Personal Story - Asan and Husan Turdiev (Doctoral Candidates)

We were born in Uzbekistan and came to the US when we were 18. As probably many immigrants would know, living in a country without knowing the language is difficult (to put it mildly and politely). In a few months, you realize that you cannot hide forever, and you need to start earning your keep in addition to somehow integrating into society. That's how a "job hunting" period started for us, which really meant: walking for hours and visiting every other restaurant, shop, or retail store nearby, asking startled workers for their managers to speak to them about any job openings (not the best strategy by the way), and spending hours filling out the applications (and it actually took hours, because every sentence was a headscratcher - what does ethnicity mean? what's social security?).


After weeks and weeks of waiting and doing a lot of nothing, Asan finally got a call from someplace, though we didn't know which one that was. That's because we were in a swimming pool, and when the phone rang, we couldn't reach it on time. Something told us though that this

was it and we needed to contact them right away. But an immigrant can't just call back right away. You need to mentally prepare yourself for the conversation (which is like preparing for a battle) - practice a couple of times to spell out the name correctly (by each letter; A for an Apple), and birthday, and social security, and the other things that may or may not be needed. When we finally called back over the speaker (you know, two heads better than yeah), the call was promptly greeted by a robot: "Thank you for calling Target. To reach...". Not knowing which department to talk to, we decided to just walk there and speak in person. Not wasting any time, we went straight to the store (with shorts, flip flops, and towel-dry hair), and from there to customer service, to explain to them that we got a call from somebody, probably about the job offer. We were sent off to HR, and there was a lady who really did call Asan's number. Apparently, it was about scheduling an interview. For reasons that only twins will understand, Asan mentioned that (oh by the way) both of us filled out the application (surely if you were ok with one, you should be ok with two). We emphasized that we needed this job and were willing to do whatever was needed. Maybe we were convincing, or maybe the HR wanted to get rid of us fast that day, but both of us were given a date for an interview. We got the job a week or so later.


Even though it was a painful period for us at the time, we like to tell this story because it captures the essence of living in America. Lots of things can go wrong, success is never guaranteed, and struggle is real. However, what makes this country unique is that it provides tremendous opportunities to reach happiness and good people (initially strangers) who will provide a helping hand and lift you up when you are down. We were blessed to get support from the government, schools, our financial patrons, and many many many kind and generous people who showed care when they had nothing material to gain from it.


So, we would like to use this opportunity to tell the people who helped us, taught us, stood up for us, cared for us, and encouraged us to keep going - Thank You! You know who you are, and it is you who make this country truly the greatest. We hope to reach a point where we can help others just like you.