Anglo Adventure

Travel with a sense of humor

Turning Lemons Into Orange Juice


The year's best accessory: A fresh outlook.

“My name is Amanda and I’m an adventureholic.”

I didn’t realize how painful the immigrant process was. If I did, I would have probably stayed soaked in Seattle. Everything is slow. Mounds of paperwork are piling up all over the house. Every day reveals a new stress: getting a bank account, buying a phone, paying a parking ticket. You think your city’s parking signs are hard to read? Try ones in French.

Networking with Newcomers

(Or a support group for anglos)

I went to a networking event for Anglo-newcomers and it felt like a support group. We sat in a circle and discussed our transition troubles while munching on maple cookies and sipping licorice tea.

Apparently, no one posts jobs here in Quebec. You have to shake people down to find out if their company is hiring.

Like I said, being an expat isn’t all Vespa rides and gorging yourself on exotic cuisine. I get lost daily. I still can’t call my relatives because to get Skype I have to have a Canadian credit card and to get a Canadian credit card, I have to have …credit.

It’s a hamster wheel of endless errands. I’m mustering up all my positivity so I don’t kill my poor husband who listened to me whine over and over again about how badly I wanted to Eat, Pray, Live it up. And then he brought me here and on day one, I broke down sobbing because I’m convinced our 140-year-old apartment has ghosts.

To my defense, we didn’t have sheets and it was midnight.

Making Positivity a Priority

He can smile. He just chooses not to.


After New Year’s, I decided to shed negativity the way some people shed pounds. I’d like to think I stop and sniff the roses but I usually trudge past them groaning about how hot it is outside. I’m adept at discovering the one negative in any given situation. It helps when it comes to pointing out the jackass who’s ruining a party or dating your friend but other than that, negativity is just wasted worry.

I don’t want to lose my wonderfully sarcastic sense of humor or my city cynicism, but I think it’s high time I sort the lemons (real problems) from the oranges (problems that can be peeled away and eaten).

It’s easy to think positive in my immersion French class. I don’t have any desire to complain because I’m surrounded by classmates from countries where water is more expensive than gas. Violent, war-torn places you see in sad commercials.

My classmates might not go home for years. They don’t have cars. Their families live one pricey flight away. I assume they’ve seen or experienced truly horrific things. They aren’t here because they want adventure. They’re here because they’ve been forced to escape.

And most of them make it to class each day. Wearing smiles and brushing away the snow.

Now whenever I hit a concrete wall I ask myself: is it a lemon or an orange?


Author: HalmCreative

Provides out-of-the-box copy and travel writing that meets strict deadlines and resource restraints. Worked with T-Mobile, Fodor's Travel, Delta Sky Magazine, Today Is Art Day, Zoka Coffee, and others.

2 thoughts on “Turning Lemons Into Orange Juice

  1. Wow, I feel some of the same things, and all I did was leave New Orleans for New York. Looking forward to reading more about your experience. Bonne chance!

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