My Cultural Transplant
July 12, 2012
By: Chloe Nash
After months of waiting and wondering, I have finally found out where I’m going to be working next year. And the result? It was just what I wanted.
So there we have it… my dream has come true. I have somewhere to live on a beautiful tropical island, a school which has been very speedy at replying to my dictionary-assisted Spanish emails, and the promise of an amazing year full of new sights, sounds, tastes and experiences. Tenerife is a volcanic island with dozens of amazing hikes and stunning beaches for me to explore. When I look at it like that – a once in a lifetime journey – I am filled with so much excitement.
But let’s be realistic here. Going places is great, but… (at this point I should probably ask you to excuse me for stating the obvious, but I am a big fan of simple truths)… you can’t go somewhere without leaving somewhere else.
I think anyone who has lived abroad for a period of time will recognise this dilemma that I’m talking about. The feeling of being torn between two places; of knowing and loving two realities, yet only being able to be in one of them at one time. When I was eleven years old, my parents, my two sisters and I moved to Brazil for a period of four years. With that move came a lot of changes – we didn’t see our family or close friends for a long time, the climate was constant heat and humidity (even on Christmas morning I would wake up feeling sweaty – it’s just wrong!), the food was a long way from even being close to what we used to eat in England, and there was a whole new language to learn. I spent many nights longing for the day-to-day things that we used to have in England – our family, Marmite, tea, the trees we used to climb, and very importantly, Cadbury’s chocolate! But after a year of immersing ourselves in the culture and learning to love our new country, I felt so at home there. Even now, five years later, I miss my laid-back, Brazilian life, and when I return I always feel at home. Yet, at the same time, I wouldn’t want to live there. I feel like I belong in England. This is where my roots are. And as much as I love travelling, I love being rooted.
Next year I will be leaving my roots behind in order to learn a new language and immerse myself in a new culture. It will be scary. I’ll get thirsty for England and for the things which, now, seem mundane but then, will seem somehow essential to my life.
However, unless I want to feel like that for the entire year, I will have no option but to lay down some roots in Tenerife. Of course, they, like my Brazilian roots, will never be as deep as my English roots. And knowing that I’m coming back to my English roots will make the transition so much easier and so much less painful.
Yet there is still no denying that there will be some pain as I leave behind this country with its magnificent countryside, comforting food, easy-access public transport (you may laugh, but you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone!), my wonderful family, my loving boyfriend and amazing friends. Let us just hope that the new roots which I will put down will be worth it!
I’ll keep you informed about the next steps in my journey – thank you all so much for reading!