This is the story of my first day.*

Chittagong, Bangladesh

Queens, New York



Ozone Park, New York

In Dhaka, I met your uncle in the airport and he helped me fill out the forms while I watched you and your brother. At that time, there was a Bangladeshi airline—there isn't one anymore. The plane stopped in Brussels for 8 hours, initially for a layover, but it ended up lasting longer because of a malfunction. I had to carry all of the bags and my two children because your uncle disappeared. One of the other Bengali women on our flight later scolded him.

They gave us a ticket for food and I bought sandwiches while you two ran back and forth on the escalators. We were all very tired. I remember speaking to a Bengali women in the Brussels airport, but I don't know what we talked about. After a while, we got back on the plane, and we landed in JFK. Your dad, his other brother, his sister, your dad's friend, and all your cousins were there in the airport. Your cousins brought flowers for me and a stuffed animal for you. We were supposed to arrive in the daytime but because of the flight malfunction it was already night. I could tell because it was dark outside. That time, because it was before 9/11, they could come inside parts of the airport to meet us. When we got outside, your Panna Apu pointed at the yellow cabs and said those were what the taxis looked like here. It was June 19. Schools were set to close a week later. We went to your aunt’s house and ate rice, but I don’t remember what else we ate.

I mostly sat in the backyard and visited your aunt’s house those first few days. We lived at first in Queens with your uncle, the one that flew with me. We did go to Jackson Heights one day in your dad’s car. You and your brother were so happy because you got to play with your cousins but you had both been alone in Bangladesh. I remember I was mostly scared to go outside alone. But when we moved to Brooklyn near Church Ave in September, I had to pick your brother up and dropped him. I don't feel like much changed in my life. I took care of you guys and did housework and your dad would go to work. My advice would be, if you can, when you come here to get your education here before you start working. My brother came three years ago and his MBA didn’t count at all. I wish he continued his education here instead of starting work at any old job.

* The contributor of this story has asked that their name be withheld.