“Little girl, I’m sorry to hear what you have been through and it would be committing a crime to send you back to your past. I wish you good luck in the future”. After countless battles with the judge and the jury we finally got our legal rights as residents of USA. I still cry when I think of that day.
If it wasn’t for my father, I would not be where I am now. He gave me courage throughout my life, pushed me as hard as he could so I could experience success among the other painful feelings. He has suffered as much as I have, or probably more. Sometimes I place myself in his shoes and I wonder how terrible it is to be away from your daughter for three months, living in constant fear, tasting your tears night and day, hoping and praying that the kidnappers will not harm your daughter, and return her home safe.
I was 6 years old when they took me away from my father. It was the time when communism was reaching its end in Albania, and democracy was knocking on our door. Many people, with their newfound-freedom, exploded like a bunch of criminals escaping from prison. They were greedy and hungry for money. And among the other victims, there I was, my head covered with a black piece of cloth and a rope in my mouth. The only thing I remember from the experience is asking God why was he doing this to me, and what did my father and I do to deserve this?
After three months I was back into my daddy’s arms again. Years went by and my father and I became almost inseparable. I worked really hard in school and always got straight A’s just to see that smile on his face, and the joy in his eyes.
As I was growing up, my father realized that the education system in Albania was not good enough for me and there would be no future for me there. Taking me by his hand, we went to the American Embassy to ask for two visas – so we could move to the USA. However, I was refused a visa. Being an ambitious man, my father did not give up and promised both of us that we were going to America no matter what. We traveled to Canada, and from there I crossed the border into the US.
“Welcome to the United States!” said the truck driver as I was coming out of the dark area of the truck where I had been hiding for the past 6 hours. I came to America illegally. I did feel horrible, but the sense of excitement soon replaced it. My dad flew to America since he had a visa, and we met each other again in Albany. Soon I found myself standing in front of the judge who represented our destiny. His decision would shape our lives forever. I felt a huge relief when he made his judgment; after-all the obstacles I had been through, it felt good to know that God was still with me. I was permitted to stay in the US and continue my education.
In everything I have done and still do my father is right by my side. He has dedicated all his life to me. With his help and my ambition I learned to speak fluent English in five months; going from ESL (English as a Second Language) classes to AP (Advanced Placement) classes in my senior year. I learned from my father the values of determination, ambition, diligence, and respect for education.
Years have gone by and my father is not as young as he used to be. Even though he will not be able to follow and help me as much as he used to, I will always make him feel useful. I will continue to bring that smile to his face, that shine in his eyes for everything the future holds for me.