"I came to America to make more money.
It was a trend."
Deanna Gatchalian Ilas
The plane was stuffy and filled with too many nervous people. They have too much baggage on them, too many reasons to move to America. I move to make money and have more stable life, but they move from war and family. Even if they do leave, they have their family. I only have myself. My husband and one-year-old son are still in San Juan.
I walk to customs, my dad’s words come to mind. “Don’t become nurse. All you need is to marry a good man.” I trudge along and follow the rest of the line to get my stamp. The U.S. stamps.
When I step up into the line to get my passport stamped, someone says, “Welcome, what is your name?” I answer with Deanna Gatchalian Ilas. When I get my passport stamped, something else is handed to me.
My green card. That’s what’s inside. The thing stating that I’m a permanent resident. I’m here now. I'm in America. I walk through the airport with an I’m-a-permanent-resident-of-America-and-I’m-proud look. Finally. After uncomfortable and lonely plane rides and loud people. Disagreeing fathers and complicated spouses.
Welcome to America.