Happy Immigrant Heritage Month! To be honest with you, this year is the first time I am hearing about it, and I could not be happier at the time when I had discovered its existence.
There’s a 99% chance of me being an immigrant, or, otherwise, I would be writing this post : D I have mentioned it before, and I would like to open up the discussion and explain/tell you a little more about myself.
Yes, I am an immigrant. Unfortunately, I cannot mention the country I moved from due to the privacy reasons. Clearly, there are other immigrants from that country who are using WordPress and read blogs on here, but I am not ready to be taking this kind of risk, regardless of how much I would like to share this part of me with you. I moved to the United States in the late fall of 2015, approximately 1.5 years ago. The reason for our family to move was simply in pursuit of a better life. We have been waiting for the unrealistic long time (for almost my whole life), and when we finally got a chance, we could not leave it untaken. Just to be clear, my family and I are not political refugees, who I have nothing against in any way, but just for a better understanding of the post, here is this fact ^.
I would like to start with the fact of people’s behaviors when they meet immigrants. If you ask me, I have never experienced any discrimination or disrespect to my culture until I would start talking about myself as an immigrant. I am a white, middle-class-based teenager, which leads to no racial/class discrimination from the most of the population in the US. So, basically, by looking at me, most of the time, you would have no idea that I had moved from a different country, let alone from another continent. I might have different manners than many Americans (I’m more of a private, quiet person), but we are all different in this state. Some people cannot even catch my accent, which, if you think about it, is a compliment.
And here comes the main part – my story about moving. When people start wondering and asking about the difference in the pronunciation of words, I have no choice but to tell them about my immigrant experience. Which, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy telling. But what I do not enjoy is seeing people’s awkward smiles after. It’s like I’m wearing a zombie bride/ex-wife costume from Mean Girls on a regular occasion. Of course, not everyone’s reaction is the same, but the change in people’s visages is always present.
What happens to the normal conversation we were having? People start thinking that I am some kind of an alien. Most of the time, those people are rich kids who had never met anyone like me before. They start considering me an outsider or unworthy of their attention/friendship. I have been used in class several times just for my thoughts because my classmate could not think of any answer. That might have been the only time we talk after my story. People think that I will never get on their level or ever fit in, even if doing much better in school that them/participate in more activities/even more open to new people then them. Those are obviously not the most important criteria, but these things are being taken in mind by people.
I understand that there are a lot of fears of immigrants that can start terroristic attacks (I would prefer not to discuss any political situations on my blog). But without having any experience with immigrants there is no way you can judge any of us like we are the same. Everyone is different, native-born themselves and immigrants. Treat everyone equally regardless of their mother-country or mother-tongue.
For the second part of this post, I would like to talk about my complaints as an immigrant. And no, not the complaints about my life after the immigration, but my ideas and stories of my life before migration.
If you were ever to talk to me about the country I moved from, you would probably hear me talking about all the disappointment its government/laws brought to people. And, to be honest, everyone there knows about the country’s fails and just unforgettable actions that led to struggles of many people. These add up to reasons why my family had moved. And I would never say that the country I lived in is the best place to live because it is simply not. But I want to take back all the bad things I have ever said about my country of origin. Yes, I might continue to complain about the government and all the bad deeds of it. But it should not stop anyone who hears those complaints from the desire to visit the country and to get to know it better. Nothing changes the fact that I miss the place where I came from.
I would not want to go back to live there. But no one has forgotten about visiting, right? ; ) I miss my friends. The moving allowed me to figure who stayed true and loyal to me. I miss the half of my family, which I do not think needs explanation. I miss the sea and its smell. It would take me maybe 20 minutes to get to the beach by foot. It would take me the same time to walk to the closest mall or movie theater. Doing those things is not as easy anymore (mostly because of the fact of needing a car). Life was easy but complicated at the same time. Now, it is still both.
I would never forget what my life was like before. I want to embrace the fact that I made such a huge change and took a risk to start my life over. I want to embrace the fact that I know two languages perfectly. I want you to embrace it, too.
Thank you so much for reading this post. I shared a pretty important part of my life here with you. I hope you understand what it is like for us, immigrants, to be different. Stay positive, respectful, and embrace your difference.♡