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Seelix's avatar

Are you an immigrant? Will you tell us a little about your life?

Asked by Seelix (14757 points ) June 22nd, 2011

I’m just curious – this is not intended to spark any debate about whether immigration is a good thing or a bad thing, how to protect borders, blah-dee-blah. So if that’s what you wanna talk about, go do it somewhere else, ‘kay?

Just some ideas – things I’m curious to know. If you’re not comfortable answering the questions, by all means, skip ‘em.

Are you living in a country other than the one in which you were born? Where were you born, and where do you live now? How old were you when you moved to your new country, and how long have you been there? Why did you leave your birth country? Have you been back to visit since your move?

What kind of challenges or culture-shock moments did you encounter (if you were old enough to remember)? What do you miss about your birth country? What are you happiest to have left behind?

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8 Answers

KateTheGreat's avatar

I am originally from a little place called Amursk…one of the coldest places in Russia. Also lived in Sochi for a long time.

At the age of 14, I was adopted into an American family in South Carolina after a series of unfortunate events. I was very happy to have moved away from Russia. At first, it was very hard to adjust. I was made fun of a lot by my peers and nobody could really understand me. I knew English, but it was far from perfect. I didn’t have friends for the longest time.

It took me a couple years to adjust to life here. In the end, I ended up skipping a few years of school and entering college early. It ended up being quite alright.

the100thmonkey's avatar

Are you living in a country other than the one in which you were born? Where were you born, and where do you live now?

I was born in Scotland, I grew up in London. I live in Japan.

How old were you when you moved to your new country, and how long have you been there? Why did you leave your birth country? Have you been back to visit since your move?

I first moved to Japan in 2002, when I was twenty-five. In total, I have lived here for just over five years: 03/2002 – 12/2006 and from 02/2011 – now.

I left the UK because I was, frankly, bored. I was working in the financial sector in IT. To describe it as ‘dull’ wouldn’t quite capture the… uniformity of the monochrome. I went back to the UK to ensure that my children speak English as a native language, and to pursue further education in the field I work in.

What kind of challenges or culture-shock moments did you encounter (if you were old enough to remember)?

As far as challenges go, I suppose learning the language was (is) the biggest concern. Last time I was here, the spoken language was my focus – it’s difficult to do things in any country unless you can speak the local tongue. This time round, it’s about being literate, which is a massive challenge.

When I was here before, it was often a challenge to ‘act Japanese’ and hold my tongue when I thought people were taking bollocks. It’s been less of a challenge this time, because I’m older and more able to recognise when I’m talking bollocks. I suppose I’m a little more sensitive to the differences now, as I’ve learnt incalculably from my Japanese wife, but at the same time I’ve come to realise that the real challenge is understanding and accounting for the difference while still holding on to what you believe. That sounds really cheesy.

What do you miss about your birth country? What are you happiest to have left behind?

Honestly, not much. Some of the food, perhaps, but I really view it as leaving a place where I did some stuff, and I view Japan as much the same. The connections I make are not bound by where I live.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m going to answer for my husband. He was born in Mexico, raised there until high school, then moved to Texas, USA for two years and back to Mexico to finish school. After graduation he went to college in FL, USA and has stayed here ever since.

He says when he first came to live in Texas it was really tough, he hated to speak English, because he was worried about saying something incorrectly, but he had taken English since the age of 4, every year throughout his education. He lived in a small town in Texas and now realizes that the town was part of the reason it was such a difficult transition, other pla es in the US might have been easier. But, he adjusted, was on the football team, it was ok in the end I think.

One of the things he missed, and I think this is always a very big adjustment for most people who move, is the local food. Although, when he arrived in America he loved all of our horrible caloric food. Corn dogs, cheesecake, Oreo’s the plethora of prepared food was overwhelming. He had discovered many of the foods during visits to the US before moving here.

In some ways his personality was very American. His family for many years blamed his high school years in America as being a really bad influence, but I think actually it is his innate personality and America just fit better.

Moving back to America for his education was an act of seeking independence amd autonomy from his family. His sister was living in FL, and so he decided to go to college here.

He says he feels he never would have had the opportunities in Mexico that he had here in America. He still has pride in being Mexican, but also pride in being an American. In many ways he is self made, although his parents did provide the financial backing for his education, but he found his own way, his own path, with no direction from anyone really. In my own opinion I think the American education system helped him find his way, because we reinforce trying many courses, interests, and electives, while other countries tend to more set you on a specific path at a younger age. Of course it varies from stats to state, and cou try to country, but our university system I think always has some elective requirements. My husband found his career in a random college course, one he had never thought of or was aware of previously.

He is always willing to travel, or to work abroad, I guess maybe he is just that type of spirit, sort of fearless, and wanting to see and experience new things. And, I guess when you no longer live in your country of origin, the whole world seems rather open, but in the end he is very American to me, the American dream. On his race car he has an American flag and a Mexican one.

It seems to me my husband never is really