Sacrifice

1995, the war has ended, a family with a three year old little girl

A family that looks as it has seen dark nights and even darker days

A family that had survived a genocide in the 19th century

A family that survived persecution based on their religon

A family that scraps together to make it out alive together

 

1999, they work hard to make an honest living

Working hard to support their growing family

A new addition was on the way in the shape of a pink bundle

Times are hard but the future looks bright

There's nothing left to do but thrive

 

2000, I was brought into this world on a bright August day

Those days soon turned dark as corruption took over

I'm sorry ma'am, we regret to inform you of your termination

I'm sorry sir, we regret to inform you of your termination

Those bright days are fleeting like the hope inside this family 

 

2001, a once in a lifetime opportunity

World Relief is offering the family one way ticket to the United States

This is the equivalence of winning the lottery in that hopeless place

The family packs their bags full, not of clothing, but of pots and pans

and other useful items that they know will be expensive in the other country

 

2002, the family came to the U.S with only two hundred dollars in their pockets

Lives in a one bedroom apartment in the cheapest neighborhood of Chicago

The father, working as a janitor in a highschool, keeps his engineering degree safe in the closet 

The mother, works as a dental assistant, keeps her engineering degree safe in the closet

The eldest daughter, nine years old, is bullied at school for not knowing english, and the youngest, oblivious

 

2005, the family nervously waits in line amongst others

Today is the day they trade their green cards for citizenship

They recite the anthem of a country not of their own blood

They take on the adopted culture in order to survive

All I remember was saying the Pledge of Allegiance in broken English to an unknown lady

 

2008, is the first year I fill out government documents for my parents

At eight years old I am still in English as a Second Language classes

ESL taught we colors and numbers, not what it means when it says what is your total household income

My older sister and I take turns calling the electric company begging for more time to pay the bill

This is the year I started feeling the hurt behind the words directed at me

 

2010, is the first year I see the way people look at my family weirdly in public

We speak in our native tongue and people shy away from us

Go back to your country they say

But how are we supposed to go back to a country that is destroyed?

Back to a country that has caused PTSD and anxiety? Back to a country I only know through stories?

 

 

2012, they say good things take time and those who wait will always persevere

My parents get their engineering degrees recognized by their employers

They both start work as engineers in the city of Chicago

They afford to move us out of the poverty stricken neighborhood

They afford to sign me up for a soccer team that was not possible in the past

 

2020, I owe it all to my parents that bravely came to an alien nation

How took the risk of coming to a country whose language sounded like gibberish

They fought and survived and dug their way out of the dirt all for my sister and I

They made the greatest sacrifice there is in hopes of a better future for us

When you ask me of my inspiration, I proudly say that my immigrant parents are the reason I will never see a dark day

 

This poem is about: 
Me
My family
My country
Our world

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