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Feeling homesick is a very bizarre sensation. The sentiment of missing your home can actually be pretty similar to how you feel when you are ill; you feel tired, physically hurting, anxious, but mostly sad. You miss your loved ones, the routine you held, the food you used to eat, your home country’s costumes, the weather, the smells, everything. I know that all those deep feelings have intensified a thousand times due to the global pandemic we are living in.

Newcomers, just like me, and probably you, struggle to find our sense of belonging in a new place. This pandemic has affected not just the things we physically see but also aspects within ourselves, like our feelings, our nerves, and our will. This is why it is truly important to find motivation, something that keeps our minds healthy, makes you see the positive aspects of life and helps you find your way.

To better explain what keeps me motivated during this pandemic, I want to tell you a little about my story.

My husband, my six-year-old son, and I started the arduous process of moving to Canada roughly eighteen months ago, even though we had made the decision way before that. We had to arrange numerous things for us to come, but a few months later, we were emotionally and physically ready.

When we finally took the leap, we could not believe our bad luck that a pandemic was looming, and our dream of coming was in jeopardy. Things got complicated, but we stayed united, we fought, and we made it. After a year, a bit later than we would have hoped, we were finally in Canada.

However, not all was perfect: we still had to stay five feet away from everyone; we were not allowed to travel, meet with friends, and had to stay at home as much as possible. So, getting to know new people and building a community would have to wait, and staying motivated—especially in a new country-—was way more complicated than I initially thought.

During the first few days of our arrival, I read articles online on how to find motivation while in isolation. They all gave great advice, so I tried the usual recommendations: start your day with a plan, eat healthy, squeeze in short activity periods, get enough sleep, take a long bath, read your favourite book, write in a journal, et cetera. While some of these helped, I was still feeling homesick and unenthusiastic.

A few weeks later, we took a small family outing to a beautiful beach west of Victoria. My son has always been a very early riser, so we got to the beach pretty early in the morning, and we were the only ones there. We set up a picnic, and my son played in the waves with his father. While I watched both of them, I could smell the fresh, cold morning air, looked at the beautiful scenery, and felt completely safe. Then I started thinking of how in my beautiful home country, Mexico, as amazing and as colourful as it is, we never felt entirely safe; we had to check our backs constantly. Maybe it seems trivial, but in that moment, all my insecurities and doubts blew away with the wind.

We, as newcomers, are here for a reason, whether it is to study, work, improve our quality of life, be with family, or make a dream come true.

I have finally realized that what is keeping me motivated every single day is being in this moment, with the ones I love, here in Canada.

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