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There are many narratives that tell stories of immigrants who came to the United States in search of the quintessential ‘American dream’ – a good job, a house with a yard for the kids to play in, financial security, and the freedom to follow your heart to wherever it may lead you. This narrative is one that holds a sense of awe and mysticism, and it seems that everyone has heard of the inspiring success stories. They may even have wondered what their life would be like if they took a chance and tried something completely new - but what about the narrative of the ex-patriot who leaves this dream in search of a new one? This story is one that tells the untold narrative of not the ex-patriot, but his son - Simon Amoni, who watched his father figure move to another country halfway across the world for his job, taking his mother, and thus almost his entire support system with him.

There can be many interpretations of this narrative and many themes that prevail, but it is most interesting to see how world-views can become altered so quickly that we do not even remember when it happened. It is hard to imagine the sacrifices that moving to another country entails, some that many people will never know and cannot even imagine. While these of course depend on the people involved, many of them are the same. Family gets left behind back home, it is inevitable – and thus, family becomes disconnected. Entire ways of life must change and be adapted to the new surroundings. These are struggles that even if everyone does not go through them, they can acknowledge their strength.

This is Simon Amoni’s story.

Simon at his home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Twenty-eight hours later and the plane finally touches down. It was an exhausting trip both mentally and physically - full of the stresses of travel, but also of uncertainty. He has flown across the globe but at least he’s finally here, for the first time. His parents welcome him with open arms and excitement in their eyes, but this is not home for him. It is a completely different and foreign world, and one that has completely changed not only his perspective but almost every aspect of his life, and most certainly, his family’s life.

Simon must go on a 28 hour plane just to see his parents.

Waking up is a whole new routine. Outside of the sleek, new, high-rise apartment that his parents now live in he can hear the people of Singapore starting their busy lives at an astonishing pace. He is just barely getting out of bed and already car horns, sirens and sounds of people bustling through the streets are audible. This would be a comfort to him, hearing other people and knowing that is he is not alone here, but he cannot understand anything that they say. He speaks fluent Italian, but that won’t help him now. He has tried to make peace with the fact that he will learn so much by being out his comfort zone, but at the same time, he never thought that would feel uncomfortable when he was home.

This place is nothing like he is used to, the exact definition of foreign. His house in Cary, North Carolina where he grew up with his parents and two sisters was a spacious, quintessential American home with a grassy lawn and garden; a two-car garage, a small street, friendly neighbors and a basketball court that he played on every day after school. The only sounds perceptible in the morning would come from the school bus down at the corner and the occasional barking dogs. Everything here was quieter, simpler, and familiar.

Credits:

Created with images by Freepht - "singapore city urban" • markyharky - "9V-SWK Boeing 777 Singapore" • mcartmell - "Chevron House"

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