Youth Voices
Youth Voices
Time with loved ones

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

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Youth Voices is an open publishing and social networking platform for youth. The site is organized by teachers with support from the National Writing Project. Opinions expressed by writers are their own.  See more About Youth VoicesTerms of ServicePrivacy Policy.All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License


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