A first day in the U.S. with birthday cake

Sandhiya van den Eikjhof immigrated from Kerala, India to Chicago in 2002 at age 17 when her mother got a job in the United States. (Photo courtesy Sandhiya van den Eijkhof.)
Sandhiya van den Eikjhof immigrated from Kerala, India to Chicago in 2002 at age 17 when her mother got a job in the United States. (Photo courtesy Sandhiya van den Eijkhof.)

Sandhya van den Eijkhof moved to the United States from Kochi, Kerala, India when she was 17. Her mother, who had been working as a nurse in the Middle East, sought work in the United States to bring their family back together again. Van den Eijkhof’s mother got a job in Chicago in 2002 and their family moved to Illinois.

On that first day, van den Eikjof remembers the long, intimidating American immigration process as well as a chocolate cake to commemorate her first birthday in the U.S. Today, van den Eikhof lives with her Dutch husband and their baby daughter in Kirkland.

This story was produced in partnership with the First Days Project.

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