This year marks 21 years of my living in different countries. When I moved to Germany in 2001, I could never have imagined that I would be living in the US. Over the past seven years since I moved here, my life has changed in many ways, and I am enjoying it a lot. I am very grateful for my experiences on this incredible journey.
In this blog post, I will reflect on my seventh year in the US. This is part of 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, Year 5, and Year 6.
We took our first vacation as a family of three, and it was one of the best experiences in my life. It was the first time I really enjoyed California and its beauty after seven years of living here. I have been on short trips to different cities, but this time it was different. The scenes driving down the pacific coast highway are the most beautiful ones I have seen in my life. We took our time, soaked up the sun, had good food, and bonded as a family. It was very important to me to start this new family tradition with our son, and I loved it.
Missing my people
This year more than ever, I missed my social network that is made up of family and close friends. The great people and connections that I have made have been one of the pillars of my life abroad. Being in the second year of a global pandemic made traveling to see family impossible. We kept waiting for things to get better so our son could finally meet our family and close friends in person. I am confident that we will be reunited with our people very soon.
Experience with Immigration services
There are times when I become very aware of my status as an immigrant. One of those moments is when I need to do anything regarding my visa or passport. This year, I had to extend my US green card and get a new German passport. It was the first time I needed to renew my passport outside Germany, and it went very smoothly. I really appreciated the German efficiency a lot. However, when it came to extending my green card, it was another story. The process is not transparent and long. I am still in the process of getting an extension even after six months. As I say that, I know of people who have been waiting much longer and appreciate my privilege of still having my legal residence status.
Scary Political situations
So far in my relocation journey, I had never seen anything like what happened at the US capitol on Jan 6. Interestingly, I was napping with my almost 3-month-old baby at that point, and when I woke up, I started following the events on TV. I sat there, totally surprised by what was happening. I moved to the US at a very interesting time and political climate. The events of that day were very scary and intensified the underlying concern I had with what was happening politically in the US since I moved here in 2015. Every day I hope for the best and acknowledge that this is a very complicated country with a lot of history.
Access to healthcare
One of my concerns about moving to the US was access to healthcare. I had heard of many horror stories, and then when the pandemic started in 2020, the US was not handling it very well. There were so many things that were not going right, from testing to containing the spread of the virus. When the vaccines became available, I was worried that it would be very complicated to get access. However, to my surprise, when the time came for vaccines to be made available, everything went smoothly. I really appreciate the access to free vaccines that some people don't have.
Celebrating 20 years of living abroad
Thinking back on my journey, I am very proud of where I am today. My experiences living in Germany and the US have shaped who I am today. I have had some difficult times when I could never have imagined the life I have now. I have met great people, visited places, learned a lot of lessons, and become who I was always destined to be. I am very excited for the years ahead, the countries I will have the opportunity to live in, and my experiences.
Final Thoughts - 10 Lessons I learned
In the seventh year of my life in the US, I learned a lot of great lessons, including the following: