A flood of emotions on her first days in the United States

Abeer Mahmoud Hawamdeh (left), standing with her daughter. (Courtesy photo)

Abeer Mahmoud Hawamdeh is a 50-year-old woman from Amman, Jordan. She moved to the United States with her family after her eldest daughter’s high-school graduation in 2015. She was accompanied by her husband and two daughters, 18 and 15.

Finding a place to call home in the United States was a challenge for the family. Hawamdeh’s husband has two other daughters from a previous marriage living in Southern California, but the family decided to settle in the Seattle area, where their eldest daughter chose to go to university and where their younger daughter could attend a good high school. Their daughter chose the University of Washington, having fallen in love with the campus and the Pacific Northwest.

Seattle’s stark difference from the dry, sunny climate of Jordan felt like something completely new and different, something that signaled the start of a new chapter in all of their lives.

This brief interview covers her experience landing in Seattle her very first day, landing at SeaTac International Airport and taking a cab to the hotel, seeing Seattle for the very first time. She describes all the emotions that came flooding through her and her family, being away from everyone she knew her entire life to start a new one in a very different place later in life to retire.

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This story was produced in partnership with the First Days Project.