I lived the life of that popular kid in school, had my girlfriend, my friends, my family, had all those who I cared for around me, my car, my small business, which basically is the Jordanian dream in other words, I had it all. But at some point, you start to realize that it’s not going to last you long in there, everything is hanging by a thread, a really thin one, economy is collapsing, life is being more like exorbitant than it’s expensive. Even though the Jordanian education system is on a really high level, my degree would be kind of equivalent to nothing out of the country, and it won’t really help me much inside of the border, because it’s truly hard to get yourself a decent job unless you had what we called in the street language “the vitamin N” which stood for nepotism. Yes, I had that perfect life, but for a limited amount of time only, it lasts to a certain part of your life when your responsibilities become the most consuming part of your life.
nine months ago, stepping for the first time on the big and scary, the land of the free and the home of the brave, the United States of America. Just another nobody now, no friends, family, job, money… basically a fresh start. We all had this image engraved in our minds for years, it’s that American dream, handed on silver plate right off the plane, “it’s a lot of money, it’s everything you ever dreamed of, it’s just as simple” that’s how we all imagined the states back in Jordan. That’s what the TV showed us, you just have fun and party all week long, there’s really nothing to worry about.
My first day, anxious, more like scared. What do I do now? Being a stereotype, a foreigner in the land of nobody’s home. That feeling when things you did a week ago is nostalgia. A week, I started applying to any job I find, any position, anywhere, I didn’t care I just needed to stand on my feet and start something. I told myself all the time: “I’ll find a job, eventually”,” I’ll stop missing home, my people”, I spent hours walking everyday just to kill time. I watched all of the 10 seasons of friends, twice to be exact. A month, I’m still waiting for my silver plate, my bank account wasn’t going up for sure, I actually dreamt of more, and no it’s not as simple. I was fooled, I felt stupid, that I was being lied to, building a dream that is based on foolish beliefs of a 12 years old, I still knew that I’ll have more opportunities here, but nothing close to what I had in mind.
Two months, I finally found that job, nothing really fancy, I started working in deli in a near town called Hasting-on-Hudson on the Hudson river, I worked over nights, 12-hour shifts, 7 days a week, I did 84 hours a week, which in my opinion was the most a human’s body or even mind can take, I made the “baconeggncheeseonaroll”, I cooked, I cleaned, I restocked, I did it all alone. At some point I got that feeling of a 10 years old kid who just realized that Santa Claus isn’t real, that moment when I realized that nothing is easy to get, that sometimes life doesn’t even give you lemons, it just throws rocks at you. I felt the devastation, I felt tired all the time, sleeping for 5-6 hours trying to deal with my body’s wreckage from the night before, and it just stacked and stacked. I honestly gave up, I even gave up school and decided that that’s it, that’s my life, changed that image of that big house and the nice car to a 40 years old me doing nothing with his life. I felt the loneliness for the most part, spending long hours alone, looking at all those who are having the best of their lives, it felt like it’s going to last forever.
Anxiety feeds on you. I always kept my feelings to myself, I didn’t want to bother others with my stuff, I suppressed all that loneliness and all these feelings for a long while which made me really angry all the time. It somehow changed me. Seven months into my job, when I was at my weakest, that was it! It was that moment when I decided to take all that heavy load, throw it off me, and step on it to reach what I came here for in the first place, I started applying to jobs all over again, I started going to each store and look for the manager and speak to them, until I found it! I got myself a decent job! decided I’m going to school, built my self again, it felt like I slapped myself and just woke up from a nightmare, a really long one. If the states had taught me something, it’s not that the it’s a bad country, or that it’s not what I imagined about that American dream, no! it taught me that everything is achievable if you work hard and look enough for it, it taught me patience, it taught me to take a beating and stand up unbeaten. I see the states as a silver plate, but you’re the one who’s responsible to have your dreams to be on it. At this time I’m writing this, I’m still working on myself, trying to be the man I headed here to be.