The cat is out of the bag!
Well, sort of… These past two weeks we have been struggling with breaking the news to our friends of our upcoming move. How do you tell your friends and others in your life that in three short months you will be packing up your life and moving to a new country? This question has been nagging at me for a while now, but as our move date gets closer the uneasiness is turning into anxiety. Of course our families have know from the beginning, and knowing our situation, they have been nothing but understanding. But breaking the news to friends is turning out to be a lot more complicated, especially given that most of them do not know of our DACA status. In some cases we are not only having to tell them we are moving to Canada, but also disclosing our DACA status for the first time.
The way I see it, there are tree types of scenarios of how this news is coming out. The first scenario involves close friends that already knew about our DACA status. This was the easiest friend (yes, just one) to tell, since he understood exactly where we were coming from. In fact he had know about our plans to move to Canada from the beginning just like our family, so easy-peasy.
The second scenario is where it starts getting tricky. This scenario involves people who are in our life who we don’t consider our closest friends, and do not know about our status. It includes coworkers and other friends we haven’t known a long time. For this group of people we decided that we wanted to tell them about our move, but not share our status with them. We decided we would tell them something like this:
Us: “Hi friend, we have some news: we are moving to Canada!”
Friend: “What!? This isn’t about Trump, is it?”
Us: “Well, it is something we had been thinking about for a long time, but Trump was the little extra
push we needed to take action.. blah blah blah”.
This seems simple and straight forward, but in practice it has not worked out like that for us. I found that this works O.K. on acquaintances, the less they care about you the less they will press for details. But it hasn’t worked out that well with friends… What we are telling them is not a lie, but somehow it still tastes like one. I think they sense that there is more we are not telling them, that the story doesn’t add up, and they will keep pressing for details. If this happens you will probably end up in a scenario three conversation, if you are feeling brave enough.
This third scenario is for the people you consider your true friends, and won’t accept your bullshit explanation from scenario two. These are the tough ones. So far, I have had only one of these conversations. Last week, I took one of my friends to lunch where I proceeded to tell her over a bowl of Pho that I was moving to Canada in three months. I had planned for this to be a scenario two conversation, so I gave her my well-rehearsed explanation, but she wasn’t having it. Eventually, I told her the whole truth. It worked. Apparently if I was going to leave I had to give her a good reason. I’m glad I told her. I don’t think she understood everything, as she didn’t even know what DACA was, but I think she understood what it would mean if it were to be taken away. In full disclosure, I must admit that I am a chicken. I started with her because she immigrated from Vietnam in her early 20s, so I had reasons to expect that she would receive this revelation better than most. I suspect that telling my old college friend might not be quite as easy. I am really not looking forward to it, but I know I won’t be able to delay it for much longer.
Maybe you think it is silly that I am sweating over this so much. But revealing something that has affected your life in such a fundamental way to someone who has known you for a long time is difficult. This is causing me so much stress that I have considered telling her the “official” (scenario two) story, but then, would we really be friends? Looking back, I wish we hadn’t waited so long to break the news, I think it would have gone much better if we had told them earlier. This experience has given me even more reason to look forward to being Canadian–everything will be simpler, no more “secret identities”, what a relief!
Anyhow, I hope that next week I will be able to report that we are past this nonsense. I’ll keep you posted.