I landed in Boise, Idaho on August 5, 2008. I had a different view of the United States at that time. I mean, I used to actually visualize America differently.
When I first breathed the U.S. air, I started feeling how my expectations and the reality here deviated. I found everything here systematic and governed by definite rules and regulations. I used to think that when I came to the U.S. I would have lots of money, a nice job, education, a nice house, a nice car, my personal computer with Internet, a high standard of living and good food. These are the features that I dreamed about in America. Some of these came true for me as the U.S. government provided at first a good house to rent and food stamps for buying food.
A man’s life is a journey that must be travelled, however bad the roads and accommodations become. Everyone has their own way to adjust to ongoing changes in their environment and surroundings. There are some areas where we need to adapt our character with respect to our surroundings. However, for sustaining and adapting, we need to compromise ourselves with what the surroundings demand from us.
My dad, on his first day here asked me, “Is this our own house?” My answer was yes for couple of days, because he was frustrated and it was my obligation to convince my parents that they would be fine, otherwise there was no way that they would be happy here. It was me who forced my family to migrate to the United States. My parents are here because of me. Otherwise they would have stayed back in our homeland.
After 23 days in Boise, I started my first job at Micron Technology, Inc. I was so worried about standing and working for 12 hours at a time. My legs and body used to complain to me about the pain I had. I had never worked like that in my life. Back in my country I was a tutor and a student. I used to earn money with knowledge and not with physical strength. This was one of the hardest parts and toughest challenges for me. I had no way to complain about my problems with my parents because they were physically, mentally and emotionally lost in their surroundings. They were expecting a lot from me. Language and cultural barriers really killed me, and all of us in our family. English isn't our first language however, I did speak and write basic English and that helped me a lot.
Now, making all the household plans fell on me. It was my first time to hold this position. I had never lead my family while in our homeland. My dad was responsible for everything we had. Without another option I started making a master plan for my family. The times were so frustrating since the U.S. was suffering an economic recession. Every business was heading south. Americans were crying for their survival. In this crush of a time it was very hard for us to find jobs; the main barrier for us was language and education. Being poor with this poor financial outlook, my family stayed home with no hope of finding jobs. The time was approaching for us to stand on our own earnings. Government was supposed to help us for first eight months, but by then we needed to make our own platform to stand on, otherwise we would be on the street.
One day I went to talk with my agency, the IRC (International Rescue Committee), about finding a job for the rest of my family members, but there was no way that they would help me in such a situation of unemployment. Then I started working as an interpreter for my community in offices, hospitals, agencies and many other places. I took an interpreter training class. From this job I added some more dollars to my account.
Time passed, and my parents finally got a job. The miserable part was that they needed to move to another state for the job. Unwillingly, we were compelled to accept that, as there was no other options. So my dad and brother moved to Boardman, Oregon for work and my mom and I stayed at home. After a couple of months my mom also left for Oregon. I stayed alone at home for two months. By then I was victimized by layoffs at Micron. Then I got another job at the U.S. Bank plaza downtown. I used to work at night and interpret at day. I was so worried being laid off from Micron. I think that I was cheap for Micron and my mind turned toward study so that I could make myself more valuable, so that small layoffs would not interfere with my life in the future.
I was admitted to Boise State University for the Fall 2009 semester and started to go to school. I even quit my job at U.S. Bank for my studies. Now I am supported by federal assistance for paying my bills for study. I need to make my progress satisfactory for the government to continue my Pell grant. This is where I am today. Hopefully there are some positive rays of hope and sooner or later I will be able to make my dream come true.