Fuck Yeah I can
Three years ago today, I landed in Vancouver for the first time. It doesn’t seem like a long time, yet I have managed to pack a lot in these three years. When I reflect back on this, I start thinking what kind of person I was then and where I am today.
When I got to Vancouver, the only person I knew was my husband and a couple of his colleagues. I moved here sight unseen, just as I did in Buenos Aires. The weather cooperated with my husband to show me the beautiful city Vancouver is and my mixed feelings of frustration to have moved out of LA and excitement to build a new life, were balancing more towards the positive side of this move.
But three years ago I had no purpose. I had no idea what I was going to do with my life. I had no friends, no routines, no story. I also wasn’t legally allowed to work or volunteer on any projects in Canada, so I was basically in a temporary limbo while still pretending I had my shit totally figured out to anyone that asked.
I remember spending the first months doing little things here and there. Trying to be busy and looking for things that occupied at least a portion of my day, figuring out how to reinvent myself. I tried a couple things but nothing that would really engage me. I was lost. To make things worst, October, November and subsequent months came along with the depressing gray and rainy weather that is the winter in the Pacific Northwest.
Of course, I didn’t understand this weather and how it changes people and their interests. After work yoga and green juice as a date… Are you kidding me? No happy hours in Vancouver… For real? Dinner at 6pm so you can be home by 8… Is this a joke? Sunset at 3:30pm and pitch dark at 4pm… that is it!! I’m outta here!
But I couldn’t just leave, so I had to power through and find a way to start enjoying my time in Vancouver and find something that I could legally do. That feeling that no one could understand what I was going through was real. It took me months to get out of my “why is this happening to me” cocoon to step up to the challenge and do something with my life.
I started requesting meetings with people at random. People I would see on Instagram or my Facebook feed that “looked cool” or were “friends material” and without a clear objective I would go on these meetings or networking events and make friends with everybody. I ended up with a pretty good Rolodex (lol, I just love that term), and that was the beginning of my confidence being recovered.
Around then is when I started Hayo, also without a very clear path at the beginning but knowing that it would be my ticket to get my new professional life in order despite the challenges the Canadian government was throwing my way. And I worked hard. I hustled. I cried and I rejoiced. I had no idea what I was doing but I was doing it.
Things started to make more sense. I started understanding the seasons and their deep effect on Vancouverites. Slowly but surely I was recovering that sense of purpose that I had lost. Winters here are perfect for focusing and working hard.
Almost six months after I started Hayo, in January 2015, I finally got my permanent residency approved and I was able to work in Canada. That was another step back. Do I want to keep working on Hayo knowing the very difficult path it comes with or do I want to find a good job, get paid and call it a day? The discussions that I had with my husband always ended up on this topic. I was onto something and I was curious to see how far it could go, so “suck it up and keep going” was my choice. And I’m glad it was.
Three years in Canada have taught me more about myself than the previous five years living abroad (away from Colombia). I have understood almost with scary accuracy my abilities, my weaknesses and the things I’m really good at but don’t feel like doing.
Even though sometimes I question what I’m doing and why things are not moving as fast as I would like, I can look back and see exactly where I was three years ago and feel nothing but pride and a sense of purpose that it’s becoming more and more clear by the day. Even though I compare myself and Hayo to other people or businesses that are further advanced, I know I’m on the right track and great things are starting to happen. A little trust in yourself goes a very long way.
“I can do this” seems such an overrated statement, but damn it’s powerful. I think about it every time I’m on a crusade and don’t think I have the answer. Or also when my trainer is kicking my ass but I just can’t give up.
Emotional waves are inevitable. Ups and downs. Big highs and deep lows. That’s when you learn to appreciate the good moments, even if it sounds cliché. I have an awesome group of friends that are as supportive as they are fun, and their presence in my life has also taken me further. And now to keep building and powering through the difficult times. Perhaps in three years everything I’m working for is going to pay off big time.
I can do this. Fuck yeah I can.