courage and brings out a lot of joy to anyone.

Once we got installed in Texas, I started experiencing some symptoms that I did not know about. I felt that I had lost something that defines me as a person. I missed my country, my city, and the place where I was born and raised. I missed my family, my friends, and of course, I missed sharing our family traditions with my daughters. My husband went through a similar path, he has been a fisherman since he was a teenager, for that reason he felt he was constantly being taken apart from who he always was. We left the island in a hurry, leaving our families behind, our origins as Puerto Ricans, and the opportunity of giving the same lifestyle we had to our kids. In order to make amends with those emotions, the first step we took was to learn how to cope with the feelings we were exposed to.

To be clear coping is known as a psychological mechanism of our consciousness that helps us bargain with emotions, feelings, and any daily basis encounters. This is an effort every individual does in order to try to stop overwhelming themselves through stressful situations and conflicts in their lives. The soon we detect the problem the faster it will provide us a solution and help us be able to deal and survive it on our own. This mechanism comes with a strategic plan, I’d believe that always depend on individual needs and situations.

1. Reach out friends living in the state

2. Research local churches

3. Meet new friends

4. Hear the testimony of other people

5. Work in our talents

6. Keep working in our goals

7. Keep on family dates

8. Reach out support groups

9. Let go of the fear

10. Leave your comfort zone

In the meantime, I had to warm you up because anxiety might reach you as the following symptom. Despite all of those happy emotions and expectations, you will probably have second thoughts about your decision to move abroad. You could even find yourself with some questions in your mind going on like: “How are you going to do? Would you fit in your new job qualifications? Will, you make some friends?” and trust me, those are just a few doubts you will have. Even when you were extremely enthusiastic at the beginning of this change, the fear will pay you a visit. But, no need to panic! This feeling can give you something else you would not anticipate.

According to Psychology fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger that has been pivotal throughout evolution. If people didn’t feel fear, they wouldn’t be able to protect themselves from legitimate threats—which often had life-or-death consequences in the ancestral world.

That’s the clue over this symptom, your fear will become your angle and one of the most important steps in this adventure. I, myself concluded that my fear makes me stronger. This means, that if I’m able to recognize it I would definitely find a way to walk out from it without getting stuck. I fear when I moved, I fear that I was alone -without my parents- and that scared the heck out of me. I also fear that I was not able to learn more English, and that fact would definitely close every door to me. Yeah, if you are a bit realistic like me, you will fear the same way I did. I mean, it’s a totally different language. But, when I was prepared to let go of my fear I did what I had to, I prepare myself to learn. I remember the first month in Texas, going to a grocery store or any restaurant with my husband -who was pretty good with the language- I said to him every time we are going out I was going to order our food or simply talk to the grocery clerk, so could shuushhh and let me practice. That courage encourage me to leave my comfort zone and grow up according to my new lifestyle. Previously, I realized that was just the start of my independence, and that discovering myself in a new place wasn’t so bad at all. Maybe, this change would include modifying your wardrobe to new weather options and learning a new language as I did. These changes are just the simplest you could confrontation. I would not lie to you, it would be tough, but If you are willing to do it you might see how day by day you will be ready to find that new city, your new place, and your second home.