Once in a while, a significant event occurs in a person’s life. It may be a positive experience, a negative one, or both. Such an event may happen only once in a lifetime, or there may be numerous experiences during a person’s life. Only time can show the importance of that experience and its impact on the rest of one’s life. American psychologist Abraham H. Maslow invented the term “peak experience”. I consider it to be the most appropriate description of a significant event that occurs in one’s life. By this term, he meant spiritual and mystical experiences that happen to a person from time to time. It is a sudden feeling of happiness, joy, self-fulfillment, the unity of things, and ultimate truth. One can compare this feeling to standing on a mountain top. Everything seems connected, right, justified, and validated. It is never connected with negativity, doubts, anxiety or fear. Maslow writes that every individual is capable of peak experiences. I had several wonderful experiences in my past as well. I would like to share one of them.
The most significant event in my life is moving to the U.S. I am from Nigeria, and not many people from my country have the opportunity to move abroad in order to study. For some people, a new life abroad can be the ultimate dream. For others, it is a disheartening, but necessary change in life associated with the advancement in career, or, for example, the requirement for a relationship. It does not matter which category you belong to, one thing still remains accurate. Undertaking a new life abroad is an incredibly amazing opportunity, although it requires courage and efficiency. In my case, it is much closer to the ultimate dream than the latter. It is needless to say that my country differs a lot from the United States. Every field of social life has many peculiarities that make my country and the U.S. so different.
It is hard to describe how much time I spent preparing for the trip. I wanted to take every piece of furniture with me, because I knew I would miss it so much. Yet, it was not possible, so I focused on the most essential items. When the preparation came to an end, it was time to say good-bye to everybody. I organized approximately three or four bye-bye parties for my friends and relatives. I still recollect those days with a smile on my face, but with slight sadness in the heart. I can remember every second of the road towards the airport. For instance, I remember we stopped halfway at a roadside café. It may sound funny, but I can feel the taste of food even now. Apparently, when one experiences a significant moment, every single episode sinks into his/her mind. Therefore, when one later hears the same music, tastes the same food, he/she feels nostalgic and re-experiences this moment once more. After a long drive, we arrived at the airport. From that moment, everything seemed like a dream: the check-in, ten-hour flight, the difference in time zones, jet lag, new house, unknown places and sites, different food, and so on.
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No wonder I needed some time to adapt to this new world. Moreover, there is a certain amount of stress and tension in the relationship, when people move abroad. All members in my family faced new challenges, and we needed full support and understanding from each other in order to properly adapt to new circumstances. This is why we established the rule to talk to each other in the evening, when everybody came home. My parents and I discussed the things that had happened during the day and shared new experiences. On the whole, we tried to give each other moral support, which was so important in order to continue arranging our new life.
When I moved to the United States, I left behind strong ties with family and friends, whom I could rely on. I often considered such support as due. Yet, as soon as I moved to a new location, I started to greatly miss all of this. At the same time, I believe that it is important not only to maintain connection with home by telephone and e-mail, but also to build a new relationship. Moving to the U.S. taught me that the faster you get into a situation where you have to meet new people, the sooner you can make new friends, and the faster the people, who can support you, will appear. They will surely give advice and show you the best spots of the new country. Thus, I met new people who formed a close circle of my friends.
In conclusion, it may seem an ordinary episode from a person’s life, as many people travel abroad in order to study, work or live in the other country. Yet, it is an important one for me. For the first time, I crossed the ocean and visited another continent. I made so many friends in the United States. I am still smiling when I reminisce warm days in Nigeria, but I am more excited about the things that lie ahead. In my opinion, the significant experience does not necessarily have to be about a big accomplishment. The truth lies in these little things that constitute life. Moving to the U.S. completely changed my life.
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