I had the most amazing conversation with my Uber driver tonight.  He was a young man.  An immigrant from Saudi Arabia who had moved to this country 7 years ago after his father encouraged him to.  His father wanted him to be a professional and have a better life than what he ever could achieve had he stayed in Saudi Arabia.

He told me he was currently attending La Guardia College and studying Criminal Justice.  He loved his life here.  Although he missed his family, but he had made a lot of friends, some of which he was currently living with.  

I am always intrigued by these types of stories.  I don’t think I would ever be brave enough to move to another country on my own. The idea of living in a place that has a completely different culture and where I don’t know the language is terrifying.  I had so many questions for him. He answered each and every one happily while reciprocating with some questions about my life.

“Were you scared?” I asked.  “Yes” he said, “but I knew it was the best thing to do for my own life.”

“Were your parents worried?”  “Oh yes, my dad did not know how to use technology and I discovered that I could use a calling card to keep in touch with them months after I had moved.”

I asked him why he chose to study Criminal Justice.  “I know there is justice in this world,” he replied.  “I want to share what I learn with others.” 

Our whole ride went on like this.  I wanted to know everything.  He gave me all the answers like an open book. 

“I am so impressed you learned English so well in just 7 years,” I said.  “I had to!” He answered. “This is what you speak here!”

He told me he wanted to learn other languages especially Spanish.  I am fluent in Spanish.  This was his lucky night.  I shared with him my fascination with languages and I told him that I wanted to learn every language I possibly could.

We spent the rest of the ride teaching each other words.  I taught him how to say words in Spanish and he taught me how to say those same words in Arabic.  

I said, “Every time I travel I learn how to say the most important things in the countries’ native language: “Table for two,” (because I travel with my fiancé), “Thank you,” and “where’s the bathroom?”

He laughed and then asked me how to say those things in Spanish.  I obliged and then I asked him to teach me the same words and phrases in Arabic.

Before I knew it, I was in front of my apartment in Brooklyn and my heart was full.  I had had a conversation with a stranger that had motivated me to do more, as well as made me realize that I had to stop complaining about the small stuff.  Simultaneously, I guess I had given this person motivation while sharing my own life experiences.  In this 40 minute Uber ride we had learned so much about life.  

And while the government is shut down over the President’s ridiculous wall, I continue to find beauty and inspiration in immigration.