27 October 2022

My first friend from Fiji !!

“What is your name?”, I asked the usherer as she walked me to my breakfast table in the completely empty restaurant at Carvallo Point Lodge in Sausalito.
“Can you spell that out for me?”
Which she did.
“And what is the last name?”
“Wow! I have not heard those names ever. Where are the names from?”
“Wow! You are the first person I know from Fiji!!”
“Oh! At first, I thought you are from Fiji too!”
“Well, Roy is a common last name in Fiji. In fact our soccer superstar has Roy as his last name.”
“I did not know that!”

As I mentioned, there were no other customer around. Which gave me some time to get to know Mereseini.
“Your last name – does it have a meaning?”
“A rock”
“Oh! It reminds me of another country near you – Vanuatu! It has the letters of your last name”
“You have been there?
“No. I have never been to the Polynesian islands. But I have heard about those countries. The other country there that I know with the letters of your last name is Tuvalu. Which has a funny capital name. But I cannot remember.”
“Funafuti”, she reminded me.
“Yes. I had forgotten!

“Tell me a little about your country. All I know is your capital name, Vijay Singh and Fijian water – which I am not sure if it is from Fiji at all”.
“Well, it is a poor country. And living is hard.”
“Your family is there still?”
“Why did you come to America?”
“I had heard that there are lots of opportunities to work here.”
“Who told you? How did you know there is lots of work opportunities here?”
“By reading up and hearing from other people”

“Okay. So, how did you come here?”
“I have a green card”
“Thru your husband or family here sponsored you?”
“Oh! I am not married. I won the lottery.”
“The green card lottery?”
“Yes. I did not get the first time. So, I applied again. I could not believe my luck when I got it the second time. I came here last year.”

“Wow! So, now that you are here, what do you want to do with your life?”
“I want to join the army”
“The army? Why?”
“I have always wanted to be in the armed forces. Plus the benefits are very good”.
“I see.”

By this time, the server had arrived to take my order. And I had to once again go thru the coin toss in my mind – what was it going to be? – vegetable omelette or two eggs sunny side up?

Chomping thru the breakfast (the coin came up on the sunny side up, by the way), I could not help mull over how industrious and adventurous young folks like Mereseine are. Coming to a completely different country in a completely different hemisphere – north south wise and east west wise – with nobody here – to restart life from scratch. And how luck is such a crucial factor in the journey of life.

Not to speak of how blessed we still are in America.

Hope to run into Mereseine – and more folks like her – in my journeys.

Posted October 27, 2022 by Rajib Roy in category "Intersection Points

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