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How do migrants decide to move to Corpus Christi? It took one Indian family a few stops before finding 'home'

'All the other places chose us, but we chose Corpus Christi,' said physical therapist Bhakti Sooda.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — We tell lots of stories about immigrants in the US overcoming challenges -- starting businesses and creating a new life.

But rarely do we explain their journey to find a new place to call home.

Out of all the cities in the US, how -- and why -- does someone choose Corpus Christi?

For one local Southeast Asian small business owner, she ultimately found "home" in the last place she looked.  

"All the other places chose us, but we chose Corpus Christi," said physical therapist and India native Bhakti Sooda.

Sooda's journey to the US started far from South Texas.

"And, of course, I saw the Statue of Liberty, and I asked my aunt, 'The Statue of Liberty is green?' And she said, 'Yeah, it has always been green.' I said, "I thought it was made of marble," Sooda said with a laugh.

Having grown up in bustling Mumbai, New York City's fast pace wasn't anything new.

"I thought, 'Oh, wow! America is just like Mumbai.' And then I ended up in Biloxi, (Mississippi) and was like, 'No, it's not really like Mumbai -- it's like India. It's different in different areas."

Sooda eventually graduated college in India and returned to the US for good, this time as a married woman.

Their careers took she and her husband to Michigan, New York, and then North Texas -- Sooda a physical therapist, her husband a doctor.

"So the whole time that we were in all these places, we always wanted to move to Florida, because we wanted to be by the beach," she said.

But Florida wouldn't give her a license.

“And then once we moved to Texas, we didn't want to move out of Texas," she said.

So that made Corpus Christi a nice fit.

The Asian and Asian-American communities in Corpus Christi gave Sooda an opportunity to find community in one of its Hindu temples.

Here she can bond with other Hindus and Indians – and, now, Indian Americans.

While she said the other parts of the country where her family lived were always hospitable and friendly, everything clicked on another level in Corpus Christi.

"I think I got more of a community feel here in Corpus, because once you go to the temple, you're able to, you know, practice your faith,” Sooda said. “And that gives you some solidarity with the other Indian community."

She and her husband have a combined practice -- TrueCare Medical on Saratoga -- which allows them both to work in the same space.

It's one of the things that definitely makes Corpus Christi home for the Soodas.

"This is where I'm going to retire and stay,” she said. “My kids always tell me that, what if we move somewhere else, I think 'y'all can go wherever y'all want. This is my home. I'm going to stay here. I'll come visit you guys."

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