Dienstag, 22. April 2014

The journey

Californian diary, part 1

When my 100-year-old grandmother's uncle left for the US some time in the late 19th or early 20th century, it was the last time he saw his parents. Letters took weeks, if not months, visits were not really an option.

Today we hop on a plane (ok, one bus, one coach, two planes, and a car) ... and 24 hours later, instead of rainy England we're in sunny California.

Waiting to board the plane in London-Heathrow. A group of loud, bored, fat, white, inconsiderate teenagers walk by. Everything I hate about America. Oh no, we're going to the US... Boarding the plane. Blonde stewardess with red lipstick and a huge smile. Friendly welcome, a wink to Lieschen. She has the same accent as my American friend Mary. Who studied in four universities and speaks five languages. Everything I love about America. Yay, we're going to the US...!

On the plane. Indians to my left, Indians to my right. Germans in the row in front of us. French in the aisle. God-another-seven-hours-on-this-plane conversations with a drunk Scot who hates extremists but doesn't mind Muslims and an Englishman who lives in the States. Discussions about Scottish independence (yes or no), Germans in the UK (us) and Brits in the US (them), South Asian (me) and American (him) spouses. About kids. That grow up somewhere in between.

Landing. Queues. Security. Border agency guys who all have the same strange humour. PhD student from England, originally from Germany, exams coming up in May, right answers, passport stamped, you're in.

Relief. Not that there was any reason, but I'm worried every time. And think of those who didn't make it.

Nina was sent back. Housewife from Romania, going to join husband from Nigeria, no good enough reasons to go back, wrong answers, out.

And that's just us, who can afford a plane ticket, not one of the thousands who try to climb fences, outsmart guards, brave the desert sun...

Dallas. Texas. Yeehaw!

Tired. Late night here, early morning there. Yet another plane. Couple of more hours.

LA. Hello Golden State. Hello US.

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