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Life Can Be Funny—Voices of Adult Learners


2014

First Week in the United States of America 
by Khawla Madhat

Charlottesville Adult Education ESL

In March 31st, my family and I got on the University bus. We thought this bus went to Kroger and we didn't have much English when we first got here. I tried to tell the woman driving bus where I needed to go.

She told us, "Okay. Get off and go to bus number 7."

We got off of the University bus. Then we went to the bus station. We then go on bus number 7 and went straight to Kroger.

We went inside Kroger, and we shopped. We came out with three backpacks. My oldest son had one, my youngest had one, and so did I. We bought so many things.

<>p> We then go on bus number 5, thinking it went downtown. Bus number 5 went to Fashion Square Mall, and after that, it went to WalMart. When we sat on the bus and looked out the window, everything on the bus looked new and nothing like bus number 7. The bus went back to the mall and to WalMart in a circle three times.

We were hungry, especially my little one. When I looked into his eyes, it looked like he wanted to cry. He thought we were lost. The bus driver kept looking back at us. My oldest son wanted to tell him where we wanted to go. He showed him a card with our address on it to get back home. The bus driver told him that we were on the wrong bus.

He told us, "Come here. This is the bus you need to be on."

We asked him how much the bus cost. Het old us, "Wait here."

He gouth us two tickets to get back home: one for me and the other for my oldest son. The bus driver told the other bus driver of bus number 7 that we needed to go to a certain address and, of course he showed him our address. The driver of bus number 7 dropped us off at the University Corner. After that, we were tired, and we were finally home! We had dinner, then went to sleep until the next day!


The Naughty Child 

by Necla Ozsari

Charlottesville Adult Education ESL

When I was a child, my friend Gulendam and I were always very good friends. We wanted to play football. The boys would not let us play with them because we were girls.

I said, “I want to play football.”

They said, “No, you can’t play football because you are girls.”

I stole the football away from the boys and ran and ran down the field with it. They chased me and Gulendan, but we held onto the ball. We won the game.

Now, I’m laughing, and I miss my childhood and Gulendam because we grew up together.


Life Can Be Fun 

by Neyda Corres

Fluvanna GED

When I was a child I lived in the country of Venezuela in an eastern province called Puerto La Cruz in the company of my mother, grandparents, a brother, a sister, three uncles, two aunts, the dog, and some chickens (in fact it was a very grand family.) We lived in a big and beautiful house, built in extensive grounds in which there was an aquifer well, many plants and a huge tree in the center of the courtyard. We hung a swing on the tree. There was also a gap which was really a place to share and have fun—healthy and brotherly with our friends.

They are fun and wonderful memories.


Funny Chinese New Year 

by Qimin Sun

Charlottesville Adult Education ESL

Hi, everybody! I'm a Chinese boy. Wow! I think to write a composition is the most difficult thing. But I should try to do well. Right! So what we will talk about today is a holiday, one of the most important festivals in China -- the Chinese New Year. Let us learn about the origin of the New Year by looking at a Chinese custom.

About the origin of the Chinese New Year there is a legend A long time ago,k there was a kind of wild animal living in the mountains. The beast's name was "Nian." When spring was coming, Nian would walk out of the mountain and come to the village and eat the insides of village people! The people were very afraid and used a variety of methods to try to expel Nian. Finally, the weakness of Nian was found -- NOISE! Since then, on the day of the New Year, people all want to light firecrackers. They hope the New Year will bring peace. This story is very interesting.

It is the custom of celebrating the Chinese New Year for people to wear new clothes, light firecrackers, and eat dumplings! AFter the New Year, people visit their elders to send blessings. The elders then give children luck money, which represents blessings also.

This is the Chinese New Year.


My Life at Nine Years Old 

by Ann Hance

Plugged In VA

When I was nine I had a lot of funny moments. The one that comes in mind was when I was at a m-and-pa store named Kings Gap Country Store in Pennsylvania located across from Pine Grove Furnace State Park.

