Hearing the flaps come up, feeling the wheels touch down once more upon solid ground, looking through the window and seeing the terminals at Newark International planted the purest mass of goose bumps all over my skin. Holy Macaroni with cheese I was in America. My awe was not in awesome wonder to be in this world power but rather in shock, a moment I had dreamed of for the people that live in the land and how far I had come in just over a year with a lot of help from my friends.
A year on and finally someone also confirmed my life long suspicions of being an Alien (the Pilot told all of us to fill in special forms). See the Americans call anyone foreign an alien, thankfully not specifically green but classified by rainbow and universal continent stroke star. I quickly pinched myself while listening to the pilot and rubbed my newly accepted alien skin and set off to go find the people that had to interrogate me to ascertain that I was indeed going to return to the planet I was born to.
Now it was at this point that I realised the American government had taken this “alien” word to the next level. They seemed to think that we aliens have serious ESP and working internal GPS systems… there were no signs (that I could see) pointing me in the direction of passport control. I followed the rest of the rainbow aliens from universes unknown and eventually found the interrogation panel with surprisingly short queues and computers that had mysteriously crashed. 30 minutes later and sweat pouring off everyone in the line I eventually got called to the booth were one of the most gorgeous New Yorkers sat. Look at this point anything behind that 5 inch glass wall was going to look like a Hugo Boss underwear model!
He asked me a few questions about why I was visiting and then when he heard it was for work and what kind of work I did he asked another… “Is there space for me at your company???”. Yes there was a sparkle in his eye and a big grin on his face. While we continued to chat about South Africa and the odd way I speak he stamped my entry “approved” and wished me well on my trip. What a sweetie he was… ok moving along…
We were picked up by friends and driven in the fresh night air and tall trees to their home in Pennsylvania. I lay back on the back seat with my head on the headrest and just watched it all float by as if in a dream. It was so so surreal… ME? In America?