How I Came to this Country and My Hopes for the Future

by Zebun Nisa

Photo of ZebunMy name is Zebun Nisa and I am from Pakistan. I have seven children, ages 25, 24, 22, 18, 17, 14, and 12. Two months ago, my four youngest children came with me to the United States, where we were reunited with my husband. Before he moved to the United States, my husband worked with a shipping company. He now drives a taxi cab at National airport.

When my husband first came to the United States, he had a mishap. He lost his passport and had a great deal of difficulty getting a new one. He had to request new papers from the embassy in New York and it took many months to get a new visa and a green card. Once he finally was able to get a green card, he sponsored our family into the United States. All this took three years. It was a very difficult time for our family. Two of our children could not join us in the United States because they are older than eighteen years of age and are therefore considered to be adults.

I think about my family often, both the family members who are with me and the ones that I left behind in Pakistan. I would like someday for my oldest son to come to the United States and work with my husband. I would like for them to make a good living working in a good job.

I would also like to have a job. I am Muslim. We do not believe that women should take jobs in offices and stores. My husband does not want me to work outside the home. He would like for me to take jobs that I can do in our house. For example, I could baby-sit for other people's children in my home.

I would like to learn how to speak English better. Right now it is difficult for me to explain things to other people because I do not know many words. I think that when I learn how to speak English I will feel more comfortable in this country.

My four youngest children are all students. I would like for my children to learn all their subjects well and continue their studies. I want my two youngest sons to become engineers or doctors and I hope that they respect my wishes. My older children attend the university in Pakistan. One is studying engineering while another is taking computer courses. I hope the four children who have come with me continue to live in the United States because here they will get a good education, find good jobs, and they will also be near me.

Another dream I have is for my family to own a big house. When I used to live in the Modeltown area of Lahore, Pakistan, we had a large house with a beautiful garden and two big lawns, front and back. Ours was a two-story home made out of tile and cement, with beautiful decorations and furniture inside. We had many flowers and other kinds of plants in our garden. I loved to care for our plants and work on the lawn. I like plants, especially roses and money plants. The money plant is a kind of vine that grows up walls.

If I could change one thing in my neighborhood, I would like for us to be able to talk to one another more often. Most of my neighbors speak Spanish and I don't know how to speak Spanish. Ours is the only Pakistani family in the neighborhood. This is why I don't often talk with the people who live around me. After I've lived here for a long time, I hope that I will be able to speak English well so that I can talk to other people. I might even learn other languages.

Most of my family still lives in Pakistan. My mother and my mother-in-law are very old and sick and I want to see them again. When my four youngest children are settled in the United States I will go back to visit the rest of my family in Pakistan.

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Last Updated By Gail Matthews-DeNatale: 10/08/96