My mother and I entered the store and walked past the candy aisle as my mother kept walking. I decided to stop to look at the candy to see if they had anything new. I got done looking at the candy and as I looked up I realized my mother was not around me in front of the store. I heard her voice coming from the back where the deli was located. I saw my mother talking to a lady that was behind the counter asking what would my mother like to get from the meat case. My mother asked me what I would like for my lunches through the week. I didn't know what to get so I looked at the lunch meat through the glass case as my mother was getting what she wanted. I started to ask questions about the lunch meats in between their conversation. I saw something called hickory smoked bacon. When I opened my mouth without thinking I asked, "What in the world is honkey smoked bacon?" That is when I realized I said it wrong because my mother and the lady started to laugh. As my mother started to correct me, I ran to the front of the store, passing the old man who statred at me like I did something wrong and almost knocking him over, as I ran out the door because I felt embarrassed.

To make matters worse, I ended up in the wrong vehicle that looked like my mother's, the same off white four door Buick model. I got in the back seat, and it is then I realized I was in the wrong car when I saw an old lady in the front seat giving me a weird look. I started to scream and panicked as I grabbed the door handle and noticed the door was locked, as the old lady turned around and unlocked the door. I got out as qui9ckly as I got in the car, scared to death, ran to my mother's car and climbed in locking the doors behind me. My mother came out of the store and saw me white as a ghost. She asked me what is going on and I said, "nothing" in a scared-to-death voice. I glanced at the old lady who was shaking her head and laughing at the whole situation.

Now as I look back, that was one of the funniest moments to me as an adult. I carry that mjoment with me knowing that was the last impression I made at the store.


Speculation on Prior Writing on Avocado 

by Tenzin Gephel

Charlottesville Adult Education ESL

I would like to ponder on one of my previous writings. A few years ago, while I was in English writing class, I wrote about Avoocado. The title is "Falling In Love With Avocado in America." This title may develop misinterpretation to some people.

My wrting on avocado was about my experience after eating avocado first time. I simply write about avocado and compare the taste of it to the taste of butter. In Tibetan traidtional food, butter is eaten with barley and used in butter tea.

"Falling In Love with Avocado" was the title of that writing. It is true that I have fallen in love with avocado since I have eaten it. It tastes good like butter. My first time to see it and eat it was in America. Later, I learned it is a healthy food.

If someone just reflects on the title "Fall in Love with Avocado," it could lead some people to misunderstanding. Of course, it is not a big deal for me. I assume there are many people who eat avocado but may not know the term avocado. When they see this title they may think avocado could be the name of a person. They ten consider this writing is about a love story. The writer fell i9n love with someone named Avocado in America.

Writing about avocado was fun and didn't face me so much struggle to write. I love the title "Falling In Love With Avocado" but someone who doesn't know the term avocado could think it is name ofa person whom I havenn in love with. This is just my imagination, not that I face someone who did. I think this could be very possible.


My American Life 

by Julie Jia

Albemarle Adult Education GED

After I came to United States, I told my friend that the person that I trust the most in America is the police officer. He makes me feel safe and enjoy the USA. The reason I say that because have a true story to tell.

When I came to US, I was trying very hard to learn how to drive, and then I wanted to study in college to get a degree and then to get a good job, even though I am not good in English. I received my driver's li9cense; I drove to a community college. When I came out of the school office, I could not find my car. I didn't remember where I had parked. Two hours later I was exhausted but I still did not see my car. It was getting dark; I was so nervous. Suddenly, I saw a police office building just right round the corner; I walked into the office for help. A police officer let me sit in his car. He drove me to four parking lots. At last, I saw my car just sitting there. I took a deep breath. I finally found my car. I really appreciated the police officer's help. Since then, whenever I see a police car down the street I feel very warm.


Testing Myself 

by Benamar Fadhel

Albemarle Adult Education GED

I was always caring about my time and how I could use it for the important things, especially when I was unemployed or on school vacation. I used to work out at the gym, travel, ride a bike for long distances, or go fishing.

