The Jallaq Family
I had tried to get in to the army college in Jordan, and I couldn’t, because of politcal reasons. I tried everything to go in the army, but it was a decision made by the King. We are from Palestine. My dad is from Palestine, and he served in the Jordan army for twenty years. I was born in Jordan. But that year, the decision came that the army would be only for Jordanians. I was born in Jordan, and my grades were higher than the required grades for the college, but they told me “Do not try. It’s not you, it’s where you came from.” And since that day, until now, not one Palestinian got accepted into the army college. It was a decision from the king. That’s all I wanted to do in Jordan was be in the army. So, I came here and I went to college.
In Jordan, it’s very hard to get a visa to come to America. I got the visa when I was in the 11th grade and they gave me a year. So, the last test, I had two days left on the visa. So I either have to come here, or go back to the embassy to renew the visa, which I know they’re not going to renew it, because they know that I’m going to come to America and stay.
When you’re in middle school, kids ask - “You don’t believe in Jesus? You don’t celebrate Christmas? You don’t get Christmas presents?” It’s the stuff kids really care about, discussions like that. And then as I got older, it’s “You don’t drink? You don’t have a girlfriend? If you don’t have a grilfriend how are you going to get married?”
So let’s say me and Matt had history. He bumped my car, we got out, we fought, Matt got the better of me – so me and Matt aren’t friends. If I walked in and I saw Matt and I started to fight, in our culture Atef, because he’s the host and Matt’s a guest in his house, he has to defend Matt.
When we moved to Grove City, I was there like a week before two kids came into the bathroom and said “We’re going to beat you up.”