Arriving to JFK airport was a relief, I was really concerned about my dogs but as soon as I saw them near the baggage claim barking like there was no tomorrow I felt a lot of peace. Exiting the airport was the big challenge for me, I had never experienced in my life temperatures below 30F and of course I wasn’t dressed for the occasion. The friend I had picked me up and drove to the home I rented at a distance, a small house in New England. It was right on the boarder between Connecticut & Massachusetts. It was a strange feeling every time I went to the store, went to get Chipotle or buy groceries it’d be in a different state.
I remember arriving to the house and letting my dogs out to run around on the huge property. My back yard looked more like a big forest than part of a house. The inside was cozy and had a bath, I always wanted to live in a house with a bath, it was one of the happiest days of my life and there was me and my 2 furry babies ready to start a new life. I had nothing there besides some furniture that was already in the house so I took my first trip to Costco to spend nearly $800 USD on “kitchen appliances”. (I’m sure some Americans can relate to a trip to Costco that gets out of hand)
There’s so many things I love about the USA, I mean, being there has been the dream of my life since I can remember, not gonna lie, I love everything about that country. Simple things like feeling safe driving, texting while I’m walking on the street without looking behind my shoulder wondering if someone would rob me was a luxury I didn’t have in Colombia. I got used to those things pretty quick.
Most people see the United States as a land of freedom, and I want to open up today to you guys and confess I never had a sense of freedom while I was there. As you know, I got someone’s help to rent a house and do a few things I couldn’t do for my own at the time, so most of the basic things over there weren’t even under my name. It was all on him, the car, the house, the power bill, even the goddam internet. I felt like I owed that guy my soul, so the whole time I was living there I felt obligated to be “his”, not in a romantic way or anything similar, but I can tell you it was a toxic relationship that obligated me to invite him to everything, hang out almost every weekend and I never let myself get involved with the community or made a effort to meet anyone else.
Unfortunately I messed up my small paradise by coping with a toxic person for so long, things weren’t fair for both sides and I was too blind to realize I gave this person absolute control over my life. Many times I felt scared and obligated to do things I didn’t want to. Are you obligated to be someone’s friend because they are helping you when no one else is willing to? Maybe, maybe not. But there I was living in my dream place feeling like I wasn’t the owner of my life it felt more like I was some kind of prisoner.
I remember many good times, as everything in life is not only black or white. One of my favorite memories I got is the time my whole family visited. They arrived to the airport in Boston and I picked them up holding an American flag and small blue hats (The ones people use during 4th of July) Colombians can be a bit dramatic when it comes to seeing family after some time apart. During their visit, I took them to my favorite places. Museums, the zoo, the aquarium but they seemed more interested in going shopping, so the perfect plan for them was to go to Walmart or places like Ross to get cool stuff for a small price. Just so you have an idea, they arrived with 2 checked bags and left the USA with 8 (plus they left a bag full of clothes that they couldn’t fit in their luggage).
One of my sweetest memories was the time I took my parents to Chipotle for the first time. The face my dad made after taking his first bite was hilarious. Honestly the way I can describe it is like he just tasted heaven and came back to earth, he kept moaning loudly and repeating how good it was until everyone started looking at us and my mom yelled at him to shut up (All angry Latina mom style). It was embarrassingly awesome, perhaps that’s one of the reasons of why I love that place so much.
That summer with my family there was one of the most beautiful times of my life, we took a road trip to New York, Washington D.C and got to see Niagara Falls, it was all a dream and I remember it all with a grateful heart, how funny is that the happiest moments I ever had there was with my family, those wonderful people I left behind with the hope to get a better life. Sometimes I think I’m more attached to them than I realize.
Life was great, but things changed after August I can say there’s two of me: Before and After August 2017, that’s the time when my whole world went down hill.
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