If you are a regular reader of my posts, then you probably already know that I am from a little Island in Kenya (which is in Africa). I was born and raised there until I turned 18 and had just graduated from high school. At that time, It was common amongst the students to go abroad and pursue their further studies due to the lack of good universities around. Unlike majority of my friends/classmates who chose to go to the UK, I decided to go to the States…Specifically to Florida. A few reasons that made me choose that destination was that I had family there, the warm weather and mainly because my dad was a former BA graduate of Florida SouthWestern State College , and with him being his protege, I had to follow his steps… (If you’re a daddy’s little girl like me, then I’m sure you can relate).
Now here’s where I would typically talk about ‘cultural shock’ but I won’t because I didn’t have any.. I fitted right in!! Moving away was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life; One that I will always be happy with and will never regret. From the long list of things that I learnt about myself in this journey, today in this post, I would like to share my major finds.
Open minded and confidence.
Moving away may have been sad because I was going to be half a world away from my family, but pursuing my further studies was a necessary step and I knew that I had to be strong and move on to this new journey as this opportunity will not come again. Today, after eight years of being away, I can surely say that this experience opened my mind and made me a more confident person . Being a member of different student groups, working a 9-5 job, taking part in sports – helped me make friends from a diverse sort of background which ultimately changed me into being more open such as making me more comfortable to change in lifestyle, trying new things/ideas, not afraid of approaching people and befriending them etc. Had I not moved, I know for a fact that my perception would have been compromised because I would have not been exposed to a range of diversity and openness that the US had to offer.
Change of lifestyle: Independent and Hardworking
Back home in Mombasa, Kenya, we were used to having house maids doing our laundry, washing the dishes, cleaning the house, basically doing all the chores for us. When I came here, I did not have that luxury. I had to do all my chores myself with no help and you know what… I loved it! I never felt the need to complain about how I wish I had a maid… I had to cook for and clean up after myself, along with doing the rest of my chores. The best part was I had to do all this while being a full time student and keeping up with the extra curricular activities. I had to make sure I stay on track which forced me to get a planner and start planning my weeks ahead of time which hence made me hardworking and independent. I managed to make some good friends who influenced my lifestyle in such a positive way and before you knew it, I was all about going out for brunches and dinners, having sleepovers, organizing surprise parties for friends. At that time I didn’t realize it, but now as I think back, my whole life had changed and I was well settled in my new home. Being home sick was a much lesser issue at this point which made me enjoy life more. (If you want to know How I currently plan my week then you click here )
I found myself
This is how I like to think of it now: I was born and raised until I became a teenager in Mombasa, and then I continued on to becoming an Adult in Orlando, FL- that’s where I learnt what being an adult means. Through struggle and happiness, I became who I am today! What I am today is, first of all, obviously because of my parents and their great influence, secondly it’s a toast to all the experiences I have had in life; good and bad. I made new dreams, new hobbies, new friends, new lifestyle, all in Florida. The Extrovert-Introvert personality that I have going on, was all made in Florida. If I had stayed back in Mombasa, I would have most definitely not been who I am today… So yeah!
I do not want to give out an expression that my long stay in the US was filled with roses and laughter! Oh no it wasn’t, but at the end of the day it was all worth it.
A few tips and advice for those thinking of moving abroad:
- Please do not miss out on this opportunity. You will learn a whole new side of you that you never knew existed
- Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone, you’ll be surprised what you may learn about yourself
- For the ladies- be prepared for a change in lifestyle and with that a new wardrobe.
- Go out and explore the city!!
- LASTLY, HAVE LOTS OF FUN coz the journey is sweeter than the destination!! 🙂
Anyone else moved abroad or to a different city? What are your thoughts on that? Do you mind sharing some of your experiences/tips- Did you face any challenges, would you recommend it to someone or not?
Don’t forget to find me on Instagram @chroniclesofanewbride and tweet me @chroniclesbride . I would love to hear from you- It would make me happy! 😀