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They have clung one last time to those they loved, the ones who knew them best. They have scraped together fares, and climbed aboard buses and airplanes and the tops of trains.
They have taken giant, terrifying, now-or-never leaps, believing that what they had yet to see must surely surpass all they were leaving behind. My forbears were among them. Inmy grandfather took his wife and his three children and climbed aboard one of the many buses that were leaving his shrinking Lebanese mountain village.
Word had spread that prosperity was possible in Australia.
He gave up everything he knew on the chance that the stories trickling slowly back from the other side of the planet were true. His brother ran beside the bus as it pulled out of town: A generation later, I, too, leapt into the breach: I said goodbye to my family on a sunny Sydney morning, leaving my country for the first time, hoping for a bigger life in America.
Now I spend my days writing about others who left so much, as my grandfather did. People with far more to escape, and lose, than he.
Dinka boys like Isaac Majak, who fled ravaged villages in Southern Sudan, growing into men on long, deadly treks to Ethiopia and Kenya, with only each other for protection. Men now living in Atlanta, or in Somerville, Massachusetts who, with their hour-a-week jobs and their shared apartments, now live lives of which their relatives, slowly returning to their devastated villages, can only dream.
Cambodians like Chhan Touch, who trekked through jungles and crossed rivers crowded with floating bodies, desperate to escape certain death in the killing fields, seeing horrors along the way that would never leave them.
I ate grass for days. It was a hell life to live," he said. I forget about it, just looking forward. Thank goodness, I live in such a heavenly country. Some had little to give up in the first place. In their struggles to escape or improve their circumstances, few of the immigrants with whom I spend my days gave any thought to the kinds of issues that drive the fractious national debate over immigration, which has so seized the nation in recent years.
The immigration debate in this country is so highly charged because it is an argument over what our national values are, and over who can lay claim to them. Such arguments are not quickly resolved.
But they are vital. With these awards, the Vilcek Foundation honors two immensely successful immigrants, people who took the chances this country gave and blazed spectacular, nationally prominent careers in science and the arts. But the millions of others who have moved heavens and earths to find ways here, who have labored in obscurity to make lives for themselves and their families despite immense odds, are equally striking testaments to this one unassailable fact: The promise of this place endures.
My parents themselves were born in Taiwan, but they traveled to America, where they worked as engineers in the early days of tech, married, and divorced. I was raised by a rather atypical extended family: My mom subsequently married a white guy from Denver, a chiropractor who hauled a device into our living room called the Spinalator.
My dad married my stepmom, an Oracle engineer who fled the Cultural Revolution and possesses Cantonese eating skills that allow her to debone a fish with the dainty effectiveness of a cat. This cast of characters shows how the people we often view as stereotypical hard-working immigrants - say, the Silicon Valley engineers who took up computer science because they possessed neither English fluency nor business connections in America - are also idiosyncratic, individualistic, and passionately human.
We are accustomed to praising the faceless immigrant for stolid virtues - for his ruddy hands that hammered down the railroads, picked the fruit trees of California and Florida, and built postwar New York. And yet as I grow older, I notice that I have begun to reimagine my parents - as we often do - as not just being my mother and father, but as being friends, peers, comrades, who were once my age.
I find myself wondering what motivated them to travel across seas and languages to a country as large and strange as America. I notice that they begin to appear in my memories less like workhorses and more like adventurers.
The enemy of imagination, the Russian critic Victor Shklovsky once said, is the habit.College of Arts and Letters. Program Description.
The English department of California State University, Sacramento, is a community of teachers, scholars, writers, and support staff whose primary mission is to promote learning in composition, creative writing, English education, linguistics, literature, and the teaching of English as a second .
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All these classic books you can read now in our e-Library! Catch up on your reading list, expand your horizons, or just spend a . I love to cook. I probably get it from the Italians in my family.
The women on my mom’s side cook because they have to, not because they like it, I don’t think. Authors these days have to have a “platform”, which basically means a blog, social media presence, things like that. And if I’m being honest, this is the hardest part for me. My Dear Governess: The Letters of Edith Wharton to Anna Bahlmann [Irene Goldman-Price] on iridis-photo-restoration.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.
An exciting archive came to auction in the papers and personal effects of Anna Catherine Bahlmann (–).