Travel | TRAVEL DIARIES

Mama, look! I made it to America!

Growing up in Nigeria, for so many people, America was the place to aspire to. It was almost a life ambition, “When I grow up, I want to go to America.” America always seemed so out of reach, like something reserved for only the most privileged of them all.

The American Visa Struggles

It was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for you to obtain the all mighty American visa stamp. How did you do it? Is your father a famous politician or do you know anybody in the government house? American visa embassies were almost the equivalent of slaughter houses, dashed hopes and a source of disappointment. To put it in context, even churches had special programs that involved fasting and praying for the success of people who had appointments there.

American visa embassies were almost the equivalent of slaughter houses, dashed hopes and a source of disappointment.

The American Craze

So, what happened when you got back? 

For those who were lucky enough to finally break the visa barriers and visit the place at the time, when you came back (if you actually did.) you were treated as pristine, almost like you can now walk on water. It didn’t help that everyone always seemed to come with a foreign accent too, just to you know, rub it in properly. You became a prayer point and people might physically touch you to tap into the anointing.

At that level of American craze, I am surprised a royal chieftaincy title was not specially crafted for those who just got back from America or Amrika, as we will call it. 

Overexposed Media

The thing about America is, thanks to the media, you are already very exposed to the culture, music, people and way of life before you even step foot there. Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Disney, just to mention a few. Your whole childhood was probably built around movies like, “Coming to America” Lion King” and other Disney movies. It slowly became an aspirational thing to do and something to tick off your list of life’s many achievements.

With America, thanks to the media, you are already very exposed to the culture, music, people and way of life before you even step foot there.

Mama, I finally made it.

It took me twenty-something years to finally go to America. At that time, the craze had dramatically reduced, it had become a very normal and conventional thing to do and nobody really thought anything special about it anymore. Can we call this progress?

My first shot at America was the beautiful, San Antonio, Texas, one of the Spanish parts of the country. As you would imagine, I was very excited to finally go to the place of my childhood dreams. It was happening! Mama, I finally made it.

Mama, we made it! (San Antonio, Texas)
Mama, we made it!
Culture Shock

It was a totally different place entirely but one thing definitely stood out. The friendliness! Do not talk to strangers! (Nigeria) vs A stranger is a friend you haven’t met yet. (America). Americans are extremely friendly people and quite trusting too. That smile they greet you with when your eyes meet? Priceless. Sometimes it seems fake and forced but who cares? I’ll choose a fake smile over an intentional eye-roll any day.

In America, a stranger is a friend you haven’t met yet.

Remembering the first time

I will always remember my first American experience. I surely didn’t feel as excited as I would have felt had it happened in the heat of my childhood. It was no longer a big deal as times had changed and it had become more and more mainstream. America came back down from the high horse we had placed it on. A lot of things had happened (9/11, gun incidents, the great recession, etc) and that only made it glaring that America, like everywhere else, has it’s own flaws and wasn’t the perfect country we all grew up thinking it was.

America came back down from the high horse we had placed it on.

A foreign land is always so admirable and a new destination is always in sight but sometimes, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, it is green where you water it.

Water your side…

new image for signature

What was your first American experience like? I’d love to know in the comments.

Have you subscribed yet? No? Today is the perfect day to do just that.

[wysija_form id=”4″]

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

16 Comments

  1. You think we wouldn’t notice that you have not posted in two weeks? HOW DARE YOU BLANK US LIKE THAT? HOW DARE YOU?!! This blog is no longer yours or based on your personal feelings you have to think about us too!!! HOW I HAVE MISSED YOU!!! And this article, this article is EVERYTHING, ICECREAM, CHOCOLATE AND MORE!

    1. Hahaha! Girl. I have no words for you.
      I did send out an email to my lovely subscribers explaining the reason for my absence. Did you not get it? Plus, it was only a one-week hiatus, stop making me look bad. Lol and thanks Wemimo for ALWAYS lighting up my comment section. Thanks, thanks and thanks again!

  2. This is not only from nigeria it was the same as china. it was very difficult get american visa. but it has become easier now. i first went to america when i was 13 in california and it was great, now live in canada and go there often. i like this post.

    1. Really? Who would have thought that was the case in China as well. Happy it as gotten easier now. I live in Canada too so *fistbump*. Thanks Zhen!

  3. This has got to be my favourite post on theufuoma.com. I just love how to write and tell your travel stories. I discovered your blog on blackswhoblog last week and I have been binge-reading since then. I am African American so hearing your perspective is so incredibel. Love it.