One summer day I had nothing to do in town, so I rode my bicycle down the highway with no destination on my mind. The temperature was rising when I passed about thirty kilometers. When I was completely dried out, then the tiredness started to get me. When I still had at least ten kilometers uphill before the next city, my concern was just how to get there from that isolated road.

Suddenly, right after twenty minutes, a heavy gtruck appeared. I got the chance and I grabbed the back of it continuing to my destination where I coiuuld get some care and I indeed had a good lunch with my uncle. While I was eating, I was thinking about why I putmyself in such an unknown situation and I had to laugh.

That day stood in my memory which gave me an important conclusion that I need to plan wherever I go.


Migration 

by Nagham Elias

Charlottesville Adult Education ESL

One day, we decided to travel and leave our country, Iraq, because of the war and the difficult situation in that country. We felt sad because we were leaving our house and family and all the beautiful memories of childhood.

There was a big reason to leave, however. That reason was so that we could live a good life in safety. Through the IOM, we decied to go to the United States of America, and now we are in this country of freedom and safety.

One of the most memorableexperiences I have had since coming here was the first day we arrived in the U.S. We arrived on the night of Halloween. We heard a knock on the door, and we were scared. Then, there was the sound of kids asking for sweets and candy! It was nice and also scary on that first night.

We see the different traditions and different culture, but we are very comfortable and feel a little stability now in our new situation. We have put our kids in school, and now we are learning English. We have a beautiful house. We hope that our country will become safe and the wars will come to an end in my country.


I Am Sorry, I Don't Know 

by Bebrooz Satlikh Mohammadi

Charlottesville Adult Education

Before entering into the USA, I thought the following:

  • The first power in the world economy is the U.S.A. The strongest healthcare system is in America. Social insurance is a strong supporter of disabled people. The educational system is a strong advocate for families.
  • The people work 8 hours a day and they travel for two months a year in and out of the U.S.A. for fun and rest. The people are hardworking and honest in work and they are accurate in accounting.
  • The people retire at the age of 65 years. Then they do recreation and traveling without worry. The people constantly drink and dance in many, many ceremonies.
After entering into the U.S.A., I found out the following:
  • The first day I went to the rental office to rent an apartment, they said: you must have a job in the U.S.A. Otherwise, we can't give an apartment. I said: I'm a new immigrant, but I can't find a job immediately. They smiled and said: I'm sorry. I don't know!
  • The second day I went to find a job. They said: you want to fill out the job form online and you must have an account in the bank. After filling many, many job forms, I waited and waited. No response?! I went over and over to find a job. 
    They said: Okay, but you must speak Englishy very well. I said I don't speak English very well, but cleaning restroom , floors or walls, what do I need to speak English very well. They smiled and said: I'm sorry, I don't know.
  • The third day I went to the bank for opening an accounting of bank, they said: because you are an alien in the U.S.A. a minimum account myust be $5000, otherwise, we can't open an account.
  • On the fourth day I went to social service for help. They said: because your account in the bank has $5000, we can't help you. Your account must have a maximum of $2000. I said: I would spend exgtra money for some months without a job, I must put money under the carpet instead of putting it in the bank. They smiled and said: I am sorry. I don't know
  • On the fifth day, I went to school for my daughter's registration. They gave a medical form to me. I went to the hospital for the medical exam. Many people visited my daughter and did lab work and injected vaccines and some hours waiting in the hospital room. Then I received a form after many days. Every day I received many bills from the hospital, including: the fee for the doctors, nurses, lab, vaccine...use of T.V., rest room, etc. Then I asked why I must pay for all these things? 
    They smiled and said: I am sorry, I don't know.
  • The first month after getting wet in the rain and being bored in the bus with seeing the same people every day, I wanted to buy a new car. The price on the internet was $20,000. I went to the car company to buy the same car. They smiled and said: I am sorry. I don't know about such a car, but the car price with full package of extras is about $30,000. Finally, I boughtr the same car for $32,000!?
  • Every morning I get out of bed. I saw in my cell phone many deductiobns from my bank account, including a fee for maintaining the account and a fee for membership in various companies, Internet sites. I said: why? Subscribing on your site was free? They said: yes but at page 1234, paragraph 567, line 89 of the contract it is mentioned in fine print: after one month we can charge your account. I said: I was wrong to subscribe to your site. Please you give back my money. They smiled and said: I am sorry. I don't know.
After all these adventures, my family at home said to me we had a good life in my country. Why did we move to the USA?

