In August 2001, I embarked on an unknown journey and boarded a flight to Germany from Nigeria. So much has happened in the 20 years since then. I have lived in about eight cities in three countries and experienced a lot. Over the month of August, I will be sharing highlights, lowlights, and lessons learned on my twenty-year relocation journey.
In this blog post, I will share ten things I am proud of accomplishing on my relocation Journey so far. Check out my other Her Relocation blog posts to learn more about my experiences living in Nigeria, Germany, and the US.
#1: Being brave and bold to start afresh in new cities and countries
I still remember the points on my journey where I had to begin a new life in a new city or country. There were times when the move came with joy, like when I moved to the US and other times when I was sad, like when I moved to Trier. In every situation, I made it work. I found what I like about my new homes and built the life I wanted there.
#2: Learning new languages, cultures, and traditions
When I moved to Germany from Nigeria, I only knew a few words of German from when I was a child. I took courses and learned enough to study in Germany. Fast forward to when I moved to the US, I wasn't really learning a new language, but I was getting to know a different culture. Now I speak four and a half languages and have learned a lot about multiple cultures. This had made me understand and empathize with people from different backgrounds even more.
#3: Always bouncing back up after setbacks
In the 20 years of living abroad, I have experienced my fair share of challenges and setbacks. The first setback that I faced was being homeless for months in my early years in Germany. Another major setback that I bounced back from was finally getting my first degree after it took much longer than expected. Looking back at those experiences, I overcame them and built a beautiful life.
#4: Becoming financially independent
I still can't believe that I moved to Germany with no money in my pocket. One thing I knew back then was that I wanted to be financially independent and build wealth. Over the past twenty years, I have prioritized my financial wellbeing and still do not compromise on my financial goals for any reason. I know what it is like to be poor to living off twenty Euros a week to where I am today. Achieving financial independence has allowed me to live a good life today.
#5: Creating my close circle of friends and social network
The people that have been in my life over the past 20 years are very dear to me. My circle is small and very precious. We have been through a lot of life experiences together and have built very deep friendships. I am very happy to have had so many amazing people on my journey.
#6: Earning my degree(s) and certificates
It took me nine years of being in Germany to get my bachelor's. In that time, I learned German, went through a university preparation course, changed the course I was studying twice. And then finally, I earned my first degree and started working. Interestingly, I went on to earn my masters which was a better journey for me. Following my Masters degree, I got multiple professional certifications. I was able to apply the lessons I learned from failing for so many years towards my continued learning Journey.
#7: Achieving professional success
Some of the moments when I was surprised about my success had a lot to do with my professional accomplishments. Often, I wonder how I got to work on big projects, partner with senior leaders and work with global teams. I know that I have put in the work, and it is great to see the great results.
#8: Traveling and seeing the World (well, part of it)
Since I was living in Germany and the US, I have had the opportunity to travel to Canada, Italy, India, UK, The Bahamas, Dubai, Singapore, Denmark, Greece, France, Luxemburg, and Switzerland. Thinking back to my childhood, I would never have imagined that I would be in places where I can see more parts of the world. Experiencing different cultures and seeing the beauty has been one of my favorite parts of the past 20 years.
#9: Giving back to others
One of the things that makes me grateful for my journey is that I have enough, have attained success, and can give back to my community. I am a strong believer in the power of giving back and pouring into other people's lives. The opportunities to speak to first-generation immigrant students, coach women, mentor people, and financially support people gives me a lot of satisfaction.
#10: Building our home and having an amazing family
When I moved to Germany in 2001, I could not even imagine what my life would be like 20 years down the road. Today I have my own family with my two favorite boys - my husband and our son. Everything that I experienced has helped me see what really matters and build my amazing life.
Reflecting on my journey has been very therapeutic for me. I have been through a lot and have not yet shared a lot. I am excited to share my story with you. In my next blog post, I will focus on the lowlights of my journey so far.
A Snapshot of My Story