Part 4 – Migrating to America



  • Part 4a 🇺🇸 Landed – Detroit, Michigan.
    By this time, after 10 + hours of travel, I was exhausted. Mixed with excitement of course. We landed approximately 4 ish in the afternoon. Picked up our luggage & boxes and headed to a long line for US Customs and Inspections. There were four people and two large tables ahead. The line was moving quickly and efficiently. Until it was our turn. We were greeted with a groan and an exhausted laugh. All 4 had to work as one to open each one of our boxes & luggage. The only item they questioned was our “pasalubong – polvoron”. Pasalubong = Treats one would bring from their homeland or point of visit. Polvoron = is a type of heavy, soft and very crumbly Spanish shortbread made of flour, sugar, milk, and nuts, especially almonds. This item is always make immigration officers bat an eye lash. Thinking it’s crack. After a long process of opening, inspecting, and closing up boxes, we placed our items onto another conveyor belt, heading to our connection plane. My mom looked for a phone booth and called my Uncle in NJ. Meanwhile, I needed to go pee, badly. I lingered from one hallway to another and bumped into two airport workers, one looked like Denis Franz and Larry Bird. “Sir, where is the CR?” (Crickets) Both looked at each other with a confused look. “Comfort Room?” I asked “Say what kid?” the Denis Franz character asked. The Larry Bird guy saw my I need to pee stance. “Ooh, Restroom. Down that hall son.” I graciously thanked them ran to the RestRoom 😄 There was my first lesson on US soil. Noted. By the time I got back with my folks, they said we have to transfer terminals. We headed outside to catch the airport shuttle bus. I was a little cranky and still nauseous. As I was about to speak a huge cloud of smoke came out from my mouth. Whoa! 12 years living in a humid climate exhaled. I was so amused. Breathing in and out with that 45/50 degree cold air. A couple of minutes passed, my cranky disposition returned. “Can Uncle Alex pick us up from here? I don’t want to ride the plane anymore.” I groaned. “No, it’s too far” my mom said.
    I pulled out the map I was given by the Northwest Airlines, “Where are we?” My mom then pointed New Jersey and drew her fingers across to Michigan. “I don’t think it looks that far.” She rolled her eyes and had an expression that today translates to “Bitch Please” 😄
    We got to the 2nd terminal and departure gate, I looked at our plane (picture ⬆️), my mind drifted to mini clips of what had transpired within two days. Wow, I’m finally getting here. I then pulled out my walkman & started listening to my Filipino shows. I was convinced at the time, I should listen to my recordings often so I don’t forget how to understand and speak Tagalog.
    Shortly. We boarded our plane, en route to our final destination, Newark Airport New Jersey. I find myself burying my forehead on my mom’s shoulders (nauseous 🤢). I ended up falling asleep from exhaustion.
    Before I knew it we landed. I was relieved and vowed never to set foot on a plane ever again. We were greeted by my Aunt & Uncle at the gate, right when we exited the tarmac. Hugs and cheers exchanged. Since we had so much stuff, we needed a second vehicle. My cousin Jojo from the Bronx came to meet all of us. Everything was packed and smushed onto my cousin’s car and my Uncle’s Jeep Cherokee. It was tough to see in the rear view mirror.
    I rode with my Uncle and Aunt, we squished on the front seat, reminding me of my ride to the airport back in Manila.
    As we drove through route 1 from Newark Airport, I started making observations. The houses were different. No gates. Just doors. (Imagine a fade out) 😉
  • To be continued on my new chapter series. “Fords, NJ”