On my 21-year journey of living abroad, I have had some fun experiences. The experiences have made my journey very enjoyable and taught me many valuable lessons. When I moved to Germany in 2001, I had no idea what my journey would be like.
In this blog post, I will share ten things that have made me smile on my Relocation journey so far. Check out my other "Her Relocation" blog posts about my experiences living in Nigeria, Germany, and the US.
#1: Meeting people from new countries and backgrounds
Moving and living in different countries has helped me meet many great people. Interestingly, after all these years, I still remember many people I met on my journey. My favorite part of meeting new people is learning about them and their cultural backgrounds. There is so much beauty in the different cultures that exist in the world. I am still learning a lot even after this long.
#2: Discovering new food
Growing up in Nigeria, I grew to appreciate great food. We enjoyed local Nigerian foods and some international food that made its way via expats living in Nigeria. Moving to Germany, I could enjoy some German food, taste authentic Italian food, learn about different varieties of African dishes and discover Turkish food for the first time. And then, years later, when I moved to the US, I tasted Mexican food and lots of seafood for the first time.
#3: Watching International sports - World cup and The Olympics
Every World Cup and Olympics brings a lot of excitement. There is something magical about seeing the countries I care about come together and cheer their teams on. I still remember watching the World Cup after moving to Germany and supporting the Nigerian Super Eagles team. Then as years passed, I started supporting Nigeria and Germany at international sports events. This year will be different as Nigeria did not qualify for the World Cup.
#4: Learning new languages
Speaking new languages helped me integrate into the new countries that I was living in. Life changed for the best when I could communicate with people around me. It took years for me to understand jokes in German. Once I did, I understood the culture a little bit better.
#5: Traveling to new countries and cities
Over the last 21 years, I have had the opportunity to visit some amazingly beautiful cities and countries. Living in Germany, many places were accessible via train, which was very convenient. Since I moved to the US, I have been fortunate to visit new countries for work, go on road trips and explore more than I did on the earlier part of my journey.
#6: Sharing my experiences with others
My blog started with the desire to share my story and build a community of women who support one another on their journey. It has been great to hear other people's stories of living abroad and the lessons they have learned. I celebrate every woman who has forged her path in different countries, overcome challenges, and is thriving.
#7: Being Inspired to do new things
One of the great things that living abroad has provided me is it has expanded my perspective. There are so many things that I never imagined experiencing and would not have if I had stayed in Nigeria. I enjoy seeing people doing extraordinary things that I aspire to do. I now know I can accomplish greatness and work towards it.
#8: Sharing a part of my journey with my twin sister
When my sister moved to Germany to be with me in 2003, I was over the moon. Life felt different; I had my person who would be my companion on this journey. We created a lot of great memories together and went through a lot. I can still remember the moment when we had a lot of fun and laughter. I feel very fortunate to have been able to experience a part of my journey with my twin sister.
#9: Discovering myself
I moved back to Germany when I was fifteen and still had much growing up. It has been fun to discover who I am and the identities that make me who I am. I feel very fortunate to get to know a lot about myself. Living abroad has given me a lot of time to shape my likes and dislikes.
#10: Teaching our son aspects of our culture
Lately, I have been thinking about the unique opportunity that my husband and I have as we raise our son in multiple cultures. It has been fun to start teaching him aspects of our culture and also that of the country where we live. I am looking forward to seeing the mix of beautiful cultures that he will grow up knowing.
Being an immigrant definitely has its ups and downs. I am very grateful for all the great experiences that have brought me joy. Celebrating these moments makes me remember them like they were yesterday.