In January 2004, I boarded my first greyhound bus ride to Buffalo New York, one year after I moved from Nigeria to America. I had barely adjusted to living in Yonkers New York, and here I was in Buffalo, in the middle of winter, starting a new life.

And unlike in Westeros, I didn’t have to wait 7 years. Winter was already here, and in Buffalo, it was bitter cold and lasted 6 months, not a few hours! – Sigh D&D! Sorry non-Game of Thrones fans, just go watch the show already!

Fast forward several years later, after pharmacy school and residency training, I had moved out and back to Buffalo, and finally out again in 2016. This cumulative 13+ year journey was a rollercoaster experience, to say the least. Filled with ups and downs, successes and failures, perseverance, determination, fear, laughter, tears, love, relationships, and lifelong friendships.

Graduation Day Celebrations with the Class of 2016, with my colleague and dear friend Adi.
End of the school year happy hour with friends and colleagues in December 2015

I returned to Buffalo, in September 2019, (en route to Spain) to reconnect with old friends and colleagues. I reflected on my past experience and now my immediate future, as I yet again step into exploring uncharted territory.

I expect this experience to be filled with a similar rollercoaster ride; but this time, I am older, wiser, and more equipped to ride the waves. 

Buffalo, NY September 2019, with my Buffalo family

As I boarded my plane out of Buffalo, NY, I was filled with gratitude. I was grateful for the opportunity to reconnect with old colleagues, amend wounded relationships, and strengthen friendship/ family bonds. I am grateful that some of these friendships have stood the test of time, as I look forward to many more to come.

Finally, I am grateful for the person I am today and how my time in Buffalo, for better or for worse, played an important role in shaping this very moment.

Now to a more important question, What’s Really West of Westeros, Arya?

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