Recently, I have been reflecting on how my perspective on many aspects of life has changed after living in multiple countries. I count myself very fortunate to be on this journey.
In this blog post, I will share ten things that I see differently since I started living in Nigeria, Germany and the US.
#1: Home is wherever you want it to be
Especially when I moved to the US, I started asking myself the question, "where is my home?". This was a question that took me a while to figure out. At the end of my deliberations, I concluded that it's perfectly fine to have multiple places where you feel at home. I now see Germany, Nigeria and the US as my home. It's a little complicated, but I have accepted it. There are many things that I appreciate from the countries I have lived in.
#2: Being curious to learn about new cultures
There are so many great things we can learn from different cultures around us. I am more interested and curious about learning about the different traditions, norms and customs of the people I meet. I find the world is rich in culture and there is so much for us all to learn. When people share their traditions around food and celebrations, I am very intrigued. We are very fortunate to live in such a global world where we have exposure to so many different people.
#3: Accepting that there is so much to learn
As I go through my journey, I am learning that it is ok to not know everything or have things figured out. I always thought I had to have a plan for everything and think through all situations. Moving to a new country brings a lot of unexpected things and situations you will not be prepared for. Accepting that I am on a learning journey has changed the way I view new experiences and challenges.
#4: Accepting and celebrating differences in people
Almost every day over the past 18 years, I have had the opportunity of meeting people from different backgrounds. I have learned to appreciate the differences in the people I meet. When I see people with similar experiences as mine, I find it surprising. Learning to celebrate the differences of people around me has enriched my life. Being open and receptive to all the great things that people have to offer is something I aspire to continue doing.
#5: Having empathy for people
When I watch the news or hear conversations about people who are working to make a home and be successful in a new country, I have a lot of empathy for them. Although I have been fortunate on my journey, I never want to be that person that looks down on other people's path to a better life.
#6: Celebrating the little things that remind you of home
A few weeks ago, we found a store that sold a special type of fruit that we grew up eating in Nigeria. I should add that we discovered it in a city in California. It was very unexpected. We bought some, enjoyed it and made sure we sent pictures to our family. Thinking back on this little thing that made us so happy reminded me of the fact that the little things that remind me of home are very special. Don't get me started on the day I found soft pretzel knots in a local bakery very far away from Germany.
#7: Helping others find a community
One thing that is important to me today is to help people around me feel like they belong. Being able to find or build a community is an important part of feeling at home in a new country. Whenever I'm able to provide someone with some connection, I take the opportunity to support them. I strongly believe that we can all support each other on our journey to be at home wherever we find ourselves.
#8: Appreciating the experiences
Reflecting on my journey, I know that all the experiences were worth it. Often when you think about the negative experiences you don't really appreciate them. Well, I didn't enjoy them, when I was going through them but now I see the value of those experiences. For example, struggling and learning to live in Germany, made me very resilient. Now fast forward to living in the US, I am able to apply a lot of the lessons I learned and appreciate the amazing things happening in my life.
#9: Valuing the people
As I have moved to different cities and countries, I have been blessed to meet amazing people. I value the time that I get to spend with people on my journey. Although I am not in contact with everyone I would love to be connected to, I hold on very fondly to the great memories. I know for a fact that different people have made my journey worthwhile and exciting.
#10: Realizing that we all have unique and beautiful stories
When I hear people's stories or backgrounds and how they got to be where they are, I am always amazed. We all have fascinating stories. Sharing my story has helped other people share more with me. This has been the most rewarding part of my 18-year relocation Journey
Check out my other posts on my life in Nigeria, Germany and the US in the Her Relocation Posts.