A few months ago I went to San Francisco, and one of the top attractions on my list was Alcatraz. As soon as I saw today’s photo challenge, I thought about the photo I’ve captured in the prison itself. A tour of the federal prison on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay left me with some unforgettable impression, and lots of great images.
It was beginning of our 3rd month in the United States, and both of us were still jobless. It was very hard to find a job during recession anyway, but our language barrier haven’t help either. The money we had was mostly gone, so basically we were broke. I have to admit that my husband was really good about taking care of our rent bills, utility bills, as well as at splitting the rest of our money for the food and some fun. After he finished his calculating, he finally announced that we have enough money for living without jobs exactly one more month, but under special circumstances and restrictions that means spending only $5.00 daily on food. At the moment I thought there is no chance to live like that, and if one of us doesn’t find a job in next couple of weeks we are lost. After I told him my fears, he promised me that we’ll find the jobs soon, and everything will be fine. He always knew how to comfort me, and I greatly appreciate and love him for that.
I was hungry, and wanted to go buy some food for $5.00. Close to our apartment building was a huge grocery store that I enjoy visiting daily just to browse around. Since I didn’t speak English, needless to say read English as well, I was only looking at the image of the products and prices. That was about my way of finding things that I need, or like. Everything looked so interesting, so colorful, and so American!
As soon as I entered the store I saw a big pile of bags full with different food products. I got closer, and all I have seen was bag with macaroni and cheese, rice, lots of different cans, juice, milk… and above the bag was the price $5.00. I was so happy, I couldn’t believe my luck. I took the bag, and run through the store to find my husband, and show him what I have found. He looked at me, asked me if I am sure about that, and as self-confident as I am, I pushed him toward the register.
With a huge smile on my face I proudly handed the bag and $5.00 to the lady at the register. She smiled at me widely, took the $5.00 bill from my hand together with my bag, and kindly thanked me while putting the bag behind the register. At the very moment, my husband realized what just happened, and he started to laugh really hard while looking at my petrifying face expression with my hand in the air waiting for the bag full of food. He pushed me toward the exit, and through really hard laugh said, “Honey you are so generous, you have just donated $5.00 for poor people!” I started to laugh, but I could also cry at the same moment. My feelings were absolutely mixed. I was laughing because it was absolutely hilarious situation, but I also felt so sad and helpless because I couldn’t read, and didn’t know what I was doing, but at the end I was happy that I helped someone by donating a bag of food.
I wasn’t hungry anymore, and I decided not to eat that day. We were laughing all the way home, making fun of the whole situation although we were aware that we’ll skip the lunch that day. I will definitely never forget that sunny/funny July day 2008.
To add the happy end to the story, the very next morning I got a call from the manager of the store where I have applied a week ago, and got an offer for my first job in America!
“Give what you have. To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow