1994 | St. George, Trinidad & Tobago | Age: 24
I have the shirt I wore and the plane tickets. The airline doesn’t exist anymore. But this object I have here is a toy I received for one Christmas. It’s in a terrible state and it’s all taped up, but I’ve kept it anyway, and it still works. I was probably around 5 or 6 when my mother gave it to me. It’s amazing the little things we take for granted. I would have gotten this and maybe some balloons and some wooden cars, and I was very happy with just that. I didn’t intend to keep it this long, but it is unique. My kids are 10 and 15, and I’m happy that I can share a bit of my childhood memories with them.
My older sister came here in the ‘70s, and she had applied for my mom to come up at that time. But my mom didn’t want to leave my brother and me in Trinidad. She felt we would go astray without her. So she waited until the early ‘90s to come here, and then she filed for us. It was supposed to be me, my brother, and our other sister. Sadly, my sister passed away just before we were all supposed to leave. She had Hepatitis B. People aren’t supposed to die of that! But for some reason she just got very sick. I remember her eyes were so yellow and bulging. It was really, really sad. She was my buddy, just two years older. We were so good together. We could have done so much in this place together.
I came here when I was 25 in the fall of ‘95. I think it was in the last days of October. When I got off the plane, it was a bit cool, and I felt this breeze like walking into the ice box. I remember my first snowfall. My mother had told me a lot about what it was like here and what to expect, so she spoiled all the fun. The snow wasn’t as surprising as it could have been. Now I’m not crazy about it because I have to shovel it.
My mom paved my way here, so there was really no hassle. I came with my green card, and I was able to find a job right away. I can say that my story is positive because I came here without any issues. It was pretty much an easy path, so maybe it’s not that interesting.
My mom passed away a while ago, but she made sure I would be settled here. Then she went back because she couldn’t take apartment living anymore. She missed being outside. She had been living in the Bronx at the time. There was no garden, and she had loved plants. So she went back, and I was able to spend some time with her. I was able to send money home to her, and I went back to visit her. It felt good to take care of my mom.