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Monologue by Mahboobeh Atai

Atai, Mahboobeh
Kearse, Sarita
Date of Interview: 
Overcoming Obstacles; Relationships with People and Places; Then and Now; Cultural Identification
Mahboobeh Atai is a native Iranian who worked hard to adjust to the American culture as a single mother of two. Her hard work has paid off, as her children are now professionals in the workforce.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Sarita Kearse interviewed Charlotte residents to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
Interview Audio: 
MA (Mahboobeh Atai): My name is Mahboobeh Atai. We came to the United States about 20 years ago. I came to Charlotte same time and I have two kids. Since I came here my kids were so young. My daughter was 10 years old her name is Laurann and my son was two years old and her, his name is Favo. They're grown right now and my daughter went to school here and he, she became a lawyer and she graduate from, uh, Chapel Hill University and my son, he is working in computer science. And when I came here, actually, as you know, it was big culture shock to me because everything, everything was different. The people were different, the society was different to me. The culture, custom, everything. It was not easy, it was not easy for me that day, but I adjust myself, I believe I adjust myself very well. And I try to visit, uh, people and learn their culture, and visit them and learn language, but it was not easy at all, and I try to get a job that time. And right now, after 20 years, the people in the United States get used to see more foreigner, more different faces and hear the different languages. But that time they were not same as they are today. I try to get a job and I didn't know any language. Unfortunately, I didn't have the time to go to school to learn English, and I try to be with people to learn from people. So finally, I end up to get a job in UNCC cafeteria in Charlotte. And I was working on the line and serving the student which it was very, very good job for me. And I liked it that time I still like it. But unfortunately, I'm not working there anymore. And it was not, uh, absolutely hard for me because the people were high educated and they try to work up with me and they try to teach me how to, eh, speak English. But as a study if I want to mention something that probably be good because I still laugh on that anytime I can remember that. I was working in cafeteria and I was on the serving line and sometimes food would get finished and people ask me to go and get more. But I didn't know what to do. And I didn't know what to say. I just actually heard from other people, everybody says, "It's cooking, it's cooking." So I went to kitchen and come back and tell the student, "It's cooking," and everybody was laughing on me that time. So it, so many, so many thing happened, and it was not easy to raise two kids by myself in different country. But I did it! I did it and at this moment I'm so happy and when I see my kids I cannot believe it I did it. But the thing, huh, I cannot actually, I cannot expect people, that, but I guess it's good for, for the people in society always to recognize if somebody came here or comes here and they don't know English and they don't know culture, try to work with them and try to help them out. And that would be the best thing for them. And that would be the best thing for human race. When a, my daughter wants to go to college I didn't know anything and I couldn't help her. And actually we didn't have anybody to help us. But the reason I came to Charlotte it was my younger sister was here, was here year before I came. But that time we both were so busy that nobody has a chance to help my daughter. But she work on herself and she tried, and she tried, and she work, and she went to school until she get her law degree and she's working. I'm so proud of her. And my son was too young and she, he would want to go and play with other kids but that was hard for him to because nobody accept him because he cannot communicate and play with them. So gradually, gradually he adjust himself too and as a result, right now he has so many friends. And he so happy and, and he call Charlotte as his own home. And unfortunately, he doesn't know my language, which is Farsi, from Iran and he cannot speak Farsi that much, I expect, but he's fully English. And I can say he's American at this moment. So it is good to go, uh, back and look back and see where I was and what happen and where I am right now. And I had some friend who, who were here, who was here before I came they try to help me too. But as I said I always miss home. And I always like to be home but unfortunately it's no way at this moment. And I hope everything will be OK for everybody also for me too. Thank you and have a good one everyone. Bye.