I smiled and said: I am sorry. I don't know.


Life Can Be Funny 

by George Ebunga

Charlottesville Adult Education ESL

It all started on a cold and chilly day as always. I woke up in the morning and got ready for my class which I love because it reminded me that I still have a lot to learn. After class, I went to work which I am proud of.

That day I met with my coworker as we always do. We started talking and one of us started telling about the accident that occurred in that day. That story went on until it turned into a ghost story that we have had and we forgot that we are in the night shift.

In a couple of hours the sun set and the moon rose. We still had those images in our head of the stories we were talking about a couple of hours ago. While working we started hearing steps outside, each one of us showed courage and acted like we were not afraid, but the truth was we were all afraid because of the stories we were telling.

We decided to take a look and see what was going on, in our way we started hearing a strange sound coming out of the halls. We started looking at ourselves to see if we all heard what was going on and after a few econds, the sound stopped. We continued walking and suddenly there were loud noises. Now there was no doubt that there was something wrong, was going on. We thought we should all run as fast as we could to the security room.

We barged in almost breaking the door down. "What!? What!?: the security said, in a shaky tone. We told him what was happening. The security guard accompanied us to see if what we said was true. While there the same noise in the hall started. Surprisingly, the security started laughing. We all looked at him as if he was going crazy! "What is funny?!" I said. The security guard explained what was really happening, and we found out that the noise was coming out of the wall. It was a water pipe that was broken and needed to be fixed, and the loud sound was the alarm in one of the offices we were cleaning, and we forgot to turn it off. Finally the steps outside were the wind blowing and the dry leaves on the ground.

We all looked at one another and started laughing for our stupidity and our imagination. From that day, we learned taht the mind can be a very dangerous weapon, if you let it control you.


Snake in the Grass 

by Esteban Aparicio

Charlottesville Adult Education ESL

My uncle, my cousin, and I used to work cutting grass and doing landscaping. We worked 35 houses per week. There was one house where something funny happened with us. Whenever we mowed that lawn, we encountered a big black snake in the yard. One day we arrived to work at that house. My cousin and I took weedeaters, and my uncle operated the walk behind mower. Everybody was thinking about the snake, because nobody wanted to find it. Because the snake was usually in the yard and not close to the house, my cousin wanted to trim around the house and made me trim the yard.

While I was out there, I was really hoping not to be surprised by the snake. But after five or ten minutes, boom! The snake surprised me. I jumped back two or three steps. Instantly I tried to kill it using the weedeater. I gave more gas for more power. Soon I realized that the snake was not moving, I tried to move it with the head of the weedeater, and it still did not move. So I decided to get closer to see better. I took my sun glasses off. And wow! To my surprise it was a fake rubber snake. That's why the snake didn’t move. After seeing that, I started to feel better. Then I started laughing to myself and thinking about how I could use that fake snake to play a joke on my cousin. I yelled to him to come and finish trimming this area, because I was “out of gas.”Then I started walking towards to the truck. But I didn’t go all the way. I hid in the woods to watch my cousin’s face.

I saw him come this way until he found the snake. I saw him jump back and then try to kill it. I laughed more when I heard the weedeater running louder and louder, because he was trying to do the same thing I did. I saw him move the snake and nothing happened. After a few seconds, he realized it was a fake snake. I came out of the woods laughing. He saw me and started laughing also. He suggested that we play a joke on my uncle. He grabbed the snake and hid it behind his back. We started walking towards where my uncle was mowing grass.

