Saturday, November 10, 2007

Welcome to New Yo—oh, Newark?


My dad first came to the U.S. when he was 24 years old in 1975. My grandfather always wanted his son to study in U.S., just as long as he came back to Bangladesh or Saudi Arabia. Though my dad was accepted to Columbia's School of Engineering and Applied Science for their Master's program, the family couldn't afford it. Instead, he was to attend New York's PCI College. Because of the enormous amount of corruption in Bangladesh and his friend worked for the visa office, my dad was able to obtain a student visa to New York City.

Anticipation built up inside every time my father and the other two Bengali passengers he managed to find on the flight (of which there is an entirely other story to be told later) heard "New York City."

Once they landed, however, they couldn't find the New York City they envisioned. Where were the skyscrapers? Where were the bustling crowds? Where were the hot dog vendors? Everything was low and dull. Disappointed, they left for their hotels as previously arranged by car. The next day, they were given a tour of the Big Apple and they knew they truly in New York City.

What my dad came to realize now was that they landed at JFK, which is located in Queens, and looks nothing like Manhattan.


The last time my sister went to Bangladesh was in 2001 with my father. They left on a summer evening. Used to JFK since it was only fifteen minutes away from our home and the tickets said they were departing from New York, my dad told the taxi driver to head there. Once there, however, they realized they were in the wrong airport.

My dad realized the tickets didn't say "New York," but instead "Newark," that lovely, international airport of New Jersey. Luckily, they didn't miss their flight.

No comments: