In this episode, I interview Marzie Aghdaee. She moved from Tehran, the capital city of Iran, to Toronto in 2015. She shares her story, and the challenges that being a perfectionist can bring to the immigration journey.
Why did you decide to migrate?
“I felt like I had been living in a box and wanted to know how is life outside the box. […] I have always been curious to see how was life overseas. The social political climate of Iran was a factor, was definitely a determining factor. At some point, I felt I did not have control over anything even in my personal life. I felt everything around me was giving me this impression that I was nothing. they treated as if I was nothing. And that was deteriorating; the sense of nothingness! I was furious!”
How did you feel when you arrived?
“I was nervous as hell. I was too afraid of making silly mistakes. I was (and still a little bit am) a perfectionist. I wanted to be perfect. I wanted to be in the know! And I WAS in the know when I was back home. I knew everything and everyone. But here, when I moved to Toronto I felt like I was back to Square One. and it was not a great feeling of course. It was a terrible mix of embarrassment, fear and helplessness. Which did not sound like me! At all. And it took me down. drastically . It depressed me.”
What did you do to build relationships?
“I think I didn’t take my social life seriusly. I was at work or at school, so I did not spend much time making friends. This is somehting that I know now is important so I’m going to work on that. “
What is the hardest part of immigration?
“Well, immigration is challenging. For me, It is like a giant book that I took from the book shelf and I started reading a few yrs ago and I am enjoying it over all. But It is not easy in any sense. I cannot turn a page unless I solve a problem. And some days, in some pages I am given baby problems, but sometimes uh-uh! It is no joke! There is financial difficulty, there is unemployment, under-employment, precarious minimum wage job, being home-sick, there is depression… you name it, I have been through everything!”
What is the best thing about migrating?
“The best part is becoming a better problem-solver. It’s not easy, it’s costly. After leaving all your belongings behind, I went through emotional detachment. I felt I couldn’t be attached to anything anymore.”
What is the best thing about Toronto?
“Seeing the world in Toronto. You see food, you see languages, colours, customs, faces, you know? It’s the world in one big city.”
What advice would you give to newcomers?
“Just loosen up and have no expectations. Allow yourself to explore, make mistakes. I read somewhere that ‘anything worth doing, is worth doing poorly,’ allow yourself to make mistakes.”
Marzie Aghdaee moved from Iran to Canada in October 2015, just before her 20th birthday. She’s an experienced Research Professional with a demonstrated ability in Program Evaluation Design (Qual & Quant methods), Data Collection, and Analysis and Reporting, with a particular interest in Employment and Settlement service for marginalized communities and international development & sustainability.
She has been working to empower youth in developing countries. She recently returned from her latest visit to Peru.
Learn more about Marzie