My history of emigration to the United States
What is emigration? This is a state that needs to be experienced. It can not be explained. It is also impossible for a free person to explain what a zone is, but a person who has lived all his life in the village can not explain what a city is. I will say more. If you have lived away from the Motherland for one year, you are not an emigrant, but, so, a bird of passage. You have not yet understood anything in this emigrant life. I lived in America for seven years and, I think, began to understand something.
The first year I was not even able to perceive someone else’s life that fell on me. Looking at the trimmed lawns and neat little houses, I thought with longing of free grass and a sagging fence. I walked through the center of our city, that is, downtown, after five o’clock in the evening, when all the employees from the skyscrapers-offices went home, and recalled Bergman’s “Strawberry Glade”. Do you remember how the old man found himself in a completely empty city? True, a funeral procession did not come to meet me, but only the homeless walked slowly with their carts loaded with all sorts of belongings.
For them, time stopped, but for me it ran at a frantic pace. High-speed tracks, the rumble of the wheels, the whistling of passing cars. And shops, shops, shops. I could not tell one from the other. Everything blended into one bright, shapeless spot. As well as the voices of Americans – in one long incomprehensible word.
I shied away from the generally peaceful old-neighbors, as from the Indians of the Mumba-Yumba tribe, from whom you do not know what to expect.
And my husband stuffed me with amusements and meat.
All life has turned into one solid carousel, which has whirled me to nausea. I only dreamed of getting out of this whistling, hooting and sparkling gimp, and, with my nose in my pillow, sleeping, sleeping, sleeping.
In a dream, I spoke Russian.
I was afraid to dial the phone number and hear the voice of my sister and mother, whom I left. Has thrown. I was afraid to cry and scare them. I cried secretly so as not to upset my husband, who so wanted me to fall in love with his America and was happy in it. I sent home photographs from which I saw my smiling and tired face.
Then they bombed the Serbs. I hated America. I felt like a traitor. Then I still had the strength to argue with my husband about politics. We yelled at each other as cut. I left the house, slamming the door and, being in a strange world, I returned to the house. My husband clasped me tightly in his arms and consoled me: “We can not change the world. Let’s calm down, let’s save our little family. ” And I calmed down, and fell asleep on his broad chest, listening to the disturbing knock of his loving heart.
Then there was the college, where I studied a new English, unfamiliar to me in school. And my first Russian girlfriends. We shared with each other our sore, understandable and experienced only us. No one else in the world could understand us.
Then Anne appeared. As now I remember her speaking from the crowd of students. Her blond hair, blue eyes and a friendly smile. I immediately chose her as my best friend.
How many carefree days we spent together! Walking in the malls, measuring tons of clothes, tearing each other’s skirt off the sale for three dollars. Chasing each other on our brand-new cars, getting lost and calling up cell phones.
Walking leisurely along the shore of the ocean, immersing your feet in warm salt water.
So I see our tired, slightly arrogant faces in sunglasses under thatched hats. Suddenly we started laughing uncontrollably at something that only the two of us could understand, and diving into the waves, pushing us ashore and hitting the sand.
And here we are sitting on the sand with wet hair, without make-up. Simple Russian girls, abandoned by an unknown hand to the shore of the Atlantic Ocean.
Then the search for work began. Polite smiles of employers, who accompanied you to the door, before you could finish the words of greeting. And, finally, my first job in a fashion store. I worked in the warehouse, laying clothes on the drawers and pulling it out of the boxes. I had an American girlfriend who told me about her adventures with her many boyfriends. My life was uninteresting to her.
Then I worked in the school as a substitute teacher. Two years as a minefield.
In that and blood, I earned the experience of living in emigration. Nothing is appreciated in America as much as experience.
Now I can say for sure that I have experience as an editor of an electronic magazine for Russian women living abroad. The other day the magazine will be five years old. But this experience is an empty phrase for American employers. Well, let! I do not care! Me understand and appreciate the same internotovskie bees, as I do. This is enough for me.
