I moved to the US twenty years ago on this date (31st December). There was something symbolic about starting a new chapter in my life in a new year. Also tickets were cheaper on 31st December. I arrived in Tucson, AZ with 2 suitcases, a secret and a hope. I was excited and anxious – leaving everything and everyone I knew behind to come to a city where I knew no one.
The local Indian group on campus was supposed to send a car to pick me up. No one came. I waited for a while and then hailed a cab. I stayed at the Four Points Sheraton near University of Arizona campus. The next morning I woke up and had breakfast at Bruegger’s Bagels and started a new life.
I made life-long friends. Like the kinds who know all your secrets, and whose kids play with your kids now. Friends who were there for me in hard times, and who cheered all my big and small wins. And who believed in me when I decided to run for office (In fact, my first fundraiser was hosted by my adviser at Univ of AZ).
America allowed me not only to live my true life, but it gave me love, family and now a place where we’ve put down our roots. It gave me a job I love. It gave me freedom to say my mind, engage with my community and government and the ability to run for office as a openly gay woman of color in a town that’s 93% white.
Tomorrow is my inauguration as commissioner of finance. Once again I start a new chapter. Looking forward to more wondrous adventures in the land of opportunity.