Hadeel Al-Daoud, graduate student in Communication, shared her story of moving to the United States from Jordan.
I grew up in a small town in Amman, Jordan, in the Middle East, where everything was different. Life in the Middle East is definitely a different experience, a different culture, different traditions, and even a change of a life style.
Living as a Jordanian family meant that you always have each other’s backs, family comes first, and the culture and tradition have to always be respected by the young and the elderly. For instance, on special occasions, we would cook our traditional meal that is called “Mansaf,” which is made of rice, meat, and boiled yogurt, cooked in a specific way and served in a wide tray, which is covered with a Middle Eastern bread and then topped off with toasted pine nuts and almonds. Usually the elderly eats first, which indicates respect; we have certain rituals of how to eat this dish, and that’s something that I did not find here in the United States.
After living and growing up in Jordan for 19 years, my parents decided that it was time for us to move to the United States and continue our lives there, where my mom’s family lived in Michigan. The political atmosphere and situation in the Middle East weren’t that great, so my parents thought that it would be better if we move here and start a new life, with better job opportunities and a different life style.
My siblings and my mother and me left Jordan in 2014, while my dad stayed back home, because we had a family business that he had to take care of before being able to come here. It was very hard on all of us the first year. You know, growing up in one place for your whole entire life, and then suddenly you move to a different continent, leaving behind your family, and friends, and even places that you created memories in for 19 years, isn’t as easy as you can imagine.
Although we took a lot of our clothes and pictures with us, we left behind so many things that meant a lot to us. Because my family things weren’t just material objects, but things were memories, with people we love and places we’ve spent time in that, no matter where we go, they will forever hold a place in our heart.
Even though moving was very heard at first and it took us time to adapt to the changes, a couple of months after, we started getting used to the lifestyle in the United States, and we started making friends, and creating new memories with the other half of our family. We learned new things and made lifestyle changes. See, change is hard especially if you’ve had the same lifestyle and routine for 19 years, but living and learning how to experience new things is beautiful, too.