Facing the Depression of Moving to a New Country
Leaving one’s country and starting over in another country is not as simple as it might seem. My life has changed completely since I landed in this “paradise,” the United States, in September 2003. I have made new friends and met different people who come from all over the world. In addition, I have been learning and seeing things which I had never known or seen in Viet Nam. But starting again in a new country has its own ambivalent feelings. Even though I have a new life, in the U.S, it has not been easy.
My life was miserable for my first three months. I could not speak the language at all, so everything I wanted to do at that time I had to ask for and relied on my uncle and his children. I felt I was a useless and annoying person in people’s eyes. Once, I was thinking about surrendering the new life and a better future that I have hopped for and going back to Viet Nam. My uncle knew how I felt, so he always encouraged me and told me that I was luckier than he was because I had my family with me, but he did not. He had started over as a blank sheet without anyone by his side. He gave me the inspiration that it is never too late to learn and achieve the goal that I have hoped. Since then, I have studied, met and worked with different people. Learning and adapting to new things has made me stronger and more confident in myself.
Making new friends has been very difficult for me. My friends in Viet Nam meant so much to me. They were important because whenever I needed them, they were always there to support and to comfort me. However I had a difficult time making friends in the United States. I do not know why, but it seemed really complicated for me to find someone that I feel close enough to and share things with.
I used to be an active and cheerful boy, but once I felt I was falling into a black hole with no place to go and no one to talk to. I completely submerged myself in studying and working. I was thinking of keeping myself in the darkness and not opening up for anyone. I was depressed and lonely, and I wanted to get lost in the big world.
However, those feelings did not stay long. One day by chance, in my break time, my manager at the place where I work found me sitting hunched over in the corner of the locker room in the dark. She turned on the light and saw me crying. She asked me if something was wrong, but I first denied it. She insisted that I tell her, and from that time, she was like a godmother.
Then I explained to her about how living in the United States changed me to a shy person, who was unable to communicate with others, did not know the language, and was unfamiliar with things. She told me, “Sometimes life’s stresses get you down, but don’t let them win over you. You have to muster your confidence and get over them.” Also she told me to try to open up myself to let people get closer to me. Therefore, I have come back to the person I used to be.
Leaving one’s country to come to another place is not a bad thing. It always has its own reason or purpose. There is no denial that I have missed all the things in Viet Nam, but I know that I will have something else in this new country such as better future. Staying in this country as an immigrant does not mean I will forget my own country, where I was born and grew up for fourteen years. It will always be in my blood, and my mind as my beloved homeland. “A river has its own source; a person has his or her own origin.”
© Copyright Silver International Newspaper, Montgomery
Blair H.S. 2006 (This page was created by name)