The day I ‘became’ was new, exciting, cold and pristine, fresh snow littered the pavement as I emerged into the world. I brought myself, one suitcase, no money, inappropriate winter clothing and was rich with all the excitement in the world.
It was a February day and the bitter winter air assaulted me like no other, I never felt its effects for I had made it home.
I was a teenager, one who came from the other side of the world, full of dreams. I had been brought up in a very conservative family, My parents had divorced when I was a mere five years old and as such my sister and I had spent much of our formative years under the tutelage of our maternal grandmother along with my aunts and uncles.
Ours is a family where outward expressions of affections was not the norm and in fact were rare to non-existent. We were well-fed, cared-for and protected but it was all with an unspoken language never the spoken word.
I was referenced as the ‘shy one’. I was not much of a talker as a child and as such had become an avid listener. This skill was honed to perfection and not much went on in my family that I was not privy to. My sister on the other hand was a tattletale and nothing sacred could ever be said in her presence.
The day of my arrival was beautiful, I just knew this is where I was meant to be. I was always feeling hot and sweaty back home and the cold air was just perfect for me. I still feel the same.
I remember that even as a child playing I always looked up at the heavens and told myself that I would not grow old in my country but would imagine myself on the planes that flew way way overhead going to a far away land…America.
Now on that fateful day in February here I was, at long last an American. I assimilated very quickly to my new world and have loved it eversince. Sometimes looking back it seems as if the first part of my life happened to another person and I remember that part of my life from a vewers’ perspective.
It would be more than fifteen years before I would finally be able to visit the family I had left behind and the occasion was indeed a joyous one. The memory still brings a smile to my face and gladness to my heart. I have since returned many many times and even plan to relocate there in the future but somehow I know in my heart ‘I will always be an American’.