Sadeta Hodžić

Sadeta Hodžić: “I was, um, allowed to immigrate to the United States, um, given permission to immigrate with my son. He was almost four at that time. And uh, I remember the lady during the interview process ask me after she said that I was welcome to immigrate to United States, she asked me if I have any family members, any friends, any relatives, or anybody that she could send me to. Somebody who would be able to help me at the beginning with me being a single mother. And, uh, I just say to her,‘ I don’t have nobody. ‘If I have preference with state also, which state I’d like to go?’ If, you know, I remember saying to her, ‘it doesn’t matter if I go to California or Florida or New York, I don’t have nobody.’ Which I didn’t. So I was pretty much alone with a four-year-old boy. And uh, we waited – the next step was to wait for the flight ticket. They let you know a date when you’re going to, you know, leave for Germany. The flight ticket and all that information. You get to know that information. So I get back to my town and, now you know the day is coming. You try to, I was there for more than seven years. A lot of stuff happened in that little apartment you have to sell. Or have to get rid of. It just – I didn’t want to go. That’s the thing. I didn’t want to go because I was happy. I loved my life in Germany. I had good friends. I had a family. Uh, Denis was going into kindergarten. He had friends. We just had a good life. I didn’t want to leave. But we couldn’t. We couldn’t stay. So I took the chance and I took the biggest challenge of my life. To sell everything I possess and the two-bedroom apartment. April 19th, 1999 was the day that I left Germany. My sister and her husband took me to, me and my son, took us to Frankfurt, for airport. And we left. April 19th, 1999 we left Frankfurt, Germany and we landed in New York. And from New York, we went to Atlanta, and Atlanta – Nashville. And, uh, before you leave Germany, you’re going through an orientation process. They are half-a-day seminars. They’re talking about America. What’s like in America. Culture. And all those things that you should know about America. And everything they said during the seminar was also pretty and nice and, you know, you just can’t wait to get here. You know, you just want to take off right now. And, uh, oh, they’re going to be waiting for you and everything is going to be, you don’t have to worry, everything is organized and paid and you know, yeah, right. April 19th, 1999, I’m in Nashville, at the airport, and I’m looking, coming out with my son in one hand and one small luggage in the other, we didn’t have much. I remember having one small luggage in my hand and the other one was, you know, in the airplane. Uh, that thing had a lot of pictures. I took a lot of pictures with me. I know that I can buy all the other material stuff but I cannot buy memories and pictures, so I had those things. And I remember coming from the airplane and I was hoping to see somebody holding the sign with Hodžić, you know. Nobody was there. We came to Nashville, and we looked around, and I’m holding Denis, and looked around and nobody there. And uh, I had a white bag. ‘I.O.M.’, I remember those three letters. And in the bag, there was a lot of papers. They give us the paperwork to take with us and I never opened the bag. I could’ve taken drugs with me, I could’ve taken guns. I don’t know what was in the bag, I just – It was sealed. And I just took the bag with me, and it was three letters, ‘I. O. M.‘ And everyone left the plane. People coming in from the, from the thing. And I just stay there and nobody – I remember, I saw a gentleman dressed very nice in a business outfit and I went to him, towards him, because I thought, ‘I’m safe with him. He’s dressed nicely’. And stuff, like in a a business outfit, and I just ask him, ‘Can you help me?’, because we watch a lot of English movies in Bosnia, with subtitle, and I knew those couple words, you know, ‘can you help me?’ and God knows what he said to me, I don’t know, I don’t remember what he said, I just gave him the bag. I just gave him the bag, I thought, everything is here in the bag. And I give him the bag, and um, he – he said, I remember he said, ‘Come with me. Come with me.’ Looking back now, I was so naive, I was so – I don’t know. He took us to Information booth, and I remember [the] lady announcing on speaker phone, I heard her saying ‘Bowling Green’, so now I’m thinking she must be paging people from Bowling Green, Kentucky picking up parties, ‘Please come here’. Probably that’s what she did, you know. Just thinking, I heard ‘Bowling Green, Kentucky’, and I know I’m going to Bowling Green, Kentucky.”