The most difficult thing you lose through immigration is
I lost 5 years of spending time with my dad.
I grew up in Yemen, but my dad went to New York when I was 7. I stayed in Sanaa – a city full of love. But I felt abandoned for the time we were separate. For a long time I was living with my mom. When I would ask about him, I would get no answers from her. I would think, where have you been all that time, Dad?
In 7th grade, I finally immigrated. I was terrified. Do you know what it’s like to hear a parent talking and not know what they’re saying? When I first came here, it was awkward because we hadn’t seen each other for a long time and didn’t know what to say.
When I went to the Deli for that first time, I didn’t even realize that he owned the deli! After a few weeks, we began to loosen up. It took a few trips to Chuck-E Cheese, but mainly time.
Not knowing my dad wasn’t my only problem. It took me a few years to be able to understand English. By then, I was a freshman and able to work in my dad’s deli in Flatbush, Brooklyn. I would work as a cashier while my dad sat next to you and said, “That’s the price, don’t forget it.”
Something that made it worth it was becoming a new person today – I’m a senior about to graduate. I always knew I would make it.
Photo by human_wildlife