There were many other things in my emigrant life! It’s even hard to put it all in a chronological frame! Some events were simply forgotten or lost the acuteness of the first perception, others – it was already impossible to put in a coin box of experience. These were fateful milestones in my life and the lives of my friends. Disease son Ani. Unbearable suffering of the mother. A piercing pain from the sensation of her anguish and anguish of a little boy who persistently undergoes chemotherapy.
Thoughts of death. My operation. My awakening from anesthesia. Finding God. And then – the Church.
I do not cease to admire those Americans who, having traveled in unknown ways through the religious diversity and religious traditions of their Motherland, accepted the Faith from us, Russians, who are not at all glorified in the American media. I trembling watch how these beautiful people piously honor the Orthodox traditions and how to teach this to their children. I’m looking down at the little American boy of two years, selflessly bowing to the icon – a small window in Paradise. In prayers in English I hear the melodies of Holy Russia.
And here I am sitting in my American home, surrounded by my mother and sister, and listening to the voice in the telephone receiver that reaches us from faraway Latvia. This is Nick’s three-year-old grandchild. She tells us about her children’s affairs, sings songs, reads poetry and tries to understand what America is and where it is, and what color is it? Carefully asked his great-grandmother: “Did you fly well? You have not fallen off an airplane? “And insistently demands love. “Do you love me?” She asks each of us.
Emigration is a constant separation, it is a duality. This is the beautiful butterfly that looks at me from the electronic cover of the magazine. And I do not understand how the girl Asya, who lived all her life in Latvia, was able to catch this mood? One word is an artist!
I’m not there anymore, and I’m not here yet. I entered the English language as something sideways and not until the end. And does not enter anymore, as I do not try. And it does not get better. And it sits there inside, awkward and clumsy. And the Russian language had to move and he sits hurt, losing words, like our orange tree – leaves, when my husband transplanted it. “Er. how will it be in Russian? “- I pull, inserting into the Russian speech an American word.
Emigration is a constant fault before relatives for giving up. Because my nephew lived without me for so many years. For the fact that in a casual passer-by he had long seen the look of his American aunt. He became a grown man, the father of the family. He does not say anything about his life. “Everything is fine with us,” I listen to his voice in the phone like a reproach.
Emigration is when your old friends can no longer share with you those experiences that have fallen to your lot, and you can not understand their present life. You do not have a common present, you are united only by the past.
Emigration is when your father dies without you and you could not tell him the last “Forgive!”. Emigration is when you did not sit at the bedside of a dying girlfriend in Riga, Tanya, did not hold her hand, did not say goodbye to her when she left there.
Emigration is a constant search for yourself, your place in this life. Feverish fitting of “your niche”, which in actual fact is not yours at all. When despondency gives way to hope, and despair is replaced by a thirst for activity and a search for a new corner where you would be comfortable.
Emigration – this is when you do not have enough news about America, when you are in America, and you are bored with small-town Latvian news when you are in Latvia. Emigration is when you are bored in America while in Latvia, and while in America you miss Latvia. Emigration is a world unlike the countries between which you hang out. It has a lot of bright colors. Your eye is used to them and no longer distinguishes between the quiet pastels of the northern nature of your Motherland.
Emigration is when you finally have old friends in emigration. You no longer need crowded noisy party. You finally feel comfortable in your little American-Russian company.
And now I’m listening to the arguments of my Russian friends and our American husbands. Everyone is heated with wine, everyone is arguing about politics. Oh, to me, these endless disputes on the topic of Russia – America! It’s the right time to learn to be silent.
One of the husbands tries to explain to us that we must forget Russia and become full-fledged American women. “Phil, we love America!” I say to him, “Believe me, we love this country with all our heart. But we can not stop feeling Russian. Such a misfortune. ”
I go out into my garden, I watch the lemon blossom, the cucumber sprout from the ground, how the squirrel tries to jump on the bird feeder. I inhale the fragrance of a blossoming rose. For the first time in many years, I finally see all this beauty, I feel it with every cell of my body, I absorb every part of my soul. Hello, America, my house!
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