‘Now this is a story all about me, when my life got twist turn upside down, if you like to take a minute just reading right here, I’ll write you how I became a prince of a town called New Jersey’ could you find a word that rhymes with New Jersey?
‘In East London I’m born and raised on a playground is where I’ve spent the most of my days chilling out, relaxing all cool and all kicking some football outside of school when a couple of guys, they were up to no good started making trouble in my neighbourhood I got in one little fight and my mum got scared and said “you’re moving with your aunt and uncle in New Jersey here, have this Hershey’ that kind of rhymes. If you didn’t know Hershey is a chocolate bar that is sold in America.
Although I would like to think that I was the fresh prince, my story didn’t exactly start out like that. Instead of my parents sending me to my relatives because of academic problems, I went because I have been nagging them for a really long time. I’m not saying that my academic level was reaching its fullest potential before I went, but the main reason I went was to have a taste of things to come. For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to live in one of those semi-detached American houses with the large front garden, golden retriever, two kids and a large garage.
When most people watch American films they are focused on the storyline, but when I watch them not only am I watching the story, but also at the back of my mind I am constantly absorbing the American background. Finally in the summer of 2000 July 3rd, I got the chance to have a taste of my dream. Even though it was just a small taste, it was enough to last me however long it will take to finally move there. When my parents did decide that it was o. k. to send me there, it was there idea of making me have a taste of the ‘real world’.
There idea of a taste of the ‘real world’ was my idea of a taste of a dream. At the time I had just finished my GCSE’s, and my grades were not that great. My parents had planned that America would change my course; I guess it did in the end but my biggest change was with my personality. When I did return I felt more confident, independent, funny and larger (thanks to those large American portions of food). Everything leading up to the day I left flew by and before I knew it I was in the airport sitting at the waiting room with my dad.
I remember my dad being really calm and cool about everything, he never really got sad in front of me especially with good-by’s. He told me stories about when he went to New York for the first time: ‘Now this is a story all about your dad, back in the day I also was bad, Your old man also had the American dream, thinking that it would be so cool and supreme, I stayed there for a while to learn the truth, that America was best lived in the movies, ‘what a poof! ‘ I never knew my dad could rap, looks as though he has a problem with finishing it as well.
To sum up my dads rap; he also had the American dream being brought up on James Dean movies. Throughout his teenage years he had dreamt up an image of what America would be like, unfortunately when he stayed there, it did not match his dream. That is how my dad tells the story, but I think there’s something he is not telling me. I also believe that my parents don’t want me to live far away from them because they regret moving far away from their parents when they were younger. On the plane, I sat next to an empty seat, which wasn’t bad as I wasn’t really good with the airplane conversations.
I travelled on Virgin Atlantic and the in-flight entertainment was great, they had a video screen in front of each seat with which I could play games, watch films and programmes. Anyway back onto America, I remember as we approached the New York coast I heard a passenger in the seat in front of me, “look there’s the statue of liberty” I looked to my right out of the window and saw her. She was a bit smaller then I had imagined (in Ghostbusters 2 she was huge! ), and she was green. I never actually realised that she was green before; I always thought she was grey.
I wasn’t disappointed though; looking at the New York skyline for the first time was great. However I still felt as though I was in England, maybe it would change when we land. After I collected my luggage, I went through the inspection terminal where policemen checked your passports. I found this strange but the strangest was to come, when I reached the gate where my aunt would be waiting for me. Oh yeah if I didn’t mention it before, I would be staying with my auntie there, like my parents were really going to let me stay there by myself.
Anyway along with the story, the last time I saw my aunt was when she visited England when I was 2 so… I was the first out into the arrival room and there was a crowd so large I felt like I was in one of those ‘where’s Wally’ books. I looked at the crowd and then a man taped my shoulder and pointed out my aunt to me. They were waving out to me trying to get my attention with a big sign with my name on it. I said thanks to the first American I made contact with and walked over to them. We did the usually Portuguese custom and did the kiss on the cheeks thing.
I originally thought that communication between us would be easy, but boy did I wish I brought my translator. They could barely understand me, and the fact that my ears were still popped from the plane journey didn’t help either. I felt like a deaf, posh Wally (as in Where’s Wally). The next day when I woke up, I had that weird feeling when I wake up in a different room and don’t know where I am (it was like that film Memento). Then I got up and looked at the picture of ‘the statue of liberty’ on the desk and remembered when I was on the plane.
