Becoming Abe

H-1B 2021-02-23 14:32:34

My dad's H-1B expired as I was about to enter my last year of middle school It wasn't all his fault, there was also mishandling on his employer's side. But at the end of the day the blame game didn't matter. Our family had to begin planning our move out of the U.S.

At the time I didn't consider the stress this must've placed on my parents' relationship. I noticed it, but that is not what paints this phase of life. In fact, I can't even confidently point right now to any vivid images of them fighting over this. The images of a husband and wife's tension over an expiring visa that I do see in my head are constructed retrospectively... now that I could place my feet in their shoes.. now that I can know how uprooting this could be.

I didn't even think about their struggle until I wrote this now more than a decade later because that period reminds me only of what had concerned me at the time. I remember hearing the news from my dad and mom while we were driving back from church. It was a long drive. Nearly an hour on expansive Midwestern highways that put you to sleep on lazy Sunday afternoons when the sun poured into the car.

My dad told me we had to move back to Korea, albeit only temporarily. My mom had to repeat this when I asked if this was really true. "Only while we renew the visa." "But how long is that going to be?" I don't remember what duration they gave me but it felt too long. Like my life would be over by the time we returned. 

My sibling who was six wasn't acting up in the same manner. Now I wonder what had been going on in their mind. Because in mine at I could think about was how much this was going to uproot my life. All the progress that I had made until that point. I had finally felt like I had carved out a space for myself in the middle school. 


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I love this post. I read and I was trying to recall if I had such moment while growing up.

Thanks for sharing.

by the way... which church was that?
2021-02-24 10:57:57
Thanks for reading and commenting!

The church was a Christian Reformed Church in south-west Michigan... about three hours west of Detroit. 

Please do share any such moments that this made you recall.
2021-02-24 13:58:14