The Challenges of Relocation
Relocating or moving from a familiar place to an unfamiliar place can be very challenging.
Whether you are relocating from an old house to a new house or from one job to another, they all involve some levels of discomfort and anxiety.
It is even more difficult if you are moving from your country of birth to reside in a different country.
Upon arrival to your new country, immediately you will be bombarded by a number of essential things that you must get done.
These include immigration, living accommodation, and schools if you have children.
If the main purpose of relocating is to begin a new job in your new country your situation will be even more burdensome.
You now have to juggle between trying to adjust to different technologies and environments on the job while trying to blend in with a different and somewhat strange society.
The cultural differences can be very daunting even to the point where you may literally become homesick for your familiar and safe environment back home.
These were my greatest challenges when I relocated from Jamaica (my home) to Tortola, the British Virgin Islands in 2001.
Both places are part of the English-speaking Caribbean, yet when I arrived on this very small but quaint island I had difficulty communicating with the locals.
They made it clear that they could not understand my accent and neither could I understand their dialect and accent.
Their surnames and living addresses sounded strange to my ears: ‘Humtums Ghut; Purcell (pussle) Estate.’
It was after much studying that I learned to decipher the pronunciation in order to spell these words correctly.
My other areas of testing were the economic and social lifestyle of my new residence.
The economy of the BVI is much more prosperous than Jamaica, but the cost of living is much higher.
I was, therefore, advised to shop in St. Thomas, a neighboring US island that was much cheaper.
Traveling to and from both islands was done via the local ferry service which was very reliable.
For the first couple of years, I was caught up with this local lifestyle of once per month grocery shopping in St. Thomas until finally, I realized that the slight differences in prices of household items were not worth the hassle of hauling these boxes, bags, and pans through customs.
You were also charged custom duties for all the items that were purchased in St. Thomas.
When I was living in Jamaica my salary was not high enough to qualify me for a credit card, but in Tortola, I was apparently more than qualified because the bank gave me not just one but two credit cards.
I was elated by this power which was compounded when I rented a US mailbox.
This special box facilitates the easy receipts of goods that were ordered online. I was on top of the world and I went on an internet shopping spree until all my credit cards were quickly maxed out.
For many years, I was unable to reduce my credit card debts because as soon as I put some money on these cards I would return to the internet to shop.
It was difficult to control my spending because during that time I was facing many other personal problems in my home and so shopping was my way of easing the pain and rewarding myself.
I was addicted to online shopping, and even more, unfortunately, I was ignorant of this.
It is hard to imagine that people who live on these beautiful islands really have problems.
I often wondered about that myself because when I first arrived on these islands I was struck by its natural and un-spoilt beauty.
In my mind, I had just relocated to paradise and all the social and economic problems that I had in Jamaica would remain in Jamaica.
Tortola signified new opportunities, new lifestyle— a new beginning.
The Island of Tortola consists of twenty-four square miles of mostly mountainous terrains.
Many beautiful homes gracefully adorn the hillsides that evoke the feeling of wealth and prosperity.
However, most of these homes are not single-family homes owned by millionaires, but they are mostly residential apartments for locals and expatriates.
Wherever you live and wherever you drive on this island you are always bombarded by magnificent views of the blue ocean with sporadic pop-up of rocks bursting from its depth.
Many sailing boats meander lazily along the shores and even more spectacular are the huge cruise ships that frequently anchor by the docks during the tourist season.
Tortola is the largest of a series of islands that make up the BVI.
I was fortunate enough to visit most of these islands when I accompanied my children on sailing trips organized by the Ministry of Education to reward the children in the primary schools who were high achievers.
Apart from Tortola, my favorite island is Virgin Gorda.
Even though this island is hot and dry, its unique beauty far outweighs its disadvantages.
One of its most amazing attractions that I found fascinating is the gigantic rocks that are located at the Baths.
The huge rocks are scattered all over the beach like natural sculptures forming secluded pools in the water.
These rocks are said to be leftovers from volcanic eruptions.
Tourists from all over the world are attracted to these islands to enjoy great sailing, scuba diving, and water sports.
They are attracted to the British Virgin Islands because of their unique beauty and tranquility.
