So I was going through my Instagram feed (now you know I get some blog inspiration from Instagram) and saw a post on how an acquaintance of mine wanted to relocate and probably start life all over again. She just wanted to leave the hustle and bustle of Lagos to experience something new, I guess. And I thought about writing a post to share a little more of my experience with you. I have earlier written about the difference between living on two continents Lagos girl, Oklahoma living and sharing the news about relocating with my family New beginnings….
Over a year ago, I packed two and a half boxes of my personal belongings alongside my family and relocated to another continent to
continue life from where I stopped in Nigeria scratch that, to start life all over again. As days rolled into weeks, I started picking clues on our to adapt; some I loved, some I hated and others I had to cope with. In all, I am going to share what it feels like to leave home and everything behind to start life afresh in a new land.
GIVING IT ALL
I earlier mentioned I brought only two and a half luggage of all I own, Yes I actually did. I gave out three-quarter of all my personal belongings (I had a wardrobe full of clothes). Some I was so attached to, some I just didn’t care about, but I had to give most of my clothes away if I didn’t want to pay for extra luggage at the airport. Need I say I still see pictures of these clothes and I miss wearing them.
FLIGHTS AND THE COST
I took one of the cheapest flight from Lagos (LOS) to Oklahoma (OKC), (there is no shame in my game) and I spent 2 days on the road including stopovers instead of the normal 12-14 hours flight time. The flight still cost $1,117 or 402,120 naira and it was the longest journey I have embarked on till date.
STARTING ALL OVER AGAIN
On getting here I had to start all over again. I had a job back home, but over here I started searching for a job. From different interviews to the repeated drug test and physical assessment test to disguised marketing jobs inform of digital strategist and the list goes on. At first, I was more concerned about getting an office job or something similar to what I was doing in Nigeria, but after staying at home for more than a month with bills piling up, I didn’t care anymore more. I finally got a job after 2 months and started paying bills.
PLUGGING INTO COMMUNITIES
I still find it hard plugging into communities and having friends. I normally would just sit by myself and not interact with people. And even if I talk, I am so protective of my personal space. I try to make more friends by connecting with Africans who live in Oklahoma City and all but it’s not so easy for me.
THE NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
I became the new girl with the accent. This didn’t stop me from talking anyway because my job involves me talking to a whole lot of people every day. I dress different, my hair, skin, and accent also look different. For the umpteenth time, I have been asked how I am light skin and African like I can explain it.
LIFESTYLE AND CULTURE
I wrote about the lifestyle and culture in my previous post and I am still writing about it again. There is a sharp difference between living in Nigeria and the US. The Americans are generally over friendly; they just meet with you and tell you all about their life and background and would want you to reciprocate. The grocery stores, convenience stores, and fast food chains are open 24 hours/ 7 days. By the way, don’t go to the restaurant without tipping the waiter; it is voluntary but 100% necessary.
DICTION AND ACCENT
Having lived in the US for over a year, I can say my accent hasn’t changed much. Anytime I talk I better be sure to remember that people are going to ask where I am from and I boldly reply Africa; since most people don’t know there is a country called Nigeria. I also noticed that when I type or write, I am lost in between writing in British English or American English *it is a struggle*.
THE WRONG PICTURE
Over and over again the wrong picture is painted and we are made to believe all sorts of tales. Plainly let me just tell you the grass is not greener on the other side, it is greener where you nurture, tend and water it. Life isn’t easy over here but what you put into it is what you get.
NOTHING IS FREE
I can categorically say the only thing I don’t pay for is the air that I breath *laughing*. Sincerely I pay for everything you can think of and the list is endless. And for every mistake, you are going to pay, maybe not dearly but you will pay. In this country, I can categorically say I learned to know the value of money; I almost shed a tear the day my uncle gave me $50.00, which was so unexpected.
One last thing is America is BIG. It is not just big but gigantic. Having to travel 3 and more hours just within a state ( not because there is traffic but just a straight road) is a story for another day.
Do you currently live in the US, come visiting every now and then or hear tales about the US, let’s take the discussion to the comment section.