For a lot of reasons, my Blaxit from the U.S. has been a long time coming. As a young girl growing up in New York City, I would often journal about how my life would be when I grew up. My dream was to become a corporate lawyer and live in New Zealand by the time I was 26. Pretty big dream for a young Black girl who at that time hadn’t even ventured beyond the Tri-State area, let alone to a country 8,939 miles away. Nevertheless, moving to New Zealand was my childhood obsession.
True to my forward-planning nature, I’d walk to the Co-op City library and read books about New Zealand, gobbling up as much information as I could about the country and its people. To this day, I can’t quite remember what sparked my fascination with this small island in Oceania. My best guess is that while spinning the globe in my bedroom to pass the time away, I landed on New Zealand. Either way, those were the plans of young Chrishan.
By the time I turned 26, my life wasn’t that far off from my original plan. I’d just completed grad school with a Master’s Degree in Social Work and was working for the Speaker of the New York State Assembly as a legislative analyst for five years. Not a lawyer exactly but close enough. The biggest change from my original plan wasn’t that I was still in New York, it was that I was pregnant with the first of my two loves—my son Miles.
I poured my heart and soul into being a mom. In order to give my son the absolute best, I took on another job working in television and purchased my first home at 28. I’d begun to lay what I thought was the foundation for designing a new life and quietly said goodbye to any plans for a life abroad. Then came Operation Shock and Awe.