My Journey to America The day I got here!
It's 3:30pm, the second day of September 2018, in the San Francisco International Airport in California. I just said goodbye to the friend I made while waiting to board this final flight to SFO. I see her walk away into an embrace with her family who came to pick her up. If there was any hint of having company, it's no more. Now I am truly alone as I summon all the courage, preparing to face this new giant – The United States of America.
I’m as excited as I am nervous. It’s a good feeling to know I am about to start a life in a new place, but I don’t let my mind dwell too much on the excitement as I am not sure if I can even make it smoothly to the Airbnb I booked a few days ago, back home in Nairobi. I do not know anyone here and nobody is expecting me, but I do know that in the next two weeks I need to be settled down, going to school, and have some sort of part-time job, otherwise the ‘system’ will spit me out. I have no idea how that is going to happen, but as they say, “a ship in the dock is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.” I have left the safety of my homeland to explore the sea and I feel ready enough for whatever it might throw my way; hopefully, it’s not a shark!
I rush for my luggage and hop into a taxi, heading to Oakland. I want to get there in daylight because my basic research about Oakland mostly highlighted the gory side and left out all the glory. I also happened to book the crème de la crème of cheap, so I figure there won’t be any bellboy or doorman waiting to show me to my upper bunk bed which I paid $19/night for. Well, this is a lot of money from where I came from, so don't judge. Lo and behold, after two hours’ drive and $140 taxi bill later, there’s no one to even open the gate to apartment number Xyz right next to West Oakland BART station. Had I known any better I would have paid $10 on a BART ride for the same journey in less time. Damn it!
The taxi guy lends me his phone to try and call the owners to come open the gate for me, it goes unanswered. He politely hands me his business card for the next time I need a taxi ride and drives off. I drag my luggage and claim a spot at the gate. I will wait here!
Look out for the next chapter in the next issue.