It has been about 18 days since I arrived to Houston but it felt like months; somehow now I feel I belong here, I was really terrified of the cultural shock , the reaction of people , the change of time zone, home sickness and the terrible conditions I might face. But thank god none of those happened till now.
I found that America or at least Houston has a really low percentage of Americans! Or people who speak English as it should be spoken…I can say that I speak English (with an American accent) better than 70% of people I have talked to! Where are the Americans? Is it a state of immigrants? It’s really hard to communicate with people who don’t know the language that they should speak…I found less trouble talking English in Turkey than in Houston!
I thought by living in Texas I would be living with cowboys, men wearing jeans and hats, rodeos everywhere and “eeeehaaa, folks”, but I didn’t see any cowboy or a horse or even a anyone wearing a hat…how disguising is the media!
And I was really surprised that people couldn’t direct me to a place I want to go even if it was 2 blocks away from them, people don’t know buses or their numbers or what bus should I take to get from point A to point B…A big thank you and a real gratitude for google maps whom without I wouldn’t be able to reach anywhere…few days ago I wanted to go to a very famous supermarket and I had to take two buses to reach there (The supermarket is for specialty foods and Mediterranean stuff) I wanted to buy a Hookah, Houmos, Zaatar, date molasses and some other stuff that we need…I told the bus driver to let me know when we reach point C (an intersection)…after few miles she told me that I should get down here…according to google maps I should walk for about 10 min. so we walked and walked and walked for about an hour and still we didn’t reach, we asked so many people but no one knew anything! At last I saw a big Chinese supermarket and I asked the owner and to my surprise he knew how could I get to my destination which was about 5 miles from where I am…the bus driver didn’t know the intersection! But finally we reached the supermarket (Phoenicia) and we got what we wanted.
I don’t know if I’m wrong or I’m having quick impressions but living in the states is not that different from any other place, I really didn’t suffer till now, of course every country had some fingerprint but it’s almost as living in Amman… but the difference is that you can do everything from your chair using the internet and mail, life is really easy if you have the money.
I found out that you MUST NOT believe the price written on the tag or in the ads…because there are always hidden fees.
Overall, I’m happy and relaxed till now except for one thing that is really bothering me which is work…because every dime I spend now is not being replaced by a penny…I really need to get a job…I love working, I discovered that I’m a man who can’t live without work, work is like air to me…the last days in Baghdad when I knew I’ll leave Iraq soon, I was waiting impatiently to have this rest but now I discovered that I was mistaken…I want to work anything, anything is interesting for me now…because the only job I had is a dentist so it wouldn’t hurt if I tried some other jobs.
And the thing that really made it easier for me is that we got a plan…we will work for about a year as dental assistants, I will work full time and maybe overtime and Sarah will work short time because if she worked full time too we wouldn’t be able to see Linda for more than 3 hours!! And in that case we wouldn’t be the ones who raises her, it would be the day care…after that year one of us would quit working and enter Kaplan preparation classes for the MBDE1 which is the second step in Qualification our degrees, and the one who will take the classes will tauter the other when we are in home and Linda is sleeping, then we will take part two and at that time we should have gotten our green card and we can take a loan and also one of us will enter the dental college for two years (which is a must for qualifying) and then the other one will enter the school…we took the first step, which is evaluation of our degree…we went to Houston Community college and we gave them our certified degrees and they told us it will take from one month to two months to finish processing, then we can enter the dental assistant courses.
I’d like to thank LJM for the nice welcoming gift that she sent to me…it was a DVD player with some DVDs, it was a real nice and helpful move from her. Thanx LJM
Today, early in the morning I went to search for the place where I can issue Wic for Linda, and I discovered the public library, I couldn’t believe my eyes…I only have to have a Texas ID to use the library (which needs social security number too)…there were books about anything, great interior design, so many computers with high speed internet and all for free! That’s sweet…I asked if I can get medical books (planning for qualification) and they said that even if we don’t have it we can get it for you, and I asked if I can take them home with me and they said yes!!! That’s really sweet.
Today, I went to the Galleria Mall in downtown…and there I saw people who I used to see in movies and series, it was a really nice day but most of the shops were really expensive, most of them are designers’ shops not like the Memorial mall that we visited few days ago… there were some shops with reasonable prices …people were elegant and clean, not like the people I meet in buses, damn it, can’t they wash!
Another thing that really shocked me which is the taxes! There is a tax on everything, I’m surprised that there is no tax on breathing, in Iraq there is nothing called Tax so this subject is really new to me, now I understood the phrase that I always read and hear in the media “tax payers” it really makes sense and so understandable.
I’m still waiting to find the best car I can get with my little budget, still waiting for the social security number and still waiting for the work permit.
During that time, I’m in the process of Texasination :D