Why did you move here? Bi-national relationship advice – Muriel’s story.
I met Muriel last year at one of the Christmas Markets where I was selling my designs. We immediately clicked and met again for tea + talks. She has a wonderful, bubbly, energetic personality and I love it when people have so much energy that it gives you a boost of motivation. It has been a lot of fun to listen to her story, exchange experiences and I’m crossing my fingers that she and her Canadian love Steve will be able to live together very soon. Muriel decided to answer all my questions in one long story, so here comes the questions and the story:
• Tell me a bit about yourself!
Hi! I’m Muriel, I’m 29 years old, currently living between my home country Switzerland and Canada. I love my job (primary school teacher), I love outdoor activities and Nature, and I love everything that can be respectful to the body and the environment: yoga, meditation, aromatherapy, etc.
• Have you always lived where you live now? If not, how did you end up there?
• How & when did you meet your partner?
• When and how did you know it was serious?
• Did you have to spend time apart? What was the longest time, what was the hardest part and how did you survive?
• How did you decide where to live?
• What’s most challenging about immigrating into another country?
• What do you love about your bi-national relationship experience?
• What advice could you give other people in similar situations? Or is there anything you would like to ask my readers?
I ended up in beautiful Canada this way: … well, it’s a long story! Travelling in South America with my best friend, we were cruising the Galapagos Islands when I met a Canadian. Without really searching for it, I got caught in one of those kinds of things you don’t really plan, because they just happen. Your inner … strength? voice? angel? (call it as you wish) just guides you and here you are: flirting with someone other than the person waiting for you back home. Do you believe in destiny? I do.
So our story would have been nearly impossible if, when we met again in Quito, he wouldn’t have announced: “I just got accepted in an MBA programme near Paris!” Destiny? Probably. I broke up with my boyfriend of 7 years. The Canadian was then travelling south, we were travelling north, and planned to meet in Paris a couple months later as I was living and working in Switzerland, not too far from my new lovers’ city. At some point (missing me? yippee!) he flew to Mexico to surprise my friend and I (more me than my friend actually)! After this trip and during an entire year and a half, we both travelled between Switzerland and France with the TGV every 2 weeks, jumping out of work, changing clothes, travelling for 6 hours and meeting for Friday evening parties! Fun and exciting at the beginning, oh my Buddha, frustrating at the end! Sometimes we would meet in other places: Porto, Nice, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rome, London, etc. After finishing school he got a job in Seoul, South Korea; I followed him and very luckily got a job there. We were finally moving in together, living ‘The Adventure’ together in this new place. After 2 years, he got a new job in Calgary and we moved to beautiful Canada.
I know what you’re thinking… It sounds fun, right? That was the fun part :O) An international relationship is indeed very exciting. You’re less likely to get bored and you don’t get stuck in any kind of routine. But I could also tell you about the difficulties. Family: you miss so much in their lives. And it’s usually not when you are away that you miss your family, it’s when you come back that you realize how much you miss them and how much you missed out on things and spending time with them. Friends: you lose some, and you are only able to keep the rest through making real efforts with your time, energy, and thoughts – efforts that make you live two lives at the same time. You try to be there for your friends back home and your partner abroad. Again, you realize that you’ve been away from people when you come back, not when you’re away. The unknown: this one can make you stress a lot. Make new friends and be patient to build a new life. But the most difficult part is probably not being able to work in the country where you have followed someone in the name of love. That’s where I’m at! I’ve been waiting since last July for a work permit in Canada that I will hopefully receive at the end of this year. Fun fact: I got a job in a French-speaking school in Calgary, but immigration would not allow it! This school still hasn’t found anyone for their music teaching position. Well, as there is a solution for everything, I’m now substitute teaching in Switzerland and re-establishing the long distance relationship joys :O)
How did we manage it? Like every couple, first by believing in each other and never doubting, and by a lot of communication, almost every single day, which was not my cup of tea at the beginning. I wasn’t used to it. Somebody in the relationship has to make sacrifices, especially when deciding where to live. My Canadian knows that one day I would like to live closer to my home country. Like for many in our situation, our work leads us where to go next.
So, in the end: Dream. Be positive. Don’t think too much. Follow your instinct. Try.
• What are your 3 favourite words?
Caelum in Latin. It means sky. I don’t know why, but I always thought it was a beautiful word.
Jinjja? in Korean. Girls there say it with a cute intonation to say, “Oh really?” and this word could represent an entire society’s behaviour (that’s another long story!)
La Pachamama, because I believe in her, Mother Earth.
Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, Muriel!
You want to read more fascinating stories about people who moved to another country for love? Find them here: Why did you move here?
With love from the Maple And Oak Diaries,