Sitting here in Jeff’s old room in his hometown of Virginia, I have a myriad of thoughts dancing around in my head. I guess, in a way, I’m just trying to grasp what I saw and experienced in the past three days, which constituted one of the more exciting and eventful times of my life. I have so many stories to tell and observations to spell out; however I will share what I think were the ones with the most impact.
When we first landed in JFK airport in New York, I was extremely tired, jet-lagged and very agitated. I was a bit worried about the immigration procedures that I had to go through at the airport as this was my first visit to the US. I approached the counter and told the officer that I was a new immigrant while pointing to all the paper work that I was carrying around. He looked at me and said with a smile "Congratulations." That was an ice-breaker and extremely welcoming. I never thought I would be greeted in this very amicable manner. That was my very first introduction to the United States and what a pleasant one it was.
For the past three days I have been experiencing a very strong feeling of Déjà vu. Everything around me looked and felt very familiar. In a way I felt as if I was re-experiencing some sort of a past life. Of course the only explanation for this is the one and only Hollywood. I have seen so many American movies in my lifetime, something that made this country and its people very close to my heart. It was freaky in a way but a great example of the power of the imagery.
While sitting in a diner in Times Square, enjoying a New York burger and thinking about how far I was from home, an image popped up on the TV inside the restaurant that managed to ruin my bliss at that time. It was a picture of the one and only Zarqawai. I couldn’t believe it. There I was in New York, so far from all the craziness in my part of the globe, but still haunted by this bloodthirsty lunatic who happens to hold the same type of passport I carry.
At that moment, I just wanted to hide, especially after hearing the infamous sentence: "the Jordanian-born terrorist." But instead of hiding, I chose to continue eating my burger pretending that I was just another New Yorker on my lunch-break. It worked; no one around me noticed my deep sense of shame.
A piece of advice to any one visiting New York: Don’t miss the Blue Man Group show. It was — in every sense — out of this world. It was a clever two-hour performance of fantasy, music and artistic genius. Without a doubt, it was the best performance I have seen in the entire 28 years of my life; simply breathtaking!
That is it for now. More thoughts are to come, as time allows.
Hello from Glendora, California
Just wanted to say “HEY” from our neck of the woods…Keep up the good writing.
welcome to America.
Never be ashamed of who you are or where you come from.
I can’t believe it’s your FIRST visit to the US! This is going to be fun, to re-experience my home country from your Jordanian perspective. And hear how all you ex-pat Jordanians commiserate with her.
Iyas, that was a funny story!
Hope you’ll enjoy your stay in Virginia. If you were an Arab guy coming to the US as an immigrant, or a visitor, things would have been different. You would have a hard time in the airport, just like i did every single time i’ve been here, but I don’t blame americans for doing that.
Enjoy the weather in Virginia!!
Let me share my thoughts when I first landed in JFK.
I arrived on SuperBowl night 2001. I had a couple of hours layover in JFK before catching my flight to SLC. Things at the counters went smooth but I noticed the airport wasn’t as “crazy” as I imagined. I didn’t expect this from NYC but had no idea what was going on. I relocated to another terminal for my next flight. Searching for my gate I asked three or four airport custodians, NONE of whom spoke a word of English. I began to doubt that I was in North America. I arrived at my gate and it was completely empty aside from a middle-aged couple reading the newspapers. There was absolutely no chair to sit on as I realized later, all were taken to a near by corner where a bigger TV set was. The couple was Israeli and very decent to deal with. They explained to me what was going on. It was my first experience with football. The take-off was delayed 45 minutes until they got all the TV sets up and running on the airplane. During the flight, almost everyone was watching the game and I was flipping through the available channels. I ended up watching TLC and an interesting show about a complicated delivery. Later, I realized that’s the main theme on TLC: complicated deliveries. Now I fon’t like football or TLC and I feel the need to learn Spanish.
Glad you had a good experience (sans Al Zarqawi’s image which you have to get used to). Eager to hear about more experiences with Wal-Mart, phone customer support, telemarketers, Thanksgiving shopping, and Super Bowl XL in 2006.
wow, Virgina 🙂 I lived there Jeff, as far as i can remember, we lived in furfax county or something like that, and in a town called churches fall. That was like 18 years back
Miss you guys 🙂
What is your final destination Natasha? Is it Newyork ?