My Journey to America

By: Amrit Manjari Shrestha

My story begins on October 11th, 2011. A date that will forever be imprinted in my mind. It was a day of sadness filled with guilty joy. I had the opportunity to move thousands of miles away from my home in Kathmandu Nepal to start a new life in the well-known nation known as
the “land of opportunities,” the United States of America, to improve my well-being and lay the groundwork for my children’s future.

After landing in America, my family spent a month with family in Virginia to slowly adapt to the western world. Immediately, my first concern went toward my kids. Education is key in our household. We consider it to be the fundamental foundation of one’s life. Hence, although we had just touched ground in Virginia, we admitted our two kids into the public school in
Virginia. It is critical that I mention that this sudden move not only had impacted my husband and I but also our children. At such a young age, Prajit (10) and Pragya (7) had to leave their friends and family and adjust to a new environment they had only seen on cartoon channels.
They attended a building they didn’t know about without their parents and had to trust strangers out of the blue. Although it was heartbreaking, I could not be prouder of them now that they are both college students at Rutgers University.

We had no understanding of American soil and its people. Slowly but surely, we moved to our current residence, New Jersey. Due to the fact that there were no Nepalese around, I’d say this was a much harder move than the previous one. It finally hit me that our journey had just begun. It was hard adapting, so we were compelled to adjust to the customs and people of our neighborhood. Eventually, Dr. Tulsi Maharjan was introduced to me through my mama. Due to Tulsi Dai’s positive affirmations, I was inspired to keep pushing. I continued this journey and along the way I met several other mentors, one being Dil Krishna Shrestha. He helped me with
not only my children’s school admission but overall, my family in this rollercoaster of emotions. Tulsi Dai advised me to engage in something that would always keep me occupied; So, I began community service. First, I started off at a nearby church, where I was surrounded by older people who encouraged me to find a job. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared, mainly due to my inability to speak in English. Although I was familiar with the fundamentals, having a conversation with someone whose first language was English terrified me. However, I was aware that I needed to face this fear. As a result, I applied for a job at Dunkin’ and was fortunate to receive a call inviting me to work there. But I held back because I was afraid. After that, a friend of mine eventually coaxed me out of this fear and encouraged me to apply for a job at a nearby departmental store. I got the job and was a cashier there.

This was only the start. I made new friends and used my network to meet more people from here. I then applied for a position at a summer school. I took training classes to improve my skills and accept this acceptance, which allowed me to handle school paperwork. Since I’ve been working at the departmental store for almost 11 years and continued a career in the school field. I’ve moved up the ladder, and not once have I received any criticism about my work ethic; rather, I’ve had the chance to improve my resume.

My story hasn’t ended. I have yet to reach the top of Everest: my full potential. To the future immigrants or in general to people out there: life is hard, and you must struggle. In fact, I encourage my kids to struggle because without it they won’t know what they are capable of and how high they can reach. Life is not easy, and you cannot just sit at home expecting everything in your hands. You must work for it. At the age of forty, I continued to
strive for the best for myself as well as for my family. I moved to a nation where I had no ability to understand its culture or speak its language. Yet I was able to push through severe obstacles and be where I am today. Hence, my most important piece of advice to anyone who is doubting themselves is to stop. Regardless of age, social status, beliefs, or background, continue to push yourself and set goals for your life. Achieve them one at a time and face future obstacles when they come, do not sit and worry about their arrival.

Published by trm7510

The Asha Project – works in collaboration with local and international partner organizations as well as individuals and governments, to provide HOPE and OPPORTUNITIES for the people of Nepal. We thrive at the intersection of Passion, purpose and Promise.

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