Coming to America

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Imagine being just four years old, without your parents and moving to the other side of the world, where glares are more familiar than greetings.

Born in 1996 at Father Cloonan Memorial Hospital in Imo State, Nigeria, my father always spoiled me with the latest toys. I played basketball, and ran track until my legs gave out.

My mother was an important piece of my life. She always remembered to remind me that she carried me for nine months in her stomach when she was in college. She uses that to remind me of how special I am toward her.

She couldn’t imagine a day with out her son by her side. But when my father passed away in 2001, my mother cried for weeks, not just because she had lost the love of her life but she was about to lose her son as well.

After his death, my family thought it would be best if I moved to the United States where I could be provided with a greater education, living environment and eventually get a job.

My mother didn’t want to let me go but eventually when she saw all of the opportunities in allowing me to move to the U.S., she made the decision in a heartbeat.

Soon, I was put on a plane with my father’s brother and sisters, leaving my mother who was not able to leave the country behind.

Flying through the air all I saw through the window were white, puffy clouds surrounding the big, white airplane on its way to my new home.

When I landed in Los Angeles I immediately felt out of place.

Everything about the city was different; the way people dressed, the food and even the accent.

When I started elementary school, my classmates mocked my deep accent since I was a foreign student.

But I was born in a country that speaks English as a fourth language.

As I assimilated to the culture and my accent began to disappear, life became easier and I started to get comfortable with my surroundings.

I blended in so well people would question if I was actually Nigerian because they expected an accent out of me.

I became comfortable in group settings, talking to people, and the English classes I took became much easier for me. I started making friends that enjoyed my company and accepted me for who I am.

The friends I made in middle school and high school found me interesting. They thought it was “cool” to know a foreign student and what my culture was like.

I’ve gone through so many tough moments growing up that have made me who I am today.

But I’ve made Nigerian friends, who were one of the best things to happen to me because we have similar stories, which makes it easier to relate to them whenever we have conversations.

I embraced where I came from and made lasting friends that understood my situation.

Looking back at the young boy who did not fully understand who he was and where to fit in, I appreciate the challenges and the experiences I went through.

I traveled to America not knowing I had a purpose but discovered it was to become the best version of myself and maximize my potential.

English was a language that I didn’t know in the beginning but it’s become one that I’ve grown to admire.

Who would have thought a young boy from Nigeria would now be majoring in journalism and writing for Warrior Life Magazine and The Union Newspaper.

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