Usually, when someone approaches me at the train station they want money. Or a smoke. Or to use my phone. Sometimes they want to shout their new rap song in my face (I’d rather be robbed). But this guy didn’t want anything; he was just in a really good mood and wanted to talk about it.
He moved to the States from Baghdad where his family had always lived. Why? Because in Iraq he was not able to practice his religion: Christianity. With a smile on his face he told me how how difficult it was to get here and how happy he was that he could practice his faith openly.
But he had problems, too. He spent time in the New England area when he first arrived and he liked it, but living in Texas reminded him too much of being in Iraq. There was too much crime and too many people trying to intimidate him as he went about his day. This made me sad, because Texas is a great place but he wouldn’t know it because he lives in Dallas. If he lives in Texas long enough he’ll find out why we love it, here. He might see the beautiful hill country and meet the kind Texans who will always return a smile. But for now he just knows the bleak, industrial side of the big city.
As I was boarding the train he told me that Texas was like a different country. I smiled.