By Ashley Mma Igbokwe
As a regular 12- year- old Nigerian, I jumped with excitement on hearing that I would be travelling out of the country. Not just to any country, but to America. What?!! The land of the free? The home of the rich? The problem-free abode? I geeked with joy, for somehow, I thought I might transform into a whole new person, and be free from all my worries or problems. I packed a few of my clothes, probably thinking that new clothes would automatically be handed to me at the airport or something. I also thought that I might grow some wings or a couple of feathers the moment I cross the borders. I can’t even explain what I had in mind.
As I stepped into the aircraft, I glanced with awe at the air hostesses with their beautiful smiles, bright red lipsticks, and poised stance. This made my expectation even more unrealistic. Don’t get me wrong. I had been educated, raised right, and taught the importance of hard work. I just didn’t think that anyone needed to work hard in America. I had learned to be kind and generous, but didn’t think that anyone was ever sad, in need of a friend, or poor in America. With this perfect picture in my head, I slept peacefully from Murtala Muhammed International airport, Lagos, to Thurgood Marshall Airport, Washington D.C., excluding layovers, of course.
During the first week of my arrival, while driving down the road with my aunt in her mustard colored jeep, I would say to myself, “I am in America ''. It didn’t seem rea