“You made it! Welcome to America! How was your trip?” The voice of my host ringing, with so much excitement, as though I just won a lottery. I was too tired to say a word and not in the mood, to listen to the long instructions of do’s and don’ts relating to my new living condition. I simply nodded my head as I transferred my luggage into my host’s car. The drive to my new living environment, was a long and quiet one.
The neighborhood reminded me of G. R. A. These used to be government residential areas for the elite and affluent, in the city of Port Harcourt, way back in the 90s. There was hardly any pedestrian along the way, except for a bunch of deers randomly running across the road. My host almost damaged her car as she stopped abruptly to avoid hitting one of the deers, before making a right turn into the closest subdivision. I quickly learned that, even animals have a right of passage on the streets. Seriously, I double dare that animal to try that on the streets of Port Harcourt, lol!
I woke up late, the next morning to the smell of hot chocolate and the cold weather.
Honestly, my Nigerian taste buds were desperately, craving for hot akamu, and hot akara balls!! Chaii!!
The time difference greatly impacted my circadian rhythm and I was having a bit of trouble adjusting to my new time zone. Incase you are wondering, it’s almost 6 to 7 hour difference between Nigeria and the United States. After breakfast, I learned that I needed a driver’s license, for easy access around town. “Me? Drive ke?” I whispered silently under my breaths. I could not wrap my mind around the thoughts of driving on the highway. For goodness sake, the highways looked like giants to me while I felt like a grasshopper about to be crushed, lol! Apparently, owning a car in my side of the town was a necessity because the public transportation system had restricted access to most subdivisions.
Thanks to the struggles of parallel parking, lol! I passed my driving test and finally, received my driver’s license.
Yea, I had my fair share of having my name pronounced and spelt the wrong way, and almost everyone asking to know the origin of my accent. I quite agree that it can be annoying but, I made a decision to be proud of my name, accent, and cultural up bringing. Such moments, became my educative opportunity. After all, that which makes you different, makes you beautiful!!
Few months into my new lifestyle, I called my family to give them updates on my living condition in the United States. One of my siblings asked me if I was washing dishes in some restaurants, to pay for my living expenses. I laughed so hard and was curious to know where she got that idea from. Apparently, most people overseas are of the impression that foreigners automatically become dishwashers in a foreign land, lol! Absolutely wrong !
During the week days, I worked as a seamstress with an alteration company, while I braided hair in the weekend. Working as a seamstress in the alteration shop was quite different from my experience in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. It was more affordable for our clienteles to modify already sewn clothes, compared to making customized ones. Very interesting! Initially, I was happy with the fact that I had a job, a car, a roof over my head, and could pay my bills. As time went on, my job satisfaction diminished, and my soul desired more. I pondered “why settle for less when I can have more? After all, this is America, where dreams come through!”
At this point, I had relocated to another county to keep the sanity of my mind. I enrolled in a community college that, was not too far from where I lived, to study psychology. Don’t ask me why I chose psychology, I honestly don’t know, lol! I just thought that it was a good way, to start my academic pursuit.
One sunny afternoon, I arrived at my work place, after attending numerous lectures in the early part of the day. My boss looked worried, and disclosed to me that, there was a rumor going on in the mall where we worked. The manager of the mall had filed for bankruptcy and, our shops were going to be shut down. If this truly happens, our alteration shop would loose its customers and run out of business. This means that, I will have to look for another source of income. Hmm! I thought I had my life figured out, now this?
…to be continued!!