Sometimes I forget I'm an immigrant. Maybe because I'm an American citizen. Maybe because I'm married to an American. Maybe because my sister and her family are American too. Maybe because I'm bilingual. Or because I write and dream in English. Maybe because I went to graduate school here.
Then something happens like a birthday card arriving from Serbia.
My husband said last night: "You have a letter from your mother."
Letter from my mother?!?! First comes panic. Then I glance at the envelope on the table and it's big and thick.
Oh, it's a card. Of course. My birthday is in a week. My mother always sends me a card. I always send her a card too. That's how I was brought up.
So, I'm happy, I open the card, but then, as I'm reading it...my throat clenches and I feel my nose twitching and my eyes watering up.
Yes, I'm an immigrant, and the words like:" I love you more than anything else in the world, and on your birthday I'm going to go to church to thank God he gave you to me, since I cannot be with you...."
Even now, I'm in a cafe, and I'm choking back tears so my mascara wouldn't drip into my latte and people wouldn't come by to give me their therapists' cards.
If you're an immigrant who left part of your nuclear family in another country, you will understand me.
If not, just try to.
Being an immigrant is like running a race where everybody's lane is flat, and yours has hurdles.
My books touches a bit on this issue.
Let me post this before my nose starts dripping down on my laptop...