After 22 years of living abroad, my life has changed significantly. I still remember the day in August 2001 when I boarded a plane from Lagos, Nigeria, and headed to Frankfurt, Germany, to start my new life. Lately, there has been a lot of buzz on social media about people relocating to new countries. It has reminded me of all the experiences that started in Nigeria, then Germany, and where I am today in the US.
In this blog post, I will share the five things that have helped me succeed on my journey so far. Check out my other Her Relocation blog posts about my experiences living in Nigeria, Germany, and the US.
#1: Staying hopeful
In the last 22 years, I have experienced many ups and downs. Living in New counties and cities has tested me in different ways. I have had to choose to keep a positive outlook on life. It has not always been easy, but I keep reminding myself how great my life is and how far I have come. My positivity attracts the right people and opportunities in my life. Maintaining my smile is something that I have fought very hard for.
#2: Having my people and support community
The people I have encountered on this journey have played a significant role. I wish I could go back and tell every single person how much they contributed to my life. Something that has surprised me is how I met new people and built strong bonds with them. I have been fortunate to have people in my life who have been supporters, cheerleaders, companions, teachers, and friends. A friend once talked about how, as immigrants, we meet friends who are our chosen family.
#3: Learning and adjusting to my new countries
Moving to Germany, knowing a few words of German and not knowing much about the culture, I knew it was pivotal for me to learn about my new home. Years later, when I moved to the US, thankfully, there was no language barrier. However, I had to learn about the professional environment here, which differed from Germany. It was clear that what had made me successful in Germany differed from what I needed to have a successful career in the US. There is still a lot to learn, and I look forward to all the new experiences.
#4: Evolving in my cultural identity
My cultural identity has been a topic I have thought about a lot, given how I grew up. I was born in Germany, grew up in Nigeria, moved back to Germany, and then moved to the US. There has always been a question about my cultural identity. I have learned that I get to evolve my identity by picking and choosing elements that I enjoy in the places I live. Nigeria and Germany have influenced my professional and personal identities in significant ways.
#5: Enjoying my journey
The first seven years of living in Germany were challenging. I never thought that 22 years later, I would be enjoying my life this much. There were very intentional choices that I needed to make to be happy. I know there will always be trying times, but time has shown that I am resilient and have what it takes to go through those times. In addition, I believe that the happy times will outweigh the difficult times.
I am very privileged to have lived in so many beautiful cities, met incredible people, experienced many different things, and gotten to travel to beautiful countries in 22 years. It's an interesting question when people ask what's next for me. I am slowly getting the itch to live in another country soon. Keep following my story to see what I get up to next.