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Interview with Nassim Chakra

Chakra, Nassim
Funderburk, Sarah
Date of Interview: 
Relationships with people and places; Cultural identification
Nassim Chakra talks about living in the US.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Sarah Funderburk interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
Interview Audio: 
SF (Sarah Anne Funderburk): This is Sarah Funderburk, and today is April 20th, 2003, and I am conducting an interview with Nassim Chakra who is a Language One Arabic speaker from Lebanon. And he's going to be talking about starting his life in the US. So I'm going to let him begin by telling us when he came over, and what he started doing when he got here.
NC (Nassim Chakra): My name is Nassim Chakra. I'm from Beirut, Lebanon. I came to the United States in December of 1999. Um, I came here on a student visa, and that was the main idea of me coming, leaving my country and coming to the United States to get a degree in the Business Administration. Um, I have a big family here in Charlotte, North Carolina, that's why I choose to come to Charlotte, um, so I can get some help if I needed to. Um, it's a big change of life for me to leave my house, my family, my parents, and come here, and study and be on my own. When I first came to the United States, my uncles gave me a job on his car lot washing cars and cleaning them. And it was, it was a good experience for me so I can see how, how life is for a student to work and go to school at the same time. And I had another job delivering pizzas on the weekend, so I can make extra money and pay my expenses. Um, I really like it, I really like my life now, I know it's different than before, it's harder, but, it's, it's better, in other way. Um, I go to school at Central Piedmont Community College and I'm hoping I'll transfer this summer time to UNCC, University, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and finishing my degree in Business Administration. Um, what made it easier, what, what made my life a little bit easier than any other student that, that came here to study is that I had a big family, and they all own business, so they help me if I need anything like they give me, they gave me a job when I first came here, and then they gave me a place to stay, and they help me out on my papers and everything. So that makes it a little bit easier on me.
KM (Khalil Nemr Mjahed): My name is Khalil Mjahed, and I talked with Sarah like, a while ago, and she interviewed me, and I just want to ask Nassim to tell us about how his uncle taught him how to go to auctions and bid on cars and be good at buying cars and selling them. So if you can tell us a little bit about your experience.
NC: Yes, when I first started working with my uncle on his car lot he wanted to show me the hard way of life. So, at the beginning, his, I started as a lot boy which is, that's the lowest position you can ever have in a car dealership is washing cars, and cleaning them. And, step by step, a little bit later, he start taking me with him to the auctions where he buys his cars at, and teach me how to, uh, test the cars, test the engine and the transmission so you know, if there's, there's anything wrong with them. And, so I started going with him and helping him out and, you know, trying to see what's the car worth, and, and after maybe one year or so, I started buying cars on my own, with my uncle's help, for sure, and bought, I bought a couple of cars, cleaning them, put them on the paper and try to sell them for the individuals and it's a very, very nice idea and good idea for student like me to do this business. It doesn't need long time while you're studying. Just take a little bit of time when you want to show the car to the customer, and it has a big income. It's better than any other job that, that a student can have. And I don't know Khalil, if you need to ask me any more questions.
KM: Sure, just want to ask you one more question. Do you like working for people as a pizza delivery guy or you like to work on your own at selling cars, you know, like business owner, something like that? You, being Lebanese, you don't like to work for people, uh, just explain that.
SF: Actually, part of that, in addition to that question, I wanted to know what you might want to do in the future with your business administration degree.
NC: I want to answer Khalil's question first. No, I don't think anybody would like to work for, for somebody else. Especially being bossed around, and, you know how bosses treats their employees. And one of the thing that I hate, that I don't like is the schedule. I don't like to be on a schedule, I like to put my own working hours. And it's nothing for, like working for yourself, if you don't have any boss, you're your own boss, you can go, you can come whenever you want. You don't have to count on anybody to cover your shifts and stuff. And, yeah, I like working as a pizza delivery guy 'cause, you know, this is a nice job for all of the students, and it's a very good idea for um, cash, you know you're only delivering, you're only working couple, a couple of days a week, and your making a decent amount, amount of money. Um, but, like I said, it's nothing like being your own boss. And Sarah, if you please can tell me what was your question again?
SF: What do you think you might want to do with your degree when you get out of college?
NC: Well, the main, I mean-.
SF: Like, open your own business, or-.
NC: Yeah for sure, I mean, that's why, the reason I came here is just to get a degree and, in my culture, you have to get a degree, 'cause everybody is having degrees, and we don't only look for a BA or uh, anything, we look for a lot more like, MBA or master's degree or whatever, but yeah, I would like and I would love to have my own business. If in God's will if I have money so I could open my dealership, I could be like a big and huge dealership instead of being, just instead of having a couple cars for sale. And, I mean everybody would love to be his own boss and have his own business, and I hope that I can do that. Do you guys have any more questions that I can answer?
SF: No, thank you for talking to us.
KM: Sank you very much. [Exaggerated Arabic accent]