When I was 19, I made my first trip to the US on vacation and fell in love. I drove into New York on a chilly June night from JFK and knew this was my home, this is where I was meant to be. I came back every year for vacation after that and eventually I just moved to the US when I was 24.
This week I had to go back to my birth country and I felt like a foreigner in foreign land. I am from the Caribbean, and the language is English, but as I listened to people speak, it sounded like a foreign language to me. I heard the words, but could barely make them out.
I am living in the US for 31 years now, and the only other people I associate with from my birth land are my family, who I see probably twice a year. To say that I am a New Yorker is an understatement. I am so accustomed now to life moving at the speed of light that when I go back to my birth land, everything is moving in slow, slow, slow motion and it drives me up the wall.
People like to say New Yorkers are unfriendly, but I find that every where I go in NY City or upstate, everybody says hi. Customer service is not always the best, but more often than not I find service staff friendly and helpful. Not in my birth land. The attitudes of most of the people dealing with you, especially the women, is so annoying I just can’t explain.
I was there for three days, and although I love my mother and love to see her, I could not get out of the country fast enough. I can’t take the heat and humidity anymore. I never really could, but now with heart failure and pulmonary sarcoidosis, it can be a laborious task to exist there.
I flew back to NY yesterday and I honestly have to say that every time I walk into that JetBlue terminal in JFK, I breathe a sigh of relief and breathe in a gulp of gratitude that the US is now my home.