I still remember the day that I walked out the steps of the airplane. The fresh breeze blowing across my face, the sound of a new language that dropped my tongue down to the ground, and the many diverse people walking around. Suddenly there was strange people guiding us in a foreign direction and I had no understanding of anything that came out of their mouths.
I felt like a baby who was just born that is hearing language for the first time, door after door swinging and opening until we finally reached the entrance of the airport. The feeling that I had that day was a mixed parallel. My brain was thinking differently then before.
I was adding new information while balancing the other information that was in my brain. My brain felt like a green plastic ball full of water that was about to explore. I felt compelled to understand, due to the confusion around me.
Somehow, I managed to stand still and wait for my uncle who was on his way to come and pick us up. My sensory outside my nervous system did not contract to response from nerve impulse stimulation form the outside world, because I was swimming inside my brain thinking about the future and the outcome of coming to a new country. Of course, I was very hopeful to come to US but at the same time, I had many doubts.
My uncle finely came with a smile on his face bigger then a micromole’s smile. He was so happy to see us. He ran across the room faster then a cheetah and embraced us with his warm hugs.
My mom eyes were dropping with tears to finally see her brother and every tear that was dropping give my uncle enough strength and energy to hug us tighter. My uncle Abdi gave me a big hug, and tied me around his arm. His scratchy beard was unfamiliar and tickled my soft skin; it was rough but comfortable.
In the beginning, we stayed at my uncle’s house and during the fall we moved to our own house. I was happy but uncertain about the unwritten future, wondering about how the American sun rises from the east to west. In addition I wondered how there are so many trees planted around with no jobs, almost as if they have no use at all.
In my homeland, people truly value the beauty and meaning of a tree. Before my wonder and my brain went wild, I decided to take a walk down to the store next to our house. I was hoping to discover a tasty snack and experience a newfound flavor.
With my mom’s permission, I headed out into the neighborhood streets. The signs looked different and were written in a language that I could not read. I knew what ‘OK’ and ‘Bathroom’ meant in English but felt sure these would not be the only signs I would encounter. Thankfully, I remembered what my uncle told me ‘before you cross a street make sure you push the button and when it’s green it means walk and when it’s red it means stop’. I kept my promise and did what he told me to do.
I pushed the button and a walk sign appeared and I walked half way through the street when the red sign appeared .I didn’t want a car to hit me so I walked back to the same place I started out from. I thought to myself that I didn’t push the button long enough so I repeated the step my Uncle shared with me this time holding down the button a bit longer. Finally the green light appeared and I was off into the crosswalk once again.
As I was walking across the street the second time the green light turned red and I again went back to my original starting place. Feeling exhausted and frustrated, I decided to use the old style way and cross when ever their were not any cars. I crossed safely and was left with many thoughts.
The crosswalk experience is very much how I felt about learning English. I knew I had a long way to go and that I would perhaps need to keep trying from the same place but if I did not give up I could learn English just as well as anyone else. Perhaps I could even create my own style, incorporating language I had learned growing up in Africa with a new age American lifestyle.
In the middle of the fall, I began to go to school. My thoughts and my anticipation varied from day to day. I knew I wanted to do something special for equality and learn to achieve my goals. Months, weeks, days went by and everyday I made amazing progress . Here I am a student from a different country not only speaking one language but more then one. Impossible at first to do and now the dreamful way I am living.
Today, I feel like a vast landscape with an abundance of colorful flowers growing. These are some of the many memories that I can recall, all the while, I am still looking forward to one day bringing forth the words that will describe them all.
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