Coming to America

The first challenge for me on the job was the time it snowed.  My first snow storm came late on a Saturday evening.  I needed to have the sidewalks cleared by 8:00 am for the morning service.  Compounding my challenge is the fact that the church was situated on a corner, it had several entrances, with no snow blower available at the time.  It was my first time shoveling snow so I doubled my clothing, making sure I was properly protected and ready.  I managed to clear everything by midnight because the snow was like fresh power but it was still falling and continued to accumulate.  I got some rest before resuming the task around 4:00 am.  After shoveling for about 45 minutes on my second go around, I was taking frequent breaks to stay warm.  I stopped and looked at the enormity of the task ahead of me, I was tired, hungry, sleepy and very cold.  I wondered for a moment, how warm it was back home in the islands.   I thought of our friends we left behind, the jobs we both abandoned and all of our precious wedding gifts we sold or had given away for the so-called American dream.  I tried to evaluate if it was all worth it.  This was the second time those thoughts came to my mind.  The first time I was walking the streets of Brooklyn entering stores and other businesses looking for work.  Sometimes I would walk in look around and walk back out, afraid, sometimes intimidated to speak to anyone.  They all required a green card or a social security number along with other forms of ID which I did not have.  Tears of frustration would gather but not enough to fall, as I walked aimlessly block after block thinking about my family back in Trinidad.  Every time I called Denise, she would encourage me to stick it out because we’ve invested too much to turn back.  It was much easier said than done.  “What the hell am I doing in this place?”  I murmured to myself as I looked around me, there was not another soul in sight at that hour in the morning.  It was just me, lots of hidden snow-covered sidewalk, and my shovel.


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