In Connecticut, the widower and lonely Professor Walter Vale has a boring life. He teaches only one class at the local college and is trying to learn how to play the piano, despite not having the necessary musical talent. Walter is assigned to attend a conference about Global Policy and Development at the New York University, where he is to give a lecture about a paper that he is coauthor on. When he arrives at his apartment in New York, he finds Tarek Khalil, a syrian musician, and Zainab, a Senegalese street vendor living there. He sympathizes with the situation of the illegal immigrants and invites the couple to stay with him. Tarek invites him to go to his gig in the Jules Live Jazz and Walter is fascinated with his African drum. Tarek offers to teach Walter to play the drum. However, after an incident in the subway, Tarek is arrested by the police and sent to a detention center of immigrants.