The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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I interviewed my mother about her first trip to united states. She came to the U.S. to complete her master’s degree on electrical power systems. She was very nervous about leaving her family and friends behind, but she knew that was this was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

She couldn’t help herself from peeping out the window. Being this close to the clouds was a surreal experience for her. When the aircraft finally dropped below the clouds, her jaw dropped. She could see almost all of New York city. It was her first time seeing a large city with skyscrapers. As the aircraft got closer to the JFK Airport, the more intriguing the land around her became. She noticed that the roads here were much wider and more developed. This was enough to distract her from her home sickness for a little while, but the dreadful feeling began to creep back out. Suddenly she started to feel butterflies in her stomach, the plane began to gracefully descend to the ground. She had just that realized “there is no going back now”. At this point the home sickness was at its worst. Luckily for her, she was seated between an older Indian man and woman. They could easily read the anxiety off her face.

“are you doing ok?” the man asked.

“not really uncle(in India, it is normal for people to call those significantly older them either uncle or auntie regardless of your relation to them) this my first time away from home and I don’t know what to expect”.

“what brings you to the states?” the older woman asked?

“Auntie, I’m here to finish my engineering education” my mom replied.

Her stress levels immediately began to fall. the familiarity these two people brought to her was comforting. She felt like a little bit of home had come along with her. The older man was really kind and offered to keep her by keeping her company until her pickup arrived. On entering the airport my mom was shocked with the amount of white people around her. Back in India she only thought of white people as foreigners because of their rarity but she now realized that she was the foreigner.

A New Beginning In the Land of Dreams

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August 1989
New York

I interviewed my mother about her first trip to united states. She came to the U.S. to complete her master’s degree on electrical power systems. She was very nervous about leaving her family and friends behind, but she knew that was this was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Decade: 1980s
Rating:
Recorded by Arjun Dulipsingh on June 2, 2020
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