We stood in the middle of the yard, waiting for him to get closer. We were laughing already. My uncle saw us, and asked what was happening. We told him,” nothing!” . My uncle said, “You guys are crazy!” He continued mowing rows until he was right in front of us.. He looked at us suspiciously, and he wasn’t wrong. We were still laughing, and he stopped for a few seconds. Suddenly, my cousin put the snake across my uncle’s arm. My uncle didn’t know what it was. He looked for a moment, and then he realized it was a snake. He jumped and threw the snake in the air. Now, he was holding the machine with only one hand, so it started running in circles, and my uncle was running behind trying to regain control . The snake was on the ground and my uncle jumped over it every circle. We really enjoyed watching my uncle running in circles, and jumping in the air.

After five or six rounds he released the mower, and it turned off. Then we saw my uncle was really scared and very angry. My cousin and I looked at each other and said, “uh oh.” We explained to him that it was a fake rubber snake. He didn’t want to believe that. So my cousin grabbed the snake and showed him. He started laughing, and we all laughed together. What a day.


Wrong Car 

by Sadaimam Hotak

Charlottesville Adult Education ESL

I used to live in Massachusetts. The weather in Massachusetts was very cold most of the time, more than in Charlottesville, Virginia. Last year there was a very bad storm with more than 10 inches of snow on the ground. I had a full time job Monday to Friday from 7:30 to 4:00. Sometimes I stayed late to get the job done. That day I woke up early to go clean my car. I wore warm clothes and got my gloves. When I came down to clean the car, someone was already cleaning the car. I was shocked. He was my neighbor. When I saw him, he was almost finished. He took his remote to open the car door. But the beeping sound came from the car next my car. He had parked his car next to my car, and he cleaned the wrong one! I told him, "Hey man, this is my car. Thanks forf the help. I really appreciate it." We were both laughing. He said, "Good luck to you, man."


I Am a Driver 

by Shahed Atei

Charlottesville Adult Education ESL

I am a driver. And I was a driver in Iran. But I needed a new driver's license in the U.S.. I had to go to get my new driver's license. But in my country, during the exam, the examiner doesn't get out of the car. In the U.S., she stayed out of the car. While I was in the car, she told me to back up. But I just sat in the car waiting for her to get in. I'm thinking she needs to be in the car with me. She tells me, "OK. You don't understand me. So you fail." It was very crazy!


Surprise Explosion 

by Hossein Barban

Charlottesville Adult Education

Seven or eight years ago, my brother and I went on the roof of a house. I took a gallon pitcher, a gas lighter, some tiles and bricks. I placed the tiles on the pitcher. The empty gallon pitcher had a gas lighter inside and, without my knowledge., I turned it on. I took the pitcher and suddenly there was a screech that sounded like a bomb. My brother and I were extremely scared, and we crawled our way off the roof. My brother's head was injured. I didn't ove, so my hearing was damanged. People came looking, but only my brother and I knew it was a bomb.


Mistaken Identity 

by Mahdi Ebrahimi

Charlottesville Adult Education ESL

I came to America in November 9, 2012. When I arrived to American airport, I was going through the checking. One officer askmed where I was going and asked which language I speak. I didn't speak any English at that time, so I didn 't understand anything. He thought that I was from India. He asked for an Indian interpreter. When the interpreter told me something, I didn't understand. But the other officer saw my ticket and understood where I was going. He helped mea lot.

I saw Charlottesville from the airplane, and I thoght that it was a very small city. I didn't expect for Charlottesville to be so beautiful. I started to really like Charlottesville within a month of my arrival.


I Don't Know How You Did It 

by Fannie Anderson

Charlottesville Adult Education UVA GED

One day last summer, my husband said, "Fannie, we need a new air conditioner."

I told him, "Let's go to Lowe's in the Grand Am."

He said, "Yes, let's drive it to Lowe's."

We got to Lowe's and went in. I said, "Let's get two air conditioners." He agreed, so we bought two. So far, so good.

As I drove out of the parking lot, I put on the brakes. The car wouldn't stop. I told my husband, "We don't have brakes."

He said, "What are you going to do?"