A place with so much natural splendor cannot contain stress?
This appeared virtually impossible, but it did!
My life on this island was filled with so many trials and afflictions that they overshadowed the beauty and tranquility.
However, I later learned that it was a plot of the enemy to keep me from appreciating my blessings.
The worst periods in my life occurred in 2006, 2008, 2011.
Even though they were my worst years, they were also three of the best years of my life.
In 2006, my son who was diagnosed from birth with debilitating congenital heart disease took ill at school. We rushed him to the hospital and he was immediately hospitalized.
My son’s condition worsened and the fever refused to budge in spite of all the local doctors’ efforts.
He was, therefore, urgently transferred to a hospital in Puerto Rico by Air Ambulance.
In spite of the hospital’s advanced technology and more experienced doctors, they were baffled by my son deteriorating condition and predicted that he would not make it through the first night at the hospital.
When the doctors told me the terrible news the pain became so unbearable that I gave him over to God.
I told the Lord that He should do as He pleased with him because my son was His child first before he became mine.
Read: In the Eyes of a Child.
At the point where I surrendered to the supremacy of God, He came through for us and touched our child.
The Lord miraculously led the doctors to the source of my son’s illness.
It was a huge brain abscess that shifted his brain.
My son was in excruciating pain and this abscess was the reason why the fever never budges despite all the medications that he received.
When his diagnosis was found, everything began to move rapidly.
My son had two surgeries to drain the abscess and spent two months in the hospital.
While my son was in the hospital, my brother in Jamaica died and I was unable to attend the funeral.
In 2008, my mother died suddenly. She was not ill. She just went home to be with the Lord.
My mother was the backbone of my family and after she passed away she left me the greatest legacy that a parent could ever leave their children.
This legacy is her godly life.
I took this legacy with me when I first left under her covering at the age of eighteen.
This legacy made me into a woman of integrity.
My mother’s legacy gave me the unshakeable faith that I have in my God – the Creator.
After the period of mourning was over, I rescheduled my son’s appointment with the cardiologist to perform a cardiac catheterization on him. I had previously postponed it after the death of my mother.
After the procedure, the doctor told us that my son was a candidate for surgery and so I agreed to it.
My son had open-heart surgery to repair his broken heart (hypoplastic left heart syndrome).
The surgery lasted for twelve grueling hours. I was alone in Puerto Rico with him.
I was a stranger in a strange country with no family or friends for support, but I had my God and He was more than enough.
My son spent three months in the ICU at the cardiovascular center.
Six months after my mother died and just about two months after my son’s surgery, my sister died in the USA.
She had battled years of psychological illness and the pain of my mother’s death was too much for her to bear.
In 2011, my marriage which was filled with conflicts and problems from its inception finally succumb and separation was our only alternative.
I almost lost my sanity, but I did not!
How did I escape?
My sister lived in the USA surrounded by families and friends, but the trials of life overcame her.
I endured even more tribulation than my sister while living on a small island with absolutely no blood relatives or any close friends. So how did I survive and how did I make it out of the wilderness?
My sister received the same legacy as I did from our mother and she was also a Christian, so what happens?
Would you say that God failed her? Absolutely not!
Similar to me, my sister was a victim of the enemy’s attack, but she lacked the knowledge of how to fight the enemy and she had no one to help her spiritually at that time.
I recognized that I also lack the knowledge and so I cried out to God for help. He answered and gave me His Spirit of wisdom and revelation.
It is this knowledge that shoved me out of the wilderness of trials and propelled me into my destiny.
It is this knowledge that I want to share with you on this blog so that you can be strengthened with renewed hope in God.
It is this knowledge that will help you find fulfillment in God.
Throughout my wilderness journey, I always likened myself to Job and often called myself “Jobess.”
The Lord was aware of this and decided to teach me a lesson about Himself.
One of the first lessons that the Lord taught me about Himself was through the Book of Job.
He told me that the Book of Job was not about Job, but about Himself— the Lord God Almighty.
I will share this lesson and even more exciting stories with you in my future posts so keep in touch and please feel free to share your thoughts by posting your comments.
Thank you for reading.