Wow! It’s been a while since I published my last blog. Though I have a good excuse, I moved to Canada! Of course, this is not something that happens overnight; it has been in the works for quite a while. But to finally make that move and start a new life in a country far away from my family and friends is a whole different story. As I mentioned to the people around me, it’s an adventure!

When I got offered by the studio to move to Calgary to work at our new game studio, the voice in my head went from “Yeaaaaaaaah and then NOOOoooooo” Because there was the anxiety telling me to stay in my comfort zone. Anxiety for me mostly starts with a contrary intention; What if this happens, what if that happens… Though despite the negative voices, I said, Yes!. I’m moving to Canada! Well, not directly. It took at least another eight months before I was moving, so I had enough time to overthink everything.

What I learned in therapy is that anxiety always finds ways not to make a decision. So by saying yes, I skipped an entire station, and now I could worry about everything else… During therapy, quite a few sessions were dedicated to the big Canada move. I remember It was pretty nerve-wracking around that time. It felt almost like I had to go to the moon, but at the same time, I was super excited. Not many people get the opportunity to move to another country.

I don’t think I would have said “yes” three years ago. Already going to the supermarket was quite often a challenge not too long ago. I spoke with my therapist about this several times and realized more and more how much I transformed over the years.

Several months went past and I kind of went into the mindset. “Ooow it’s gonna be at least three or four more months before the move..” Which my head translated into a long time. Well, NO! Those months flew by. The time I started to realize I was moving was when I slowly began to wind down my apartment one month before departure.

I remember in one of my last therapy sessions, I talked about being so anxious not to make it through customs. Everything was scary, and everything will go wrong… Like a “spiral staircase” going down with no end. Yes, it crossed my mind a few times to bail out and stay in my comfort zone…

The final week I spent in style in a fantastic hotel in my hometown, and a few days before my departure, I went to a mini-retreat. It was only for an afternoon, but it helped me a lot to put everything in perspective. Back in the hotel, there wasn’t much time anymore to be anxious. It was quite a race against the clock to get ready for my flight.

The final night was bizarre; It was the moment I realized I had to say goodbye to my brother and parents. Of course, we’re able to stay in touch due to this beautiful thing called the Internet. But still, it’s different, and giving my brother his house keys back, that was quite an emotional moment.

The next day one of my dear friends dropped me off at the airport, and there I went on a long journey. Going through customs in Amsterdam was an interesting experience and nothing like how I pictured it in my head. I put my backpack on the conveyor belt, aaand it didn’t go through. Instead, someone from security started checking my bag… Why?! Well, I had three laptops in my backpack and a game console. The security person asked me why I had so many devices with me, and I explained that I was moving to Calgary. The person laughed and let me through. Alright, it was time for a 9-hour flight, which ahum flew by.

When I arrived In Toronto, I was quite overwhelmed by the size of the airport and the number of people, it was quite an anxious experience, but at the same time, I was very focused on getting my work permit! The line was long… I had to go to a computer first to get the right entry card. Then I had to wait at a customs office for approval of my work permit. That was relatively easy because the company I work for made sure I had the right paperwork, but the waiting time was long. The first time, they spelled my name wrong, so they had to re-enter everything in the system again. I wasn’t too worried about it because my work permit was already approved. So I actually had a bit of time to rest.

Finally!! After waiting for 2 hours, I got my work permit — time to catch the plane to Calgary. Easy enough, well, not really… I had to go through security again, and with only 30 min on the clock to get to the gate, that was quite a nerve-wracking moment. Especially when I finally went through customs, and I forgot to put my devices in the crate, instead I left them all in my backpack. So I had to go back and go through security again. It sounds like I really don’t like security, but the truth is I’m happy they’re there to keep us all safe. I was more annoyed with myself. Once I made it successfully through security, I started walking towards the gate. It was quite a long walk, and I didn’t exactly know where the gate was. Till there was an announcement, “Final call for flight to Calgary…” I sprinted to the gate in the direction I thought it was, and arrived at the final minute.

Even though it was an anxious experience, it was a great feeling to be finally on my way to Calgary! The “spiral staircase” that only could go down, now went up. Something my brain never saw as a possibility.

Jeroen van Werkhoven Twitter | Instagram

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *