Sigh. I sit here tonight with so many sad feelings. Another family member passed away. Another family member that I have not seen in years. Another family funeral I will not attend. Simply because 20 years ago I hopped on a plane and came to the US for college. Then almost 15 years ago I said yes to my tall-American dream and made a life-changing decision. 13 years ago I officially became an “immigrant” to this country (students are not considered immigrants as the student visa are very specific that you will return to your country of origin when your studies end). And last year, just in time to vote, I became an American, in Trump’s America.
I remember sitting in front of the immigration officer as he conducted by final interview. He went on this rant about how I was the “right type of immigrant”. I work in research, I pay taxes (a lot), I (we) own 2 homes, I am well-educated. I have contributed (and will continue to contribute) to this country in many ways. He congratulated me repeatedly, that I was a good person, industrious and serving this country well.
I literally sat there seething. After this unrequested speech had gone on for some time, I simply said “imagine if I had kept all that industriousness, persistence, talent and brains in my own country, imagine how well I could have contributed there.” Then I thanked him for everything and said I loved this country – I didn’t want him to revoke my papers that he had yet to stamp. sigh. All of this while family members get old and die. Family members I am not always able to see during short trips home. Or family members I only see during the funerals I am able to attend.
So to see the current (coz let’s admit, there’s been many) backlash against immigrants – legal or otherwise, hurts. Do you know the sacrifices immigrants make to come and contribute to your society? DO YOU? Hell, even the Orange One is a first generation american and his wife may have legally or otherwise become an immigrant herself. But then again, “white” immigrants are always the most acceptable. Well, that’s neither here nor there. I try not to get involved in politics here on this blog, the rants would never cease to be honest. And I am trying very hard not to be an angry person.
Today I want to be a respectful person. I miss my family. More than i ever let on. It was my decision to make and my burden to carry to become an immigrant. I didn’t come here because I was hungry, destitute, nor in danger. I came here to educate myself and return, but then met my true love. I sacrificed love because I found love. But I still miss the cousins I grew up with, the best friends I had, the family members I’ve had to maintain a relationships with via skype, facebook and whatsapp. The nieces and nephews I see getting older (while I stay refreshingly young-looking.) I miss my culture, my language, my friends, my town, my church, my parents. Sometimes I wonder how different my life would be had I returned. I know this much, I would attend many funerals and pay my respect.
All of this this to simply say Good bye Tshego… rest in peace.