I woke up to Independence Day and before I knew it I was on my way to a barbecue. It was a beautiful sunny day and boy was it hot! I wore light cloths but it was way hotter then I thought it would be. When I arrived there I met ‘The Martins’, they suited the typical average American household family everything apart from the golden retriever. Not that my aunt and uncle didn’t suit the typical American household image, but they lived in an apartment which was more like an episode of ‘Friends’. At the barbecue I ‘piged’ out big time, I don’t think I have ever eaten so much in such a small time.
I even got to drink my first bottle of Budweiser, I never really liked beer but after that I had chosen my favourite drink. I had also bonded really well with Bruno Martin and his friend Chris. Bruno showed me his loft that he lived in under his house; he had his own shower, living room. After the barbecue we went for a drive in the city, on my second day I was already in New York. We drove around for a while, but there was too much traffic so we had to stop and park near the Brooklyn Bridge (it was in the end of ‘Godzilla’). From there we watched the fireworks, there were lots of people that were watching with us.
After that we finally drove into the city and walked around in ‘Time Square’ (too many films too mention). I have never seen so many people from different countries in one place. That night I slept well knowing that when I wake up tomorrow I will definitely know where I am. A couple of weeks later I went out with Bruno and Chris again for a whole day out. First up was a visit to his high school, where we would play baseball on the field. I was looking forward to seeing what his school looked like, after all those years of seeing a typical American high school in TV programmes.
It was huge and the sports facilities were expensive. They had a huge football field (as in American football), and three outdoor tennis courts! It made the sports facilities back at my school look basic. We played baseball on the field, which is when I began to really feel American. Bruno and Chris were impressed with my skills, especially as I had hit more home runs then both of them. After that we went to the beach, which is when I began to feel as though I was David Hassolhof in an episode of Bay watch.
The weeks generally flew by, however there were some bad weeks when things were just going all wrong. When my aunt leaves for work each morning she would leave something that I could pop in the microwave. I however was not to sure on the rules of using a microwave and used a non-microwave plastic container to re-heat some chicken from the night before. I was just watching TV eagerly anticipating my meal, when I smelt smoke. I rushed into the kitchen; smoke was everywhere, opened the microwave and saw that the container had melted with the chicken inside it!
I threw it into the bin opened all the windows and turned the A/C to full power. I went for the air conditioner, hoping that I could diminish the smell of burnt plastic. When my aunt returned from work she could smell the burnt plastic straight away but thought that maybe the dogs litter tray needed to be cleaned out. I actually thought that I might get away with it until my mum realised the burn stain in the microwave, DUM DUM DUMM (that was meant to be when in movies when something bad happens). She caught and shouted at me for having both the windows open and the A/C on.
If you think that was bad, that is nothing compared to when I was taking Pepper (our dog) for a walk and a huge dog attacked him. That was really scary, the owner of the big scary dog, couldn’t even release his own dog. The dogs jaws were looked tightly on Pepper’s neck all I could was watch. Luckily Pepper survived and was treated for minor bite wounds. Towards the end of my visit my vacation began to look up greatly. I visited New York more often and went on the Statue of Liberty and on the World Trade Centres.
I remember when I went to the twin towers the tour guide on the lift told us that the lift was travelling at 30 mph (or something like that) and I could feel my feet feel light as we got closer to the top. The top three floors were accessible to tourists including the roof. To get to the roof you would take a escalator, all you could see when you were going up was bright blue sky and I felt as though when the escalator reached the top I would go over the edge. When I finally plucked up the courage to get on the roof the view was beautiful.
You could see for miles, all the wonders of New York were in view from one place. When I returned showing my photos from the roof, my friends thought that I was on a helicopter. On my visit to the big green woman, I actually realised clearly how large she was up-close. I thought about how long she has been there for, everything she would have seen. Throughout seeing all the sites a common image would occur to me of re-visiting these sites when I move to America. For me New York was a place to visit not to live in.
I have always wanted to live in the house from Home Alone, which is set in Chicago. I have always like the Christmassy look. Returning back to England was weird as when I went to America. Once again no-body could understand me (by now I have an American accent), I had to get use to the money as well. The weird thing about America is that when you get use to it you don’t even realise that you are living in America. Although you are use to it, you still notice differences here and there. My American dream is still there, its just a matter of until I make it into reality.