United States is a country made on immigrants. The only true owners of this land are Native Americans that are just a few among many that claim to call themselves Americans. How interesting to observe that always the children of immigrants are fully assimilated with the culture and truly a first class citizens. No matter what country of origin, newcomers’ offspring tends to blend in really well and adopts American principles and moral regulations to the iota.
I find this country very welcoming, accepting and inclusive. I have friends that never mind that I am a foreigner and they make me feel loved. Very often people whom I don’t even know, strangers in the grocery store, in the park or anywhere open their hearts to me and are friendly in a way that makes me feel a part of this country. I think the only reserve lies within my own heart, where I find myself lonely sometimes, when I remember the way I were in my own contry and find myself a stranger here, in this vast land. There is nothing wrong with this, it is just a part of me feeling different and thinking different at times. Being born in a far away land means very often having grown up in a completely dissimilar culture. When I arrived in US I was already a fully articulated and opinionated adult bringing with myself a baggage of her own ideas and notions. The cultural differences between US and my country were naturally striking and very noticeable. I think I could categorize dissimilarities into two groups. First would be a visual tangible group of things like different housing, size of the cooker (American is way bigger than European one), clothing etc. The second one is the cultural/language/values group that is harder to nail down. If you have never seen some old classic movies in America of the fifties you may never understand certain jokes. Some things are natural if you just happen to live in that country, but if you are an immigrant like me, you may be left wondering what a certain phrase meant. Which is sometimes quite fun, to be honest.
As far as getting assimilated in the vast American culture, I have to say that I choose to take on new traditions that I like but I reserve a right not to participate in some that are not to my taste, pun intended. I still think that eating right, cooking at home and making food from scratch is someting that I want to keep. I grew up in a relatively poor country where food was picked fresh from the farmer’s market, brought home and cooked up deliciously. There is nothing more nourishing than that. Having seen that I choose not to dive into a fat loaden fast food kind of eating. To me it is obvious why the other kids are obese, drinking coke and eating high sugar bars instead of real meals is the culprit, if it is done on daily basis. But that’s just one facet of cultural dissimilarity. There are quite many, the way we were taught in my country is different, the books we read were different, our political system was different. Was it worse, better? I don’t think it matters to anyone. But what matters is that I feel sometimes misunderstood and I fall back to my “immigrant status” -meaning I think of myself as a person that will not fully mingle because I am odd or I don’t belong. This is mostly in my mind but it is there.
Now, returning to my previous thought, I am not surprized how immigrant’s children achieve so much in this society at all looking at my own daughters. They have every possiblity to shine and be successful. They don’t have an accent, a telltale they are immigrants,but they are confident and in the right place. I think they actually may have some advantages, they bring in a unique mix of old world customs and they may have a good point of reference to see this world in a context of global village rather than a center of the universe.