Confessions of a frustrated immigrant

Or should I say ‘expat’? Why when British leave abroad call themselves ‘expats’ and when we come here we are called ‘immigrants’? (By the way, I said British and I could have said Americans…) Either way, put whatever other nationality you can think of when mentioning the word ‘expat’.

According to the dictionary:

An ‘expat’ is  “a person who is voluntarily absent from home or country.” while 

An ‘immigrant’ is “a person who comes to a country in order to settle there.”

So they both leave their countries of origin because they chose to, otherwise they would be “refugees” being forced to do it. And they’re both trying to settle in a new place.

Is not that what we are all trying to do? It seems to me that the connotations are different though. Being an immigrant many times is related to all the negativeness of crime, taking advantage of benefits, lack of education, resources… If you’re lucky enough to come from a touristic place at least they will know where it’s located and the wonderful holidays they spend there. If not, good luck then. 

On the other hand, when you’re an expat, you have probably relocated because of a career improvement, your economical situation is much better and you don’t come to the country to take advantage of it but to contribute to it.

eli-immigrant-thinking

Oh wait…aren’t immigrants doing that too? Working hard, accepting low-paid jobs that nobody else wants and moving the economy forward so we all benefit from it? I think that’s called “contribution” too. Yeah, I thought so.

Did you know that on our first year in UK

I tried to set up my own business and make myself a place within my professional industry? Back then we used to attend some Networking events to promote the business a little bit. One time, I came across a gentleman from the Marketing Association that told me quite clear that I needed to get a “proper education”. I explained to him I had a Bachelor’s Degree from University of Barcelona. (didn’t buy my degree in ebay, you know…) I worked and studied hard during 4 years to become a good professional. He belittled me, my studies and everything that I had worked for, just to sell me one of his courses…I left that room thinking  – you have all this knowledge about marketing, but let me tell you, you’re rubbish getting a sale done. I wouldn’t buy from you even if I had had the money to do it!-

entrepreneur-immigrant

My husband has broken his back in every job position he is been. He’s helped beyond his duties, his responsibilities. Because of that he’s been taken advantage many times, never getting the promotion he deserved so they could keep paying him a low wage.

How do you think it feels when you come to a country full of expectations, well-prepared and you accept any non-qualified job so that you can provide for your family?

Bills need to be paid. And you can always feel proud of an honest job, regardless of your salary, category or whatever. But if on top of that you come across people that think that your profession is a hobby and what you do as a job is who you are, then, my dear readers, it becomes more and more frustrating.

Let me tell you, my husband is not a “whopper-maker” He worked hard and studied even harder when we lived in Barcelona. He got to finish his career while working at the same time, having a first child, providing for both of us, studying in Catalan, not his mother tongue (which is Portuguese), and on top of all that, getting good qualifications. He literally sweated every day. Leaving early in the morning and coming home late at night. His passion, his career, his drive is not to prepare burgers. He does a good job there because he is a responsible man, but he is so much more than that.

j-bk-immingrant

I am so so tired of people who belittle you, who doesn’t see beyond a uniform or a desk. So tired of feeling that we can’t reach where we want. I should probably have written this some other day when I’m not full of pain killers and antibiotics, but this is real. The feeling is real.

Sometimes I wonder, who am I looking the praises from?

Do I really need that tap on the back from acquaintances, friends, family or even strangers? I know where to look up. But sometimes, it gets so hard. It gets so difficult to keep smiling to the ones who are rude to you, who don’t treat you well. I was telling Sam today – I can’t help be who I am. I am a kind person- It doesn’t come out that easy to shout back, say something rude or abrupt to people. Sometimes I wish I could do it, honestly. And I, obviously, have my rough days, I am no angel. But I don’t understand…of all the nice people that are in the world, how come I come across all the nasty ones?! I must have a magnet for them! A sign that says…”Yes, please, over here! Ignore me, shout at me, belittle me, it doesn’t matter, I’m an immigrant, right?!”

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Oh gosh, honestly, I wish I could finish this post on a positive tone. Believe me, I’m trying. This week I was thinking about my parents. About my parents in law too. Did you know that my father-in-law, who is a well experienced, educated man who pursued a career in economics and holds many titles, is currently working serving tables? When my parents arrived to Barcelona from Peru, I was just a baby, and couldn’t understand all their challenges. Both of my parents pursued different careers that due to family circumstances couldn’t finish. But they tried hard. They’ve currently got their own business, which has been running for a long time. They went through many hard, unbearable jobs to get to that point, though. Cleaning, looking after the elderly, working on weekends…the list is long.

I suppose that my aim with this post, apart from getting it out off my chest,  is to encourage everyone to see beyond the person.

Don’t just look at the outward appearance. Behind that tray, there’s probably someone who is dreaming to be something else, who has even prepared to be something else. Behind the lady that cleans your house or looks after your children, there’s maybe a fashion designer, or a doctor! Let’s start looking at people in the eyes and search for who they really are. Don’t be misguided by a job title, a salary or an outfit. Let’s be humans looking at other humans. Praising our efforts one another, because you know what, sometimes, this can be a terrible world to live in, but if we can find some support on another’s shoulder, life will get easier for everyone.

