My Name Is Mo! Sibyl.
a Nigerian-born, US-educated, Korean-speaking, struggling Intellectual
I moved to the US seven years ago with two checked-in luggage and a ‘Ghana-must-go’ bag as my carry-on. My boxes were mostly filled with my most prized possessions – books. Some books that I would later read or refer to and others that I just cling to for nostalgia's sake. Those books in the latter category are visible on my bookshelf and are a constant reminder of the home I left behind. Some are a nagging reminder that I am always going to be neither here nor there. I left Nigeria in my 20's, and now in my 30's, there’s a lot I have gleaned along the way. If you are an immigrant like me (especially in the US), you know there’s a lot you will HAVE to learn to survive your transition. For me, it was mostly how to be more open-minded, to listen, to empathize, and never forget where you come from.
In being open-minded, I learned a lot from people whose views differed from mine. I learned how not to be forceful about my opinions and that it was OK to agree to disagree. Most of all, I learned how friendship crosses borders. From having an Indian colleague-turned-sister to being adopted by my Korean family and given a Korean name, I have learned how to connect with people whose languages and cultures differ from mine.
By listening, I learned to drown the sound of my self-fixations and look deep into the eyes of others and connect deeply in a bond that ties us together. By listening, I realized that despite where we are all from, we all share the same thing in common – humanity. By listening, I heard (and still keep hearing) stories that have shaped who I am today.