June 26, 2018 was the day.
I woke up that morning and drove to the office with all kinds of different thoughts bouncing around in my head. Is this the right thing to do? I asked myself, but I couldn’t find the answer. The 30-minute drive came and went and before I knew it, I found myself walking past the largest Mercedes-Benz workshop in the world. The next thing I remember, I was behind my desk with just one thing in mind.
I walked to the chief’s office and asked, “Boss, do you have 15 minutes?” He looked at me with wonder and a question on his face and said, “of course.” I closed the door and he stood, moving from behind his desk he asked me to join him in the guest lounge, almost as if he knew something big was about to happen.
Yes, that’s right — I was about to make my exit.
He asked where I was going, to which I responded: Halifax.
He looked me in the eyes and I could sense what he was thinking. With his wisdom and experience, I knew he was going to appreciate my decision.
“It is time to find your purpose in life — I wish you all the best,” he said.
The whole conversation lasted only about 15 minutes, but it is 15 minutes I will never forget.
That day marked the beginning of a new life for my wife and I. After 13 years of living in the beautiful city of Abu Dhabi, it was time to move on. The decision had been made and the destination was Halifax.
Fast forward to Sept. 27, 2018, we were finally here, walking down Lower Water Street in search of a spot to have dinner.
Looking around I was in disbelief at what a change this was. Nothing was the same anymore. Different language, climate, traditions, beliefs, values — you name it.
But then came the question of what now? We had a simple, but difficult plan to execute. If I could summarize it into one phrase, I would call it: transition to transform.
Transitioning to new country meant that we would have to establish ourselves both socially and professionally. We would have to meet new people, adjust to the traditions and integrate ourselves into the culture. We would have to create a safe environment, be accepted in society and feel comfortable interacting with the local people. On the other hand, we have to create a climate in which we could be accepted and welcomed as a couple.
For me, the transition period was not easy. I continued to look back at my old life, comparing where I was to where I am now, which left me stuck in the past for a period of time. I admit that I still compare, but I believe that I am no longer living there. The truth is, despite how much we had planned, the reality of our new situation was much different and much more difficult than anticipated. But, now that we are here, we have to deal with it.
One year has passed now and as I look back and evaluate what we have accomplished, I feel good. But looking ahead and thinking about what’s next still scares me. Why? Because if the transition is that difficult, how hard will the transformation be? The one thing I can be sure of is that the good people that have helped us along the way are still there for us and they seek nothing in return. I can’t thank them enough and knowing they are there to support us makes us feel safe.
It doesn’t matter if you are changing countries, provinces, cities or even jobs. Change requires effort and the best results are experienced when we plan, be agile and just live it. From my experiences, I’ve gained the knowledge of how important it is to plan a transitional period and be flexible to adjust when necessary. Having somebody to talk you through your problems is vital to your success, even if you have to invest in a life coach or counsellor. At the end of the day, we are living in an ever-evolving world and change is the one thing we can be sure of.