Monday, October 09, 2006

Chapters from an immigrant's life, Part I, The departure

As I was growing up, I wanted to be a dentist. Don’t ask me how and why, it just a teenager dream. Wanted to go to great America and flourish there. Be the great one. Make difference in the world.

So the time has come. I am a young 17 ½ years old grown up man. Ready for challenges. “please dad, send me to the states, I won’t disappoint you” I begged my father. I remember going to the US embassy in abu dhabi. My dad was wearing his uniform. We applied for the visa and the time was for the interview is approaching.

Then I heard my name. My heart started pounding as if I won the greatest prize. “good morning major” the counselor greeted my dad. We went inside, and suddenly the interview started to look like a chit chat between the counselor and my dad about do you know flan and flan..etc.

I received my stamped passport and headed back to al-ain. The travel time from abu-dhabi to al-ain is about 2 hours (160 km). My dad was talking to me about his wasaya. Make us proud son. Don’t commit sins. Don’t do this and that….But my brain was thinking about America. The women and the alcohol and the nightclubs..I was so eager to get there. Pretty amazing what to expect from a teenager…but it’s the norm back then.

My mom was happy, and sad in the same time. I didn’t understand her mixed up feelings, but now I do. She was feeding me like there was no tomorrow. “mom..it’s ok..I’ll manage” I kept telling her. But she started to cook all the meals I loved. Now I understand.

Then my father got me the ticket to ohio. My flight was a week before my friends (two). Mom went crazy. “why are you doing this, you could have waited for another week so he can go with his friends” she kept screaming. I didn’t understand her fears. My brain was still thinking of the whiskey and women. Dad insisted that I go alone. I didn’t understand why..but now I do.

On the day of the flight, I remember that there was what looked like a funeral in my house. Little sisters crying..brothers crying..Mom screaming, yet, I can remember the sharp “feelingless” looks in my dad’s eyes. I didn’t understand why..but now I do.

As I was walking away, actually being dragged by my father, to the car. Mom was sitting on the ground in front of our home in al-ain crying. Sisters around her crying too. Then suddenly, I shed a couple of tears that I didn’t even know why..but now I do.

My dad drove me to the airport, and I managed to look back and take one final look at mom. God I love her. During the 2 hour drive to abu-dhabi airport, my dad didn’t say one word. Not one word. I can still see the sharp look at his eyes. I started wondering why didn’t he cry too. I mean everyone was crying, except him. Heck, I even cried for no reason, but he didn’t. I didn’t know why…but now I do.

My dad shook my hand and said “allah ma3ak” and turned his back on me and kept going. I kept looking hoping to see him look back, and he never did. Again, I didn’t know why..but now I do.

I went through security in the airport, and straight to the duty free shop. I made sure that my dad wasn’t watching me, then bought 2 cartons of Marlboro light and a bottle of whiskey. The funny thing is I wasn’t a drinker..but again..my mind was crazy enough to buy it for the heck of it. I do have a crazy mind, and I do recon that. I didn’t know why..but I really know now.

The flight was long. I stopped in London, then straight to NY. From NY, I missed my flight so I stayed in a hotel somewhere close to Laguardia. I called home from the hotel, and my mom was crying now more because of me missing the flight. Dad took the phone and told me what to do. I could hear mom saying “dayya3t elwalad allah ysam7ak” which translates to “we have lost our child because of you”.

I was still ok…”feelingless”, with two cartons of Marlboro light and a bottle of whiskey. I took the bottle out, and decided to take a sip. I am a grown man now, so I need to act like onw. It was one sip…and yucky, threw away the bottle. I couldn’t understand how people drink that…but now I do.

The next morning, I arrived at Cleveland airport. Straight to the hotel, then called my contact there, who happened to be one of my dad’s friends children studying in the states.

The next few days, I started feeling the homesickness. It wasn’t bad…but my brain was busy planning for my conquer of america’s women and nightclubs.

To be continued

35 comments:

Summer said...

very nice read!! i cannot wait for part two!
i just wish that you went to a warmer state..Ohio sucks!

Bo3Bo3 said...

loool summer...yeah it does suck. yet I was stuck in this land for 17 years. But now I moved south. just few miles south to indiana loool

Summer said...

still bad weather..i always wonder why didn't we move somewhere else other than the Chicago area..but i guess the place grows on you! when are you going to post part two..this is better than Ramadan Series on TV!!

Islamic ChoCoHoLic said...

miratak bti2ra this blog ? hehe

yala wayn BART 2 :P

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