Each day thousands of people move to the United States. They move to stay. They move to change their lives, habits, language, friends and culture. No matter where you come from – an exciting, flamboyant city, a cozy town or little village on the edge of the earth, from better or worse – and no matter what your intentions are, your life will be changed forever and you’ll never get it back.
Who are they, American immigrants? They become neighbors and colleagues to Americans who were born here, people who stand next to you in a café, reading the menu in English and mumbling, trying to understand what to order, people who cross the street without waiting for the light, people who live in the US with an accent, a foreign accent they will probably never lose. They are all as different as their accents – some are funny and clumsy, some are elegant, some are confident and stubborn, some are sweet and overly polite, some are smart and well educated, some are not, some are ready to melt and blend their culture into a new melting pot, some are planning to stand up and be proud of their heritage.
I am one of them – standing in this colorful crowd, a woman who married an American and who also speaks with an accent, a Russian one. When we just moved to the US, I remember the emptiness and confusion. Every morning I would look at the white tray-shaped ceiling of my bedroom and wasn’t able to bring myself to wake up and start my day. The only one question lazily and monotonically repeated in my mind: “What is it? Is it a sunrise or a sunset to move to a new country (a countryside to be more accurate) from a metropolis at forty-something years old, leaving behind family and friends who speak my language, towns and cities I grew up in, a good job, busy subways, the morning chaos of Moscow city life which magically fills my soul with harmony, the rude crowds and ridiculously small but cozy apartment? Is it a sunrise or a sunset to send a daughter to college in New York, and realize that your little blond girl is not little anymore… No travel to lovely Europe – it has become too far and too expensive. I am a medical doctor, but I couldn’t practice medicine here. There is no public transportation around. I have to learn to drive even though I never wanted to. I have to learn many things and what is especially important; I have to learn to like them. How long would I feel so empty and lonely on my lovely patio in my beautiful house, and why doesn’t this feeling go away. It seemed that the circle of questions would never end… That was happening to me a year ago.
I remember also, we drove with my family to Ikea to look for some furniture for our half-empty house. I was reading a catalog and listening to Russian songs. At the last page of the catalog there was a sign “Every end is a new beginning”. I mumbled this phrase to myself several times. “Every end is a new beginning”. That time I decided to take that simple phrase of the advertising catalog as advice I have to follow. It was a year ago…Some things has changed, some are still the same.
Every end is a new beginning…Here you go