29
Apr-2013

Spokane, my first home in the US

It was June 20th 1995.

I worked very hard the months before my departure to save some money for my trip.The ticket to the States was very expensive then and not matter how hard I tried, at the end of the month after paying all the bills, I was not able to buy it. I remember then that when I was born my aunt had deposited a symbolic amount of money opening an account at the bank under my name. With my surprise I found out the fifty thousand lire had become more then two hundred thousand, which was exactly what I was missing and I asked her if she would mind me using that money to purchase my ticket.“That money was meant to be use once you grow up to fulfill whatever dream you had. I know it’s not much, but it’s still something!”

So on June 20th I kissed my parents good-bye and even if  I was excited for the adventure I was going to live, I was still very emotional because I knew how sad and worried my mom and dad were. I had told my mom: “I’m going to leave no matter what but I would rather doing it with your blessing” while she was drying her tears. First stop in the States was at Newark Airport. I knew a little English because I had studied it in school and I knew I would get by in case of necessity. Matter of fact, people understood me whenever I asked for information and they all kindly responded to my requests. The problem was I could not understand them when they answered me! An older lady from my town was travelling with me. She was going to visit her son, who was also the person that found a place for me to stay during the three months I was going to spend in the States. The poor soul trusted me with her life, since I looked so confident in what I was doing. Luckily we had five hours layover before our flight to Chicago and after some time I was able to find out which terminal we had to go to catch it (it was at the opposite side of the airport and we had to take a bus to get there!). After one hour in Chicago, the last part of the trip took us to Spokane, in Washington State. I was supposed to take care of two little children, twins to be precise, who where only two and a half years old then. Their parents owned two restaurants and he also worked as a truck driver, waking up every morning at 4:00am, that they really needed help with the girls when they weren’t home.

I still remember the first time I saw Jessica and Savannah. They were wearing the same clothes: blue leggings, Adidas snickers and a white hooded cardigan with colorful stripes going across. They were talking and talking: I think at one point they even asked me something and I could only stared back at them in disbelief. My English kept getting worse and if up until the day before I was able to catch few words when people spoke to me, from then on I realized my mind had gone blank and I didn’t remember a word of what I used to know. Only later I figured out the girls had a twin-talk going on and only them would understand each other.

And here is where it all began while trying to learn a language that was ‘foreign” to all of us.

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