One thing has been true for my time in the US; the time has gone by very quickly. I cannot believe that I have lived here for six years already. When I relocated from Germany in 2015, I had no idea how my life would change in only six years. So much happened in this year that I could not have imagined or planned for. The theme for my sixth year in the US was " even in the midst of chaos, there is hope for beauty to be created."
In this blog post, I will reflect on my sixth year in the US. This continues my "Her Relocation" series, where I talk about my experience living in multiple countries over the past 20 years. Check out my previous posts about My Life in the US - Year 1, Year 2&3, Year 4, and Year 5.
Hoping for a change in the government
Politics has never impacted my life directly as it has since I moved to the US. In my sixth year, I spent a lot of time hoping for the previous administration's end. Waiting for the results of the election was a very emotional time for me. I could not imagine reliving the past six years. Thankfully, I can relax a little and not worry about what policies will be made that will affect me as an immigrant in the US. Another good side effect is that I have learned so much about the American government over the past years.
Surviving a pandemic
In February of 2020, I traveled to Kirkland in Washington state, the epicenter of the virus outbreak. At that time, we had no idea how bad things would be. Initially, we thought things would go back to normal within a few months. Sadly, that was not the case. Seeing how long it is taking to get the virus under control is something that I could never have imagined. The pandemic's most significant impact on my life has been that I have not been able to see family in the UK and Nigeria.
Experiencing Racial injustice
The racial injustice uprising in the US over the past year has opened my eyes to many things around race and inequity. Interestingly, I have never been more aware of my race than I am living here in the US. My black experience has been different because of my bi-cultural background. I realized that in the past, I hardly shared my experience being a black woman in technology. This past year, I was given the opportunity to share my story, and I took it. Being vocal about the good and the bad experiences I have had living in Germany and the US was very liberating.
Especially with everything going on in the US this past year, I have been reminiscing about my life in Germany. While I watched the news and had conversations with my friends who still lived in Germany, I found myself missing the little things that made my years in Germany enjoyable. Do not get me wrong, I know that I am where I need to be. However, there are some little things that I wish can be part of my life here. I have been thinking about beautiful things like shopping in Aldi, visiting the Christmas Market, eating delicious bread, and being able to walk around. I guess there will always be a part of me that longs for some of the things I got to experience in Germany.
Having a Baby in a foreign land
When you move to a new country, some experiences impact your life in a major way. For me, having a baby in the US was an incredibly special experience. The norms and practices are quite different from Nigeria or Germany. My biggest fear was that the healthcare system would fail me because I had heard the horror stories from other people who had their babies here. Thankfully, that was not my experience. Everything went smoothly, and we have a healthy baby boy.
Enjoying my home
It is strange, but I feel like the past year helped me build more roots in the US. I just realized that I have not traveled to any other country since May 2018. We had a big trip planned to see family in 2020 but that did not happen. Without being able to travel, I found myself deepening my roots where I live today. Realizing that this is where I will be for most of the time helped me feel more settled. I have been having a nice time while I wait to be able to travel again.
Final Thoughts - 10 Lessons I learned