What is your name?
What year did you come to the US?
1984. I took the plane, and then from when we arrived at JFK airport, I took a taxi to where my mom was living. And that was Eastern Parkway. And I thought I was excited coming to America, so I was excited about it.
What was your first impression of this country?
It was cold [laughs]! Cold, and the house was looking old because we currently have big houses and, so this was totally different. When I arrived-- we usually have a big house in the Caribbean-- and when I arrived, I was living in a room with my Mom. We had a bed, and a chair...it was not a place that we could go outside and play, because I was 15 years old and we would usually be outside. So it was like, when it reached daylight, so-- when my mom was leaving, I was very upset about it, because I thought it was totally different. I was crying. Yeah, I wanted to go back home with my friends.
Over here it was cold, I arrived when it was wintertime, so it was very cold. I never had so much layer of clothes. In the Caribbean, it’s sunny and you run outside barefooted, and you’re outside all day. And up here, you have to always be clothed, put a lot of clothes on in the wintertime, and it’s totally different, everything was different from the Caribbean.
Did America live up to your expectations?
No [laughs]. No, not at all. Because I thought, you know, it was nice and clean, and beautiful, and everything was like glamorous, but it’s not like that. That’s the impression everybody gives here. But no, it was not the way I expected it to be.
Now, of course yeah it’s a better choice because now I have my kids, I have you guys, and if I was in Saint Lucia probably I’ll have different kids than you guys so definitely, it’s a better choice, yeah.
Why did you make the decision to stay?
No choice! My mom was up here and she was staying for all the children, and I was the first to come up and to get, you know, to go to school and have a better life up here so I had no choice to stay.