Coming to America: Life as an Immigrant from India

Life as an Immigrant from India

I’m Sebastian, and I’m an immigrant from India. I’ve also struggled with the idea of sharing more about my life other than the things that are strictly financial. The challenges I’ve faced throughout my life are another matter, and something very personal. Here is my story.

Growing Up in a Third World Country

I was born in the state of Kerala, India, and am the fourth of five children. India was a third world country when I was growing up, which means we lived similarly to how life would have been in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s in the United States.

The Impact of Illness

How quickly things can change. You hum along, and everything seems to be going your way, and then suddenly your world is turned upside-down. For my family, this turning point happened when I was 9 and my father suffered a stroke.

Trauma but no Treatment

The years between my father’s death and coming to America are a time of sadness for me. My nights were filled with anxiety, and I wouldn’t sleep until the wee hours of the morning when I knew prowlers wouldn’t be out.

Coming to America

After a 2-year application process I was granted a Visa to come to the United States. My older brother and my uncle were already here. I was very lonely my first few years in the US. My mother was far away in India, my brother was busy with his family, and I didn’t know anyone.

You Actually Have a Brain?

My first office job at the City of Portland was through a work study program from Portland State University. When that grant expired, I had to find a job to survive. I took what was available. When you are hungry and need a place to live, you must take what you get.

Moral of the Story

I enjoyed a 30-year career with the City of Portland and retired 6 years ago as a Senior Financial Analyst. I wouldn’t say my life has gone exactly how I wanted it to, but I made the best out of what I had and am proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish.

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