Prisoner in her own country

The following is a text written by a friend of mine. She is a molecular biology researcher in the MIT. A little bit before Christmas 2003, she went to her home country, Spain, for what should have been two weeks of vacations. That's now 4 months she is blocked there, her passport in the hands of the USA consulate, waiting for a visa. Her husband, researcher in Harvard Medical School, was lucky: he could come back after only 3 months. But she's still there. Waiting. Learn how you feel when the country you work for is treating you like crap.

[Just to be fair, I must add that this kind of problem never happened to me, maybe I'm just lucky]

These days I have long hours to think about all of this, between moments of rage and depression followed by common sense calm. I am starting to think that it is not so bad to be forced to stay here some time, and to suffer a very light version of what most people in the world experiences when they want to establish any kind of relationship with first world countries. Now being a biologist has put me in the “dangerous people” list and I have to wait for “them” to move me again to the “acceptable people” list. The problem is just the waiting, wait and nothing else, that simple. Wait and if you want, or you are desperate, ask; but you won’t know anything because they only will tell you something when they are finished, and at that point will be useless because of course it will be over.

I have to wait comfortably at “home”, in my country, in my hometown, Barcelona, with my family, well accommodated and surrounded of people that cares about me. Maybe all this arouses in me a guilty feeling like “I can not complain, it could be worse, everybody is nice to me, I do not have to worry for having a bed, food and diversion”. This is true but also not really true… the truth is that I miss my place “that is not in Barcelona, nor in Spain”, the truth is that I miss some of my friends, the truth is that I miss my city, Boston MA, the truth is that I miss my job, one of my best diversions. I truly miss my own space, my own things, my own plans, my own life.

The reaction at first was of astonishment and then of acknowledgment but never of understanding. After a while, it has been getting more and more unbelievably. Time passes and you have to believe that this is happening, and rage and frustration start. It will be three months this week, and now I feel like I am entering into a third phase, the frustration feeling is turning into indifference and that worries me, because I want to keep missing my place, my friends, my city, my job, my Boston life.

I had never experienced a situation where I was forced to remain in one place, I always had been free in spite of not knowing it. Now, I am prisoner in my own country (even my passport is on American’s hands). Now I do know the price of freedom, of course I had to learn it from the United States of America, the Land of the Free.

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