Coffee Date: Change is Scary

Hello hello friends. This is my/our first “Coffee Date” aka our monthly get-to-know-each-other post. I am not sure how to start this, but as I mentioned before I want to turn this blog into more than just sharing outfits (don’t worry though, there will still be plenty of that!) this year, and was thinking what would be the first “deeper” post I would write about. Then I just realized, why not start at the beginning, the life I found in Canada (or more specifically how to deal with completely changing your life).

A little background info about me: as some of you might already know, I live in Canada at the moment but actually come from Belgium, in Europe. I was born and grew up there until I was 18 and then was sent (I wasn’t entirely on board with this decision and went back and forth about it with my parents until finally agreeing) to Canada to learn English after my last year of high school. It is somewhat of a tradition in my family to go visit a new country for a year when you finish school, to learn about cultures and evolve into an “adult” before coming home and starting college. So at 18, here I was, getting on this huge plane by myself (I had never left Europe before that) and travelling across the Atlantic to land in Ottawa, Canada. I’ll be fully honest and say I cried the whole flight, and I was terrified of what was waiting for me in this new completely foreign place. I barely spoke English, and was still a child who lost all of my bearings in a matter of hours. My friends were still hanging out with each other when I was stuck alone on the other side of the world, and the time difference made it difficult to say the least to be in contact with my family. The first few months were really tough and I remember the headaches I would get at night after spending an entire day trying to speak a new language (not even mentioning the countless moments I felt like a complete idiot because I couldn’t find the words I wanted to say). After the holidays, I met my boyfriend (subject of a different post later!), my English skills dramatically improved, and I just began to see the city in a whole new light. I was ultimately beginning to adapt to my new life – and didn’t end up moving back home at the end of the year!

Thinking about all this now, 8+ years later, I do realize what a huge step this was, and how it changed my whole life. I never thought of myself as someone particularly brave or courageous (and still don’t), but when you reflect on the challenges you have been through and what you endured without necessarily noticing it, you can’t help but feeling proud of yourself. No one is ever prepared for changes, big or small, and you don’t know how to react until you are facing the reality of it. Change is scary, that’s all. I have had a lot of conversations throughout the years with friends and family, and one sentence was always the same “I would never be able to go through what you did”. But you know what? Yes you would. Yes you can do what I did, go through the toughest/loneliest times of your life no matter what they are, and come out on the other side a new person. If you had told me 10 years ago that I would be living in Canada in my 20s, with the rest of my family in Europe, and actually loving my life, I would have laughed in your face, no doubt about it. I was a family girl through and through and didn’t think I would ever want/need to be by myself this much. There is no way you can predict what will happen, but you are in charge of how you react to it and how you spend your days. It is easy to fall into depression, tell yourself you don’t have the strength to move forward – but trust me: it is MUCH easier to be happy after you have gone through it! Living here now is my full 100% decision, no one forced me (or even approved of it when I first said I wasn’t coming back). I am not the same person I was when I left at 18 – well obviously who is the same as they were in high school – but I know I would have turned out differently if my life didn’t pan out the way it did. Of course some days are more difficult, especially the days you say goodbye after spending time back home, or you know, the days you just aren’t feeling good and you need your parents to tell you things will be ok. But you know what? Life isn’t easy, and if my life had turned out differently then it would be something else making some days hard. There is always something to complain about – the thing is to find what helps you get through it, and hang on to that until the day ends!

Sorry for the long doosey post, but let me finish with this: no matter what happens in your life, you have the power of how you deal with it. You can to let it bury you, turn you into an empty shell of yourself, or you can choose to fight and get through the difficult times and get out stronger than you were before. I am not saying it is easy to find your way when everything seems against you, far from that, but when you do get on the other side it will have been worth it. 100%. Life is hard, but life is beautiful! And when you look back, you realize that everything happened for a reason, to bring you where you are today and help you deal with what will happen tomorrow.

On a side note, I am planning to move and get closer to my family this year, and in all honesty leaving this place which has now become my home is completely terrifying me! Ironic, isn’t it?

I hope I didn’t bore you to sleep with this! I’d love to hear your stories and what you have been through/are going through so please share with me so we can get to know each other more!