I kept going. I went over to the right hand lane and went up 15 South, made a U turn, and came back down 15 West. As I was fighting the brake, my husband said, "Stop What are you going to do when you down the hill?"

I kept going and said, "I hope no other car is in front of me."

I kept going. The car picked up speed. I just went down the hill faster with no car in my way. As I made the turn on 15 to go home, the car picked up speed again. I just held on to the steering wheel as I was going down the hill. Then I needed to make a turn to go home. I fought the wheel and made the turn. I threw the car in to "park" and it sopped. I said, "Thank goodness I made it."

My husband said, "I don't know how you did it, but you did a good job."


Those Were the Days 

by Maria Ines Roman

Charlottesville Adult Education ESL

When I lived in Honduras I was a student. I rode a bus 30 minutes to school. Our parents paid for the ride every month, but the bus was very old and so was the driver. The driver smelled bad, like a wet dog. His clothes were always dirty, and he could only see out of one eye. Poor Mr. To’o! He was known to us as Mr. “Carambo,” a funny nickname, about a sweet fruit of honey. But most students didn’t like him. He seemed angry and bitter all the time. His head was bald, and his shoes were equally as old as the bus we were traveling in.

The bus picked up students from surrounding villages. Each seat was designed to seat 3 students, but only if we were lucky might we find a seat in good condition. Otherwise they were too old and had holes with broken wires sticking out to tear our skirts or uniform pants.

Every window on the bus was divided into 2 pieces of glass, but some had only the bottom part. So when we were on the road, the wind would mess up our hair. And if someone in the front spit out of the window, it would come back in from another window.

At one bus stop, there were always little kids who sold oranges and mangoes to adults on other buses. The little kids would collect the overripe leftovers of the fruit and throw it through the broken windows of my bus to hit us when we stopped at their bus stop.

When we arrived at the bus stop in my hometown, we had to walk across a long rope bridge over a river. Half of the boys would run were the across the bridge in front of the girls. Then, when the girls crossed, the boys on both sides would shake the bridge’s ropes, and the girls would cry and scream. Some of the girls’ fathers were angry, and they would complain to the school and protest for a new bus. It took a long time before there was a new bus, and I wasn’t riding the bus by the time there was a new one.

Now I am studying at the Adult Learning center. It is much easier to get to class, my hair stays clean, and I am learning English very well.


My Last Day of High School 

by Alejandra Lopez

Charlottesville Adult Education ESL

I still remember those times when I was younger, a teenager. I was in my last year of high school. I used to go out to places with my friends because I knew it was my very last year, and I wanted to get the most out of it. I knew after high school my friends and I woud go separate ways.

In November of that year, on our last day of class, I made all my classmates cry because I gave a speech that was very emotional. I talkied about all the things we had done together and how maybe we would never see each other again. I still remember that day when we all cried.

But then, after that, we looked happy as we realized we had grown up.

Later taht day, we had a party. We had lots of fun and took pictures of every waking second. My friend, Marina, brought food, and David brought cake, and I was in charge of the soda. We had plenty of food and sweets.

Since I moved here, I haven't seen any of my old friends, but I'm sure they now are happy and successful. At least, I hope so.


Stop Requested 

by Man Maya Rai

Charlottesville Adult Education UVA GED

The first time in Charlottesville, I was going to ESL class by bus. After reaching a certain distance, the computer said, "Stop Requested." At that time, I stood up from my seat because I thought that the bus was requesting to stop for the passenger to get out. It was my first time on a bus. When I was ready to get out, everybody laughed at me, but I was nervous and questioned them., "Why are you all alughing at me?" After that, they also questioned me, "Where is your destination?" I answered them, "The IRC for ESL class." Again, people helped me not to be nervous and they told me you need to pull the rope when we are about to reach your destination. Finally, I came to know this after getting help from them. It was a really funny day for me and also it is a memorable day for my whole life in the US.


