Fourteen years ago, my daughter and I came to the U.S. My husband and my son were already here. Nelly, my husband’s cousin, picked us up at JFK airport; then, she took us to Connecticut, where she lived. It was a windy Saturday when we arrived, and lucky for us, my husband had already found a job in New Jersey.
My husband had been living in a friend’s house for fifteen days, that same friend got him the job as an electrician. Julian was his new friend. Julian lived with his wife and his new baby, which was almost 40 days old.
It was Monday; My husband called me and said that Julian’s wife needed help on her last day of “Dieta,” meaning the 40th day after the baby is born. In my country, the previous day, it has a special meaning since it is the day women take a medicinal planted base shower and must be in her bedroom for a whole day.
Therefore, Julian’s wife needed help with our traditional ritual, and who else than myself for that job since everybody in his family had it to work. So, the next Wednesday, Nelly took me to Dandury’s train station. Before leaving me at the station by myself. She put a word with one of the passengers and recommend me to him since it was my first time taking a train in an English-speaking country and she seemed concerned about it knowing that she never had to travel o N.Y. by train.
I took the train, and I travel alone from Connecticut to Penn Station, New York. And here it goes all the confusion. It was her understanding that this train’s last stop would be Penn Station, the place where my husband actually would be waiting for me. Therefore I got to the NYC train station with a big bag, without a cell phone or any English language. The first thing I did was looking around for any public telephones.
I asked around between hand signals and some basic English, and I learned that telephones were located on the first floor, so I took my big bag and went downstairs. So, I called my husband to know where exactly he was, and he said, “I am at the information booth.” and right after that, he said, “I’m waiting for you with my open arms.”
Once again, I took my big bag, and I looked around and asked for directions. Eventually, I found the information booth, but I didn’t see my husband. That was a big surprise! After trying all the information booths on every floor at the station, I called my husband again, and I told him that I was close to the exhibition of sports cars.
He now angry for all the waiting says back to me, “Are you crazy? I asked, and this station hasn’t had any display like that. At that moment, I knew something was wrong, but how could I have any reason for having that conclusion if I had been in the U.S for five days only?
I was exhausted, hungry, and troubled, I called my husband again, and he said that it was a good idea if I would walk on the street to see whats was around. After two hours and several attempts, I went up the stairs to ask a policeman for information, by the way, it was my very first time seeing one, and he corroborated my thought.
I called for the last time my husband and I told him that we were at two different train stations. Yes, this is a true story, my husband had been waiting for me all this time at Penn Station, and I had arrived at Grand Central Station.
In my last call with my husband, he asked me if I could take the train to Elizabeth, New Jersey, by myself. I answered, “Yes,” So I went to find a train ticket to go to Elizabeth, but surprisingly at the ticket booth, I learned that this train station had no trains to go to Elizabeth.
Consequently, I asked for directions, and I walked from Grand Central to Penn Station with my big bag. I was alone and afraid because I was in “The Capital of the World,” so I walked faster. Fortunately, Manhattan seems like a square, and it had an easy way to follow street numbers.
Lucky for me, I was never afraid to ask for directions, and people in New York are kind and helpful. Ultimately, around midnight I arrived at Elizabeth train station, where my husband and his friend were waiting for me.