The United of States of America, The land of dream to some, the land of opportunities to others, but a land of lessons thought & holiday spirit for me.

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How did I learn to love the Holiday Season

Submitted: November 25, 2015

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Submitted: November 25, 2015

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As most young Arab boys, my friends always talked about their wish of immigrating to America. They all talked about the opportunities, the wealth, the great looking girls, the open minded society, the freedom! Through their stories, America truly sounded like a land of dream! But I wasn’t interested for some reason in these conversations! Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t one of the many Arab people who looked at America as a devil advocate; I actually had sweet thought and respect for a country that was able to be the center of attention to the whole world, and the dream of almost every young man. I guess I just wasn’t a dreamer like my friends.

Against all odds, the opportunity presented itself for me out of all my friends to go the USA! I turned it down despite the nagging and criticizing from almost everyone I know including my family & friends! Some called me insane; others called me better, while most agreed that I don’t know my own good.

Despite my decision of not leaving Jordan and immigrating to the USA, I found myself on the plane one day heading to the land of someone else dream! And many hours later, I arrived! From the first few moments, I knew this is going to be a tough journey; I didn’t speak enough English to even communicate with the passport control officer, a trained person to deal with non-English speaking travelers. I went out of the airport to find a new life awaiting me!

 

I was only 17 when I arrived to the US, didn’t have much money on me, spoke only little English (not enough to get me by), and didn’t even have my high school degree! First thing came to mind is how would I live? I’m not good at anything that could make me a living! Back home, my sources of money were either my father, or the few bucks I made plying football! Now my father is not here, and apparently football here is not the same football I played in my home country! Within few days of my arrival, a friend of my brother offered me a job chopping down some trees and terming his house garden! I didn’t know how to do it, nor did I have the tools to do it! But I said yes, I will do it! When we arrived to his house, surprise, he had the tools, and he showed me how to use them! 4 days later, I was done with the job, and he paid me $8 per hour to total up to $200! For a kid that has few dollars in his pocket, and nothing to offer the world, $200 was a lot of money! Only then I knew why they call America the land of wealth.

Life moved on, and I had my ups and downs, got knocked down many times, but got up every time, and only then when I realized why America is called the land of opportunities, I don’t think there is a nation anywhere in the world gives you the opportunity to stand up over and over after getting knocked down so many times, like the United States of America does. It was indeed the land of opportunities.

Balancing between school and a full time job was one of the most difficult experiences I lived in the US. Didn’t have much time to make friends, and all I have focused on was my career, my studying and my wife till she left me at the beginning of one August! I worked retail then, so holiday season for me was all about working. Till one year I was promoted, and I didn’t have to work on Thanksgiving or Christmas! I didn’t know how lonely I was till that year. As I was gazing at the walls of my apartment, the door knocks. It was my next door neighbors! A young couple that I don’t even know their names, they asked me about my plans for the holiday, I obviously didn’t have any, besides having a pizza and watching the game! They invited me to celebrate thanksgiving with them and their friends, I accepted. I learned that day that Chris & Jessy do this every year! They invite a stranger to their party, they listen to their story, and they make them feel important and not forgotten! They made me feel that I matter, and that was the greatest gift I have ever received. Jessy & Chris displayed how America is a land of kindness.

 

Tonight, I intended to write about why I love Thanksgiving & Christmas seasons, but found myself writing about some of my experiences in the United State. I guess in a way, my experiences and the lessons learned during my 9 years in the US, have shaped my vision, and gave me the ability to see beyond thanksgiving meal and football game, and beyond the Christmas tree and gifts!

And just like I didn’t choose to go the US, I didn’t choose to leave it; I was forced to leave it due to a clerical error made by my immigration attorney assistant. I lost lots of things leaving the US, including my Son, my friends and a life that was tough yet rewarding, but it is because of the USA, I gained knowledge and true life experience, and most of all, I learned the true meaning of the Holiday Spirit.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Sam

husamalnaji@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 


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