Again, maybe not my best week to write, but I needed to tell you this, I needed to tell you that you are GREAT, that we cannot let others, people, organisations, or society define who we really are or who we dreamed of to become. We can hope for better things to come, because we are worthy of them, because if we keep working hard, the tap on our back won’t be necessary, the results of our efforts will make us feel proud of who we are and what we do.

Since there’s nothing more positive than kittens and I can’t finish my post with an “all is happy” attitude, let me show you this hilarious video, completely unrelated to the post I just wrote.

Let’s laugh together at this poor little kitty…someone tried of its own medicine…hahaha

14 thoughts on “Confessions of a frustrated immigrant

  1. Arantza says:

    Cariño te entiendo y te mando un gran abrazo.
    Yo me fui, no pude con eso de ser tan poca cosa. Fue muy duro para mi. Estaba totalmente deprimida.
    Agradezco a Dios cada día que la tierra de mis padres, mi hermosa España a pesar de su crisis me dio la oportunidad de empezar aquí.
    He tenido ahora la oportunidad de conocerles y con esta lección aprendida (si la de UK) les veo de una forma diferente.
    Estas historias de Migración al final lo que nos enseñan es que todo no es tan malo como lo vemos al principio y que a lo mejor las cosas no están tan mal como pensamos.
    Tu Afortunadamente tienes a tu tierra natal, yo no puedo regresar a Venezuela. Piensenlo y Ojalá que con una visión refrescada y un poco de creatividad vuelven a conseguir un lugar en su tierra nuevamente.

    • elituesbay says:

      Muchas gracias por tus ánimos Arantza! Es cierto que nunca se sabe dónde pueden haber nuevas oportunidades. En este caso yo no he crecido en mi tierra natal y para mí “mi tierra” es Barcelona a la que me encantaría volver si pudiera encontrar la misma estabilidad que aquí en UK. Pero quién sabe, a lo mejor algún día cruzamos el charco a Brasil o Perú. Un abrazo wapa! Gracias por tu comentario 🙂

  2. rosamariabay says:

    Por supuesto que si!!! Si cada uno hace su parte el mundo puede ser mejor!!
    Ojala todos pudieramos mirar mas alla de las apariencias o poder mirar el corazon de las personas, sabriamos reconocer y reaccionar en consecuencia.
    Muchas gracias. Estoy segura que en su momento demostrareis todas vuestras virtudes que son muchas y la preparacion que teneis que es super!!

  3. Happy Mummy says:

    It’s stupid how the media has created two different terms and the media and Nigel Farage are responsible for a lot of the hostility people face. My dad came to this country 38 years ago and he made it his home; to him England was home and Greece always has a special place and was his birthplace but wasnt home anymore. I hope your family settle and enjoy the UK & ignore the 90% of Brits who feel they have a right to domicile anywhere in the world but others don’t have a right to come here. I for one am ashamed Brexit happened.

    • elituesbay says:

      Aw thanks for your comment. It’s scary sometimes to know that we only see one side of the coin, the one the media shows to us. We’ve been here for a while and fortunately enough we know that there are some wonderful people in these isles too. Xx

  4. Leandra says:

    I am so ashamed by the way this country (UK) is treating ‘expats’. I have a few friends who have quite legally relocated to this country and who have worked hard to get the jobs they have and who have struggled to get mortgages and support the ‘system’. People forget that one of the things that has been so ‘Great’ about Great Britain is the acceptance of other. nationalities who have really made the UL the diverse and cosmopolitan place it is today with all nationalities living happily alongside each other. I just want you to know some of us love having ‘EXPATS’ here and am so pleased my son will benefit from mixing with people from other religions, beliefs and nationalities. Xx
    Leandra recently posted…|BLOGMAS|stocking filler gift guide for 5 year olds – Day 6My Profile

  5. Rosie @ Little Fish says:

    This is a really thought provoking post Eliana. Why do we use two different terms? I often refer to ourselves as expats (being UK in the US) but we are considered immigrants in a more legal sense. It’s awful that the word ‘immigrant’ is used with negative connotations in both the UK and the US at the moment. It’s really scary. But know that there is a huge proportion of people who also embrace and celebrate expats from all countries. Great post. x
    Rosie @ Little Fish recently posted…Living Arrows 50/52My Profile

  6. Anca says:

    It’s a shame your experience is so bad. I consider myself an expat. I moved to UK from Romania 5 years ago and I must say I never heard this sort of comments from Brits. I hope you’ll get to see a little more of the UK I’m enjoying so much. I have great neighbours, I made friends and my business relationships are great and hope that someday you’ll have that too.
    Anca recently posted…It’s beginning to look a lot like ChristmasMy Profile

    • elituesbay says:

      Aw thanks Anca for your words of encouragement. Our experience in this country is definitely not so bad and we’ve been blessed to come across wonderful people too. This is more of combination of many things post mixed with my own opinion of course. We’ll keep working hard to create great opportunities as the ones you’ve experienced 🙂 xx

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