I met Emmanuelle Andaya via Facebook (through our respective projects about [being] migrant women) and though we have never done so face to face, I knew that I’d be happy to get to know her as Nola: “a woman, wife, daughter, sister, friend, Filipina, a closet-entrepreneur/designer, a dreamer, ideas-person, a doer-in-training”.
Could you tell us a bit about your project, Migrenterpreneur?
For the past months, I have been working on a start-up that will support and promote entrepreneurship among migrant women in Europe. It’s called Migrentrepreneur WomanTM. It’s about reaching out to migrant women like me, to build a network and together we can all find ourselves/our place and make our marks in our new homes.
Could you describe where you are at this very moment?
At a road-bend of finding my old and reinventing a new self. Revisiting my old dreams and ideas in order to create a new career path and to continue living life with wonder and passion.
Tell us about your journey (this particular ‘intimate migration’)…
My “intimate migration” has led me from Southeast Asia to the south of France.
I came to Italy to study local development in 2008. In 2010, aside from a diploma, I also got a new ring. 😉 He found a job here and I followed him early this year. It’s been 9 months and it still feels like I have just arrived.
What would you say were/are the challenges you face(d)?
Language, finding a job, making friends, maintaining self-esteem, being independent in a system that I had no clue about and in a language that I could hardly speak.
What surprised you (about this move; about where you are now)?
While I dreamt about the Mediterranean lifestyle, I never thought about the realities that came with it. (See above.) I was surprised that I found it difficult to adjust. I always thought myself to be a citizen of the world!
What do you miss about your life from where you lived before; and what can you be/do where you live now that you couldn’t before?
I miss being the boss. (ahaha!) I miss having jobs created for me. I miss my friends, driving, being financially independent, affordable luxuries (i.e massages), not worrying about household chores… the list goes on.
On the other hand, I now have the time to pursue my dreams of entrepreneurship, maybe even design bags (which I have always wanted to do!)… Maybe even write a book… I have the freedom to reinvent myself.
How have things changed for you (if at all?) during this process?
It was like regressing. I had to learn new things. I had to be humble. I had to push myself not to give up and to overcome the obstacles I was facing, but at the same time I had to learn to go easy on myself and accept that I needed the time to adjust.
A question you would like to ask (me/ other ‘intimate migrants’)?
How has your journey been? What tips do you have to make the adjustment easier?
Thank you so much, Nola*