Sunday, April 19, 2009

Leaving Afghanistan

I was born in Afghanistan in 1970 to the best of my parents knowledge. My mom wrote it down July 22nd of 1970. They wrote it down on a piece of paper, there was really no birth certificates or anything like that.

I don’t remember too much, I just remember little, little details about certain things, like for instance I remember having this little eraser that smelled like fruit, and I remember getting out of school and buying this little dish of food every day that they would sell, it was like a spicy sort of thing with a lot of vinegar in it that I loved. I don’t even remember until I was in America that somebody showed me a picture, I think it was my cousin’s picture, I was like “What is that?” She goes “That was my uniform.” I was like “You wore a scarf with a white shirt and a black skirt?” She goes “Yeah, that's what we used to wear in school there.” I don't even remember that, my uniform, but those are the things that, you know, I guess stuck in my memory, and I just remember one packback that I had, a bag. I loved it. So I don’t remember a recollection of a lot of things from there, I just remember little details of eating certain fruits that I loved, berries, but it wasn’t too many of other things.

I just know that when we were coming to America we were all excited, and we were all packing up and leaving and, um, all of a sudden my aunt was crying, my grandmother was crying, and I was wondering “Why are they crying?” because my parents told us we were going to a wedding, my uncle’s wedding, but we were really leaving the country quietly without knowing.

But on our way coming to America I do remember we had these camels to go through the desert, and we were like “Wow! We’re going to dress like nomads!” We were very excited, we never got to see a camel before, we didn't’ get to dress like that, we were very excited, we thought we were in a zoo. We didn’t know, they didn't’ tell us so it wouldn't slip out of our mouths. I do remember in the middle of the desert they were like “All right, everybody stop,” and we were in a lot of pain from our legs and everything, and we were like tired and like wondering “Why is everything so hush-hush?” and not realizing that we were leaving. It was kind of sad but we thought, it didn’t click to us, we were very young and very naive. There was more to it and we weren’t supposed to know.

1 comment:

  1. Jill!
    I love the food and smell memories--the little eraser is something that I remember from my own childhood and that common detail made me feel so much more connected to her. I also like seeing her as a child through her adult eyes. The camel detail is also important because it reveals a little more about what kind of life she led. I would have expected most people to have seen camels, especially in a place where they are actually used as livestock and transportation. Her childhood excitement about the camel helped me realize how cosmopolitan her family was.