Courtesy of Jane Mukami
I am celebrating 22 years since I came to the US from Kenya
Coming to the US was never my first choice.
I wanted to go to Canada, got accepted to a college but was declined a Visa. I was sad and depressed for about a month then decided to try the US.
This time the process was easier and 2 weeks after getting the Visa I left Kenya headed to college in Georgia. I was 20.
22 years later what do I like about the US?
1. Process – there is a process for EVERYTHING and everyone must follow the same process for most things – no bribing
2. Availability of jobs – If you’re focused, not lazy or proud and ready to do whatever it takes, you will thrive.
My first job was a cashier at Wendy’s (a fast food joint) making minimum wage despite the fact that in Kenya I had a great job in technology.
I worked 2 to 3 jobs sometimes 4 in the summer to save enough money to pay tuition $5000 to $6500 per semester – 500k to 650k and for this I graduated without any student debt.
Shout out to Suzanne Bennet. A friendly 75-year-old lady whom I met while volunteering at a homeless shelter in 2002.
We became friends and her family’s foundation paid my tuition for a semester in 2003. When I called to thank her I found out she’d passed on a few days earlier. I never got to say thank you or goodbye
3. Great services & conveniences that make life easier.
4. You can succeed as long as you work hard.
1. Cold weather – 22 yrs later I still hate winter. That’s why I’m writing this from warm sunny Florida #locationfreedom
2. Racism – something I knew nothing about until I came here
3. It takes a long time to settle in – learning the culture, credit system, how things work etc. About 2 years.
4. Exposure to a lot more things that can lead you astray – drugs, gambling and such
5. Low quality of life – a lot of time spent working #paperchasing
not enough time to live life or enjoy time with loved ones. 2 weeks vacation time
that part I really hated when I worked in corporate America coming from 4 weeks vacation time In Kenya
Not really a con but you have to work hard to have a good life.
My definition of a good life (for me) is having freedom – financial freedom, time freedom and location freedom – the ability to work from anywhere in the world and living life on my terms.
In 2014 I made a partial move to Kenya and spent time between the 2 countries.
In 2017 I decided to remain in the US because it works for me. I like it here. But Kenya is still home #KenyanDamu
There is no perfect country, they all have pros and cons.
What really matters is who you are (your character), the choices you make, knowing what you want, a great attitude, staying focused and committed to your goals & dreams