After living in Germany and the US for 20 years, I experienced many things that no one warned me about. When people talk about living abroad, there is a lot that they do not share. If we shared more with each other, we would be better prepared for the good, the bad, and the ugly experiences.
In this blog post, I will share ten things I wish someone told me I would experience on my relocation Journey. Check out my other Her Relocation blog posts to learn more about my experiences living in Nigeria, Germany, and the US.
#1: Food will be a very important part of your life
Over the years, food has become a crucial part of my experience. I find that I stay connected to Nigeria and Germany through the food I cook or crave. Over my years in Germany, I seriously sought out stores that sold Nigerian food ingredients. Back in the day, things were very expensive and scarce. However, I knew that eating some foods that I grew up with will give me some joy. Since I moved to the US over six years ago, I have been looking for bread that tastes like the amazing bread that I enjoyed in Germany.
#2: Home is wherever you want it to be
I wish someone would have told me that home is not a physical place or country; it is in the heart. This might sound cliché, but my life got much better when I stopped wishing I could go home. I accepted that I was already home wherever I was. I had been planning my exit from Germany for over seven years, and then I decided to start enjoying my life there. It really helped me to focus on building an amazing life there. My transition to the US was much easier because I knew I could create a home wherever I find myself.
#3: You will be lonely sometimes and learn to enjoy your own company
In my past posts, I shared my experience being away from all my family living in Germany. It was hard in the beginning because I had never been away from my twin sister. I had to learn to enjoy being on my own and find things that make me happy. After spending so many holidays alone, I started creating my own traditions and no longer dread them. Being alone is no longer something that I am afraid of.
#4: Measurement systems differ
This is very particular to living in the US, where the imperial measurement system is used compared to the metric system in all the other countries, I have lived in. I really do not understand why the US uses a different system. Even after six years living here, I still convert the temperature from Fahrenheit to Celsius when I watch the weather. No one told me that measurement norms will complicate my life.
#5: Financial standards differ
When I moved to the US from Germany, I learned the concept of credit score. All my life in Germany and Nigeria, I never had a credit card. I had grown very scared of getting into debt. Then I moved to the US where I had to build my credit and was advised to buy everything with my credit card. It took me a long time to get used to it, and till today, I pay off my credit card very regularly because I do not want any issues.
#6: Your cultural identity will change
How I identify culturally has changed a lot as I have lived in different countries. When I was living in Germany, I felt very Nigerian and identified fully with how I had grown up. Then I moved to the US and noticed that I felt both Nigerian and German. It took me a while to get comfortable with my cultural identity changing. Now I can comfortably say that my food culture is Nigerian and professional culture in German.
#7: You will become stronger and resilient
With all the difficulties that I had faced on my journey, the good that has come from it is that I am stronger. My ability to handle stressful situations has been tested over time. I have learned to bounce back from setbacks and continue with my life. As a result of all my experiences, I am stronger and more resilient.
#8: There will be many amazing people on your journey
Over the past 20 years, I have met a lot of amazing people and built great relationships. The people on my journey have been one of the best parts of my journey. Although my circles are small, they have contributed to my life in many ways.
#9: You will get comfortable with the unknown and get excited by new things
In the past, when I was asked what my weakness was, I said I struggled with change. This is definitely not true anymore. I look forward to doing new things and exploring different opportunities. Moving to new cities and countries taught me to face unknown situations over and over again. Embracing the new with optimism is a skill that I apply in my everyday life.
#10: You will have many amazing memories
As I have reflected on my journey, I am reminded of so many happy moments. There has been a lot of laughter and celebrating our accomplishments. I wish I could have captured all the happy moments. My journey has been amazing and rewarding.
Telling my story on my blogs has enabled me to share my experiences with others. I really hope that through telling my story, I can help people anticipate what they may experience and validate people's experiences. We are all on this journey together.
A Snapshot of My Story