Jamal Musa

See below for a link to Jamal’s audio file.


Going into a New Chapter

When I was seven years old, my parents decided that we would move to the Middle East. 

I was ecstatic to hear this; however, I was upset about leaving the States. Traveling somewhere was something I have never done before, so I knew this was going to be a life-changing experience.

Now, when our parents gave us this news we were excited, but we were also confused.

We did not know what or where the Middle East was; we were not sure as to how everything was going to work since we were so young. Moving there meant a whole new lifestyle, from school to friends to everyday life. This meant we would have to say goodbye to our friends and move on with a different life. 

The day we left, our parents had packed everything up, and we were ready to go. There was a ton of luggage and boxes around us as we stared at our empty home. Our uncle was our ride to the airport; we had loaded the van and headed on our way. Once we arrived at the airport, we said our farewell to our uncle. Airport security was the first thing we had to go through, which was long and annoying. We had to go through tons of metal detectors, get searched by security guards, have our bags searched, and more. The whole process repeated itself three to four times which got frustrating. Once you get past all the security, the airport itself is really fun. There were many shops to browse, food to eat in the food courts, and giant displays of screens telling all the flights that are there. Once we ate, we sat down and waited for our flight; the wait was an hour-and-a-half-long, but it felt like forever. When they called our gate number, our dad told us that our flight was ready, and we were ready to go. Before we boarded the plane, the flight attendant checked our tickets, and we were seated. This was going to be my first time on an airplane, and I was nervous. I, just like many other people, was afraid the plane would not land, but I was more afraid of being in the air. My mom was there to comfort me which helped calm me down. The plane also offered other cool things like movies and video games to enjoy while on the flight.

Finally, we landed in Amman, Jordan. Coming out of the airplane, my ears were popping since we were on a twelve-hour flight. We picked up our luggage and headed outside. Now like I said earlier, I did not know what to expect from Jordan; I had maybe expected it to be something like New York or Chicago, but once we went outside, I was disappointed to see it was just a desert. I did not want to judge, however, so I still kept my hopes up. We got my grandpa to help give us a ride to our home that my parents had purchased for us before we arrived there. It was not much of a home but more of an apartment, but it was the nicest apartment in the area. When we arrived, our furniture had not come in yet, so we had to make th best of it. Living in Jordan for the first time, I hated it. There were constant mosquitoes biting my legs due to the environment, the internet was not fast, no one spoke English, and they did not have the sources of entertainment we were familiar with. It was nothing like America, and that upset us. We begged our dad for us to leave and go back, but he told us that we would be living here for a while. 

As time went on, we slowly started to enjoy the Middle East more and more. We started to appreciate our culture, we enjoyed the people over there, we loved the food, family time, and more. However, three years later, my dad had changed his mind and decided to go back to America for business reasons. Ironically, we were devastated by this news. We did not want to leave and were in love with our home country. We asked our dad if there was any way for us to stay, but it was not possible.

Overall, the Middle East is a place I am glad we lived in at one point since it gave me a whole new perspective on life and helped me to understand our culture and original roots better. Living in the Middle East is something I definitely took for granted, and I always wish to go back. The moral of the story, do not judge a book by its cover like I did when I first arrived in the Middle East.

Please click on the arrow below to hear Jamal’s Senior Reading.