Automatic Flushing Toilets 

by Ganga Rai

Albemarle Adult Education GED

I was born in Bhutan. After four years. We left that country by force and resettled in Nepal. I was a refugee there about eighteen years. We knew that we didn't have a future there at all. We decided to resettle in a third country, the USA, for a better future. My story is about one moment that was funny in my life. I had never seen before an automatic flushing toilet. During the period of processing through immigration, on the first day at the office building, I had no idea how to use a toilet. I didn't see any buttons to flush the toilet. I realized taht I needed help. I kindly asked the security guard who worked there. He started to laugh and he showed me how to use the toilet. That was one funny moment in my life.


Big Bravery in a Little Store 

by Abed Arjdal

Charlottesville Adult Education ESL

One morning, when I was 18 years old, my cousin and I were walking to a store in Morocco. It is a small store, like a 7-Eleven in America. My cousin was a cashier there. After we got there, a man walked in carrying money in his hand. He put the money on the counter and asked “Do you have change for a twenty?” My cousin responded by saying “I’m not sure, but I’ll check,” and then opened the cash register. The man then pulled out a gun when the cash register was open. “Give me all the money,” the man said. “Put it in this bag!” My cousin said “but wait…” but the man shouted again “Put it in the bag!” My cousin then took the money out of the cash register and put it in the bag. The man took the bag and ran out of the store, but when he opened it later, guess what he found? My cousin had given him change for a twenty! The man went back to the store, but when he got there, he only found the police because I called them when he robbed my cousin.


Move That Bus! 

by Ahmed Al Srya

Charlottesville Adult Education GED
I am so excited, I can hardly wait. I am with my parents and three brothers waiting for the bus to take us to our new home. We are leaving behind the war in Baghdad. I will no longer have to see my friends killed in the streets or live in fear every day of my life. At my new home there will be no soldiers bursting through the doors and no bombs raining from the sky.

My excitement mounts. I think back to the American show I have seen called Extreme Home Makeover. Each week they talk to a family who is having trouble and find out what they need so in the show the family will talk about their house and what they dream to have one day. Then, the designers will try to make a special house.

In one show the family had sons. One son liked a motorcycle game. For him, they designed his room the same as the game. They put a motorcycle in front of his bed with a big screen to make him feel like he was a part of the game when he played. The second son liked football so they designed his room as a football stadium. They made the carpet like a green field. Before they start work on the house, they put the family on a bus and send them on vacation.

When the family returns they all greet the people that worked on the house. “We want to hear from you”, the designers say. “MOVE THAT BUS!” everyone shouts. The bus moves and the house is amazing. Some cry, some jump, they can’t believe it.

Our bus arrives. The bus ride is long and difficult because the weather is very hot and we are sitting on the floor because the bus has no seats.

At last the bus arrives and our excitement mounts. We depart from the bus and wait for it to leave. My brother and I, we look at each other with smiles on our faces. We hear the participants of Extreme Makeover shouting, “MOVE THAT BUS!” to show us our new house. Then the bus slowly pulls away, but there is no new home, only row after row of white tents. My lips are dry and I cannot say anything. I am in a state of shock. Our family just looks at each other as the tears well up in our eyes. How can we be expected to live in such a manner?

My cousin comes to greet us and wants to show us around Al waleed Camp. I think to myself, “what, do you think this is New York City or something? I don’t see any skyscrapers.” As we tour the camp, he teaches us how to catch scorpions and avoid snake holes. On this day, we have no tent prepared for us, so we sleep in my uncle’s tent. I sleep well the first night because we are told we are safe and it is quiet and the sky is free of bombs and the streets are free from guns.

As the days turn into weeks, the weeks into months, and the months into years, we learn to survive extreme heat and cold, severe rain and sand storms, droughts, lack of drinking water or water for showers, and fires. Finally, after years, my family has the opportunity to go the US. We are in an airplane coming from Jordan. After the airplane lands in New York, we sleep one night. Early in the morning, another bus comes to take us. I look at that bus, smile, and laugh out loud. People look at me and their faces seem to say, “what's wrong with that guy?’’ I remember the first bus that took us and I'm hoping when the bus moves this time, something better is behind it.


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