My Fresh Start in Québec, Canada
While others my age are settling down, building houses, and having children, I'm starting from scratch in Canada. And I mean really from scratch. New job, new country, new language, and a new social environment. And I arrived with just two suitcases. I couldn't even bring my beloved sewing machine, let alone Lisa, my favorite chicken. Yes, you can miss chickens, I didn't know that until now. Although you can take cats on an airplane, can you do that with chickens? Does anyone know? Well, that's a different topic... I arrived with two suitcases and I feel like a student again. I'm having trouble finding an apartment because I have no credit history in Canada, which is not exactly advantageous in the competition for housing... I have no car or friends to help me pick up furniture... And then you start buying everything all over again: towels, dishes, a vacuum cleaner, a kettle, hangers, pillows, chairs, a shower curtain, even a bit of decor... everything you already had in Germany. I feel like back when I moved out of my parents' house. And something I could have done without... a long-distance relationship. But well, you do what you have to when science calls.
When I was considering starting a doctoral thesis, I once attended a lecture about the decision to pursue or not pursue a Ph.D. They said that one should be aware of their intrinsic and extrinsic motivations before embarking on a Ph.D. journey, so that you can hold onto them during challenging times. Somehow, this applies to all life decisions that become difficult at some point. Being clear about why you're doing something in the first place helps you remember it when things get tough and doubts creep in. At the beginning, everything was simply exhausting. No idea which bus to take. Can I pay with cash on the bus? Everything was foreign and new, and my French was not good enough to understand the shopkeeper's questions. And then I arrived in January – the coldest month in Quebec. Why did I do this to myself? Oh yes, I wanted the challenge... well, I certainly have that now. But it was primarily the work. I felt that Germany, in my field of forest genetics, was lagging behind a bit, or at least other countries offered more opportunities. Well, in Canada, forestry contributes 25.2 billion Canadian dollars to the GDP, so there's more money for research (1). During my Ph.D., I often read publications from Canadians and was enthusiastic about their research. When I had the opportunity to start as a postdoc here, I didn't hesitate for long. I believe you don't get such a chance a second time. Well, without children and a house, it's much easier to move to another continent. And my boyfriend, well, he wasn't opposed to the idea. I mean, where can he indulge more in his hunting and fishing passions than here?! But because it takes him a bit longer, I decided to start my little adventure a bit earlier.
So now I have apartment viewings one after the other and I'm going to second-hand stores to furnish my apartment. At work, I'm working on a project where I feel like I'm really making the world a bit better, even if it's just a tiny bit. Plus, I have the opportunity to learn a new language and the chance to discover something new every weekend... 😊
(1) https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/our-natural-resources/forests/state-canadas-forests-report/how-do-forests-benefit-canadians/16509 abgerufen am 05.02.23 17:02