Immigrants know that the process of moving to another country is like trying to find your way through dense forest. Sometimes you can’t seem to find a clearing. You struggle through terrain without any idea as to when you are going to rest.
Immigration is full of challenges. Some are more difficult than the others.
You have to leave a lot behind for a vague promise of a better future. We, immigrants, part with our families, homes and friends. Sometimes we run away from poverty, tyranny or instability of our own countries. Yet leaving everything you know behind is a sacrifice. A sacrifice many people struggle with, and many people never risk making.
We, immigrants, make that choice. We choose to sacrifice.
We step on the shores of an unknown land with knowledge that we will have to build anew. And nothing is guaranteed. There are no promises of a good job. There are no promises that you will be able to build a family or find good friends.
The assimilation process takes us awhile, you need to learn to be flexible, adjust and accept culture that is new to you. You start feeling like a chameleon with the amount of adjusting that is required from you.
And on some evenings, when you return exhausted from work or school, home sickness overwhelms you, becoming almost unbearable. On those evenings you question your decisions.
You don’t know if at the end of it all your sacrifices will be worth it.
With those challenges, we have to find great reserves of resilience and strength within ourselves to be able to cope.
And on some days ‘survival’ would be an appropriate term to describe a day in immigrant’s life.
And yet we do it. We leave the comfort of our homes for a complete unknown. We manage to persevere and build lives for ourselves in foreign lands.
Many of us are driven by hopes and possible opportunities in a different country. We have the courage in ourselves to act on a very nature of a human being. That is to try and realize oneself.
Arthur Miller wrote, “The need of man to wholly realize himself is the only fixed star.” We, immigrants, like sailors on a ship, through thunder and turbulent waters, relentlessly follow that star. We believe that one day we will be able to achieve our dreams, no matter how difficult the path may be.
And many of us make the best of what we have and make our hopes come true.
We work hard. And we find ourselves and other immigrants like us in all possible careers. We become policemen, doctors, teachers. We become an integral part of the society.
We travel vast and settle in all the corners of the country.
We build homes, get married and have children.
We build communities in which we get to share our culture and feel more ‘at home’.
In fact, we intertwine our cultures together. In the new land, we teach others about our foods and traditions. Some of us, for example, open restaurants that serve food of their homeland.
We assimilate without loosing our heritage.
Most importantly, we don’t stop hoping and following our own star, whatever it may be. It is not easy but we manage. And we manage to find happiness and home in foreign lands despite all the challenges that we face.
Guest Blogger Karina Nechaeva
Karina is new to the Sentinel Office Family but is no stranger to writing.
As her time in the office grows longer, we hope to hear much more from the wealth of information and experience that Karina has to offer!