Lately, we are hearing a lot about the migrant crisis in Europe and here in America. It is a hot topic which is played 24/7 on news channels. But no one has ever really tried to understand what it feels like to be in someone’s country esp if your there out of compulsion. There can be many different compulsions, social-economic, political or a job. My migrant journey began with the middle east where I worked for four years, trying to teach Wordsworth to Arab students. Sometimes as difficult as blooming daffodils in Saharan desert, where the only plant capable of sprouting is cactus.
Sometimes I would wonder what on Earth I am doing here, I am right in the middle of a crazy war. The war which is not even mine and no one knows why it is taking place nor the locals nor that NATO soldiers. But it was the trill and adventure which took me to far-flung lands. Walking on the roads adorned by palm trees I would be mesmerized by the sheer brash beauty of the dry and parched landscape. Since I was an outsider that too a woman I had a hard time finding an accommodation despite my education, which was at times humiliating. First, you’re relegated to a third-rate citizen because you are not native, then if you are a woman you became a fourth rate. The only oasis was the grand shopping malls, which became an instant hit with me.
But I was not a burden on the great Arab land instead I was tasked with educating young minds and empowerment of veiled women. That was my small contribution to the land of boudin nomads which I did sincerely.
When I got married I became a migrant again, from the land of nomadic tribes, I suddenly found myself in the land of free. When the rude custom officer at the JFK asked me about documents, I so wished to be sent back to the dirt hole I came from, because I had no wish to be an outsider again or rather go through the grilling interrogation. It’s better to be a queen of squalor than a dirt in a golden palace. Seven months pregnant with crazy hormones and a clueless husband, away from my family and any support, I tried to keep myself warm with the help of Irish whiskey in the frigid cold of Connecticut. The numerous yummy double patty burgers I devoured while making sense out of my perpetual migrant existence.
I knew I am now entrapped in the land of free, without a job, a driving license and a support system I am totally at the mercy of my husband, so I better be a good wife. But I discovered something familiar, the seminary of every young girl, the grand shopping malls which again became comforting. Curious natives at times would compliment me for my exotic complexion or a lovely accent or simply ogle (of course for my beauty as I would have liked it to be) in an attempt to figure out what alien creature I was. At times I would joke that I am from Jupiter, which would bring a sweet smile on their faces.
I realized there are many women who find themselves in a similar predicament, alone and supportless in foreign lands. Some situations are worse if there is domestic abuse or children are involved, its a feeling of complete entrapment. I know many who would like to escape the dreariness of a solitary life in an alien land midst curious natives.I guess every migrant has a story to tell some more dramatic than others, but I always felt my story is more interesting because I had no compulsions as such, I simply enjoyed traveling, got married to the only man who gave me the ring, crossed the great Arabian Sea on one clear night with no albatross around my neck, flanked by dimpled smile hostesses.