Welcome to the United States of America
What an eye opening experience!
It was August 23, 1983, and Patrick was on his first trip to America. He was seventeen years old, and being the eldest in his family flying
to the USA, he was in-charge. His two
younger brothers who accompanied him were also teenagers. Ignatious was fifteen
and Paul was thirteen.
Upon arrival at the Miami International Airport, they had to
pass through immigration, where they received their residency stamp before re-boarding the plane for Chicago.
As they awaited their second leg of
flight to Chicago, there was a bomb threat at the airport in the same area where they were
waiting. A little nervous, Patrick told his brothers to follow him outside. As he approached door, he stretched out his arm to push it open. Before he could touch the door, the door swung open! Startled
at such an event, Patrick decided that that could not have been a good choice, and chose rather to remain in the waiting area
with the bomb sniffing dogs. (Patrick had never before seen or heard of a sensor
driven automatic door.)
Upon arrival at Chicago, Patrick and his brothers were greeted by their mother and older brother Tony, at the airport. It was awesome! They hadnt seen this part of their family
for some years now, and were overjoyed to have made it safely and actually be in the USA.
As Tony started on the way home from
the OHare Airport in Chicago, Patrick could not believe his eyes.
They were soon zooming through traffic on the Dan Ryan Expressway, with multiple cars abreast them on each side. There was also a train (the L) in the center of this magnificent highway, and another
multiple lane highway on the other side of the tracks, headed the opposite direction.
Wow! Patrick had never seen anything like it in all his life, nor had
he ever imagined such a sight. Everyone was racing along with such perfection,
that Patrick was lost as to how these people could remain in their own lane, without making that little wrong move and hitting
the car next to them. Patrick had never seen this before in his life!
As he dazed out the window at the lights
and many cars, his mother interrupted by asking if anyone was hungry. Of course
they were, and they were headed to Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC).
The KFC back in Patricks country did
not weather the storm of competition, and had closed its doors a few years earlier.
Patrick had only eaten there once in his life.
Upon arrival at KFC, their mother asked
if anyone wanted biscuits. Of course everyone wanted biscuits. (Now Patricks mother had forgotten that back home in their country, biscuits were sweet. They were what Americans call cookies.)
They were soon at their new home. An apartment on Chicagos south side. Eager to try this American food, they dug into the chicken bucket and started to enjoy
the Kentucky Fried Chicken with Cole-slaw and mashed potatoes. A major problem
occurred however. The biscuits that they were offered at KFC were not really
biscuits after all. Instead, they were little bread rolls. None of the three boys were too interested in bread; since they had really expected cookies. This bread was therefore later discarded.
After a couple of weeks in America, Patrick decided that he should join the Military, and pursue his dreams of working as
an Air Traffic Controller. He had to battle with the Army Recruiters who told
him that his Belize High School Diploma was not equivalent of that in America, and therefore would first have to return to High School in America to get a US Diploma. His younger brothers were also promised a Step-Backwards
in High School, for the reason afore mentioned.
Since Belizean students take many Exams
while in High School, Patrick Remembered haven taken the S.A.T. and other British and Carribean Exams to be Admitted in College
in either his country or that of the USA or Britain. Since he had applied for acceptance at the
Chicago University while yet
in his home country, he mentioned this to his Army Recruiter who took him to the University to investigate.
While at the Chicago University, the Dean of Students came out and upon hearing of the Dilemma, produced a letter declaring
that Not only was Patricks Diploma equivalent to that of the USA, but, she declared, your education in your country is even
higher than that of this country. Patrick felt vindicated. He therefore used this letter to not only Enlist in the US Army, but he also used it to get his younger
brothers in High School, in their proper grades. This was done, even after a
representative at the Board of Education in Chicago had declared that the younger brothers had to repeat their year of High School.