XO

LEAVE A COMMENT

17 Comments

  • Laura butterworth

    Absolutely beautiful and inspiring post Marie 💟

  • Mathilde

    Merci de partager avec nous ce moment crucial de ta vie ! Je me permets de commenter en français (ce qui sera plus facile pour moi !) 😉 Je découvre ton blog et mon Dieu ce que tu es jolie ! j’adore tes looks c’est très inspirant et j’aime beaucoup ta simplicité ! Merci beaucoup !

    • Marie

      Oh merci Mathilde! Tu es adorable, et cela me fait super plaisir de savoir que tu aimes ce que je fais!

  • Michaela

    Change is definitely not something we find comfortable. I love how honest you were with this post. Out cultures are definitely so different. I enjoyed learning about your experiences.

    • Marie

      Thank you so much for reading! XO

  • Bella

    change is not always easy. I have a really hard time reacting to change in a positive way. its something i really need to work on. I love how you shared in this post! I forsure loved this one.

  • Nicole Booz

    Wow, you are incredible! Change is definitely extremely hard but we all have the ability to cope. It’s something so beautiful about being human. Thank you for sharing your story! Looking forward to future coffee dates 🙂

    • Marie

      Thank you so much for saying this! You are so sweet.

  • Ana

    Love it! Where will you go next?

  • Courtney Drew

    Wow this is an incredible story, thank you so much for sharing! Change is scary but no progress is made unless there is change, powerful story.

    Courtney

  • Kayla

    I might be dealing with something similar this year. I’m waiting to hear back from grad schools, some of which are hours away from my family and boyfriend. I’m looking forward to the challenge, though! I think it could be really good for me to find myself and be on my own. Loved this post and I look forward to learning more about you!

    Kayla | kaylablogs.com

  • Courtney

    I never knew this about you! I moved away from home three years ago and it was the scariest, but best thing for me. I’m so happy you were able to grow and learn from the experience. I still think about moving home. You’re right, going back after time with your family is SO hard!

    Great post hun!

    Xo,
    Courtney
    http://www.courtneyfashionista.com

  • Maryam alshehab

    I moved to ottawa when I was 17 on my own too! And the first year was the loneliest year of my life. But know I cant imagine going back home because this feels like home. It was a challenge but one I’m glad I took.

  • Amanda Vojvodin

    Hi Marie!

    Thank you for sharing your story – I wish I would have learned about your blog sooner, I love it! I feel like you and I had similar experiences, but going in the opposite direction… I am a Canadian and went to university in Ottawa (and worked at Parliament) and was convinced that my life would be in Ottawa forever. Then when I was 21 I moved to France (and also cried on the plane and for the first week there alone). It was terrifying, but it helped me grow and made me into the person I am today! After my year in France I also got attached to my new life and so I came back to Canada for a shot while and then moved back to Europe! Now I live in Milan and I followed my dream to work in the fashion industry, but like you said nothing is easy and sometimes we need to take that leap of faith (even if it’s terrifying and we hate it at first) in order to get to all that’s good on the other side.

    I’ll be coming back to Ottawa at the end of April to visit some friends and would love to meet up for a coffee if you’re up for it! Thanks again for sharing your story, it’s so valuable that there’s a real person behind all the photos (sometimes with Instagram we focus only on the clothes and not on the stories, memories and people behind them)! Let me know about a coffee date 🙂

  • Deb Thoemke

    Thankful it’s not just clothing and makeup! I just read your latest post on LDRs and followed it up with this one. I moved to another state (1yr ago) as it is where my husband grew up and wanted to live. I left my home in a similar fashion driving 14hrs away crying and pouting all the way! Although it was tough leaving my home for the first time @ 42 I resolved to make it work. Got a new job that takes new places and really enjoy my co-workers. However my hubby went as happy and has returned home. I haven’t decided if it’s what I want. I miss him and our closeness but now I like where I am at…ugh! So not ready but are we really ever ?!?Its such a conundrum

  • Chelsea Tan

    Just started reading your blog. I love it!! Keep it coming😍

    chelseawroteit.wordpress.com

    • Marie

      Thank you so much!! XO