It was a typical, humid June day in Elizabeth, NJ. Rama was working at the local Knights Inn for the past 4 years with her husband and his family. Ever since she had left from India in 1994, she had been desperate to see her family back home, so naturally she was ecstatic for this day.
After her shift had ended around 12 PM, she got ready and left with her husband to go to the John F Kennedy Airport in New York. As expected for a Friday, the highways had been packed to the gills with traffic. After 3 grueling hours, she had finally reached the airport. There, they made their way to Terminal 4, where Air India flights arrive. She was forced to wait an extra 2 hours, due to a mix of confusion on her parents’ part and the long baggage waiting times.
However, her waiting finally paid off. At the end of the arrival area, she saw her parents casually strolling down, taking in every small detail of the airport. Her father was no stranger to travel as he had travelled to many countries in the past, however it was her mother’s first time traveling. Her father wore a kurta, which is an Indian traditional dress akin to a suit, while her mother wore a sari which is a long drape of sorts that is wrapped around the body. Nonetheless, she was glad to finally see them.
On the way back, her parents spoke about their flight, relieved that none of their flights were delayed. They were astonished by how much cleaner America was compared to India, noting that it was drastically cleaner and more organized as well. Having collected their luggage, they left the airport to go back to Elizabeth. Once again, they were stuck in traffic, but this time they were stuck on a bridge that connects Elizabeth and New York, the Goethals Bridge. Her parents were amazed by the scale of the bridge and compared it to the ones found in India. In the distance, they also saw the Statue of Liberty for the first time along the way.
When they finally arrived back at Knights Inn, her parents were surprised at most. Rama had described her poor living conditions over the phone to them, but only when they arrived did they truly understand what she meant. A small room which housed 9 people, was something they had surprisingly never seen before back in India. They thought poorly of this at first, but once they met all of her husband’s family living there, their concerns were laid to rest.
Her parents were eager to sightsee America, which they did. Their journeys took them to Chicago, Pittsburgh, and many other cities and states. But for Rama, seeing them happy was the only thing she wanted.