The Long Expedition From China to the United States of America
I have always been fond of traveling and wandering to different places. As a young child, I have imagined myself going places. Being independent was something that my parents have wanted to inculcate in me. They wanted me to learn the basics of life without them beside me all the time. So they gave me the chance to travel to the United States and try to live an independent life.
My plane trip to the United States was far different from the others I had. I heard a lot of extraordinary things about the country, that I wanted to see for myself. This was one of the trips were I was so ecstatic and eager to go. I equipped myself with the necessary things that would help me for the whole duration of my flight. I followed all rules and regulations stipulated by each country, and made sure that everything I needed was there.
The flight to Los Angeles, California ran smoothly. Aside from some turbulence that we have experienced, everyone with me on the flight seemed satisfied. As the plane landed, we were instructed to have our immigration papers ready, accompanied by the carousel number where our baggages were located. Before I left my seat, one of the flight attendants approached me and asked me for my permit to travel. It seemed that she has mistaken me for a minor. I immediately answered that I did not need any permit for I was not a minor anymore. Showing her my passport, she apologized for the misinterpretation and assisted me to the plane door.
As I was walking towards the immigration, I thought about how the flight attendant perceived me. Was I feeble and childish for me to be mistaken as a minor? Did I lack some qualities that were asked of a person of legal age? These were the questions that ran through my mind as I was approaching the Immigration.
At the immigration, I was faced with another challenge. As I handed my passport over, the officer kept on staring at me. I was nervous at first, for I knew that Immigration Officers were very particular with people, especially those traveling alone. He asked me a series of questions that I confidently answered. After my picture was taken, the officer looked at me again and asked me, “How old are you again?” I answered him confidently, “I am twenty two, sir”. Then he let me pass.
I wen to the carousel, where my bags where located and started looking for them. The bags fell from a slide that was located at the top of the carousel, and spun in a pacing motion. People were lined around the carousel and gave a lot of energy and strength as they lifted those heavy bags. Since my baggages were larger than I am, I had to wait for the carousel to come to a complete stop so it would be easier for me to pull them out. As I placed my baggages in my cart, I noticed a white, bearded guy staring at me. He was wearing a blue uniform, that looked like an overalls, and a black belt that had little pockets around. He looked alert, and was very observant with the people who came to their country.
Customs was one of the last stops before I was finally admitted to Los Angeles. I fell in line, and was surprised to see the same guy at the end of the line. It turned out that the bearded guy staring at me earlier was the Customs officer. I gave him the customs sheet, together with my passport, which he immediately reviewed. Then he looked at me and said, “I have been watching you when you were waiting for your baggages. I would just like to know how old you are and if you have a permit to travel?” I was surprised to hear the same question that people have been asking me since I arrived in Los Angeles. I told him, “Sir, I am already twenty two years old, and I do not need a permit to travel.” “Ok then, welcome to the United States”, he said smilingly. He stretched his arms, as if telling me to go on.
Before I was led out of the airport, a guy with the same uniform guided me as to where I should proceed. As I went pass him, the officer stopped me by saying, “Hold on, hold on. Can I see your permit to travel?” I went back and told the officer with an irritated look, “Sir, as mentioned earlier, I am not a minor anymore. I do not need a permit to travel”. The officer smiled and asked me “Can I please see your passport?” I gave him my passport with an irritated look on my face. He matched my picture with my face, making sure that I was both. Funny but irritating. Then he asked me again, “How old are you again?” I said, “Sir, I am twenty two years old” He smiled and gave my passport back. The officer looked at me and said, “My dear, welcome to the United States. Please go straight ahead then turn right.” I followed his instructions and soon, I was out the airport, with friends and relatives waiting for me. I was ready to share with them one of the most memorable stories ever.