The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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I interviewed my dad about how he felt when coming to America for the first time. My mom and my dad were the first in their families to come to America and start a life here so it was a very new and different thing for them. I wanted to know what they were thinking and first impressions of the country since they were immigrants.

Jawahar got into the car and peered out the window as they started driving towards their new home. After a 20 hour plane ride from India, he was exhausted. But, all the feelings of stress and anxiety of leaving his family and starting a new life across the world vanished as soon as they started driving. He looked up in awe. He was a small town village boy entering a whole new modern, futuristic seeming world and he had never seen anything like it.

He looked over to his wife and said, "Madhu look, look at all these nice cars!" 

With each car that passed by, he observed the brand names and types to keep in the back of his mind for later. BMW, Audi, Porsche became tattooed in his head.

"I'm gonna buy one of those cars soon for us" he says. 

He goes back to looking out the window. It wasn't the usual hustle and bustle streets of India. He looked up at all the buildings and couldn't believe how tall they were. The sun rays bounced off the shiny glass windows that were crystal clear. The air smelled different. It smelled clean and fresh. Different but refreshing. Not the same auto pollution as India. No dirt roads or cows roaming around on the streets amongst other animals. There was no piles of trash on the side of the roads. The pollution wasn’t constantly lingering around, the windows of the car weren’t covered in dust, it was unreal. He couldn't stop thinking about his new life here. 

"Madhu, what do you think?" 

His wife was equally in awe, staring out the window and taking everything in.

"Everything's so... new" she says. 

This was going to be an adjustment for both of them. They were about to start brand new lives in a foreign country so different from their own. No friends and families around and just the two of them against the world. The amount of feelings in them were all over the place. But that entire car ride, Jawahar solely observed. He watched and took it all in and didn't let his eyes droop for even a second, regardless of his sleepless travel. 

A Whole New World

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1997
America

I interviewed my dad about how he felt when coming to America for the first time. My mom and my dad were the first in their families to come to America and start a life here so it was a very new and different thing for them. I wanted to know what they were thinking and first impressions of the country since they were immigrants.

Decade: 1990s
Rating:
Recorded by Namratha Konduru on April 27, 2020
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