The hardest part about immigrating to a new country is trying to find your place

This is an anonymous story collected from the public as part of the Human Archive Project by Nicola Anthony

I immigrated to the UK 20 years ago, it was supposed to be a 2-year stint. however, I found love and I married my love had children. My reasons for moving over to the UK initially was to establish myself as a professional and to get experience to take back home. Once my wife and I married my priorities changed very quickly to ones where we were interested in building a family to build a support structure here in the UK as well as building a life for us that extended beyond that of ours.

The hardest part about immigrating to a new country is trying to find your place, What I mean by that is as a kid I grew up very differently in South Africa and Botswana. We experienced a lot of freedoms that we don't necessary have here in the UK. I grew up in an environment where we were completely safe and we were free to roam the countryside to any point we wanted to, we also grew up in the towns that were very small with very little ambition; the only thing we really knew was what the town was known for.

Moving to the UK broadened my horizons immensely, all of the sudden I started to understand what is possible, what are those things that people are neglecting that I so craved, the things that people didn't necessarily find value in I found very valuable and strangely my life became very full . I have no regrets for immigrating to a different country, yes, I wish I could do the same back home however I've grown so much as a person and so much as an international expatriate that I find it very hard to go back home and resume my life there.

I guess one of my only regrets from being based in the UK is that I'd like to have my children travel as much as I did when I was young, however that won't be possible and the reason for that is that I want them to have a really stable upbringing making lifelong friends, unfortunately while I was growing up because we moved a lot as my parents were expats, this meant that we never created lifelong relationships with any of the friends that we knew in all of those regions . This is quite a lonely existence where you become so self-reliant and so self-observational in becoming a person that becomes likeable very quickly without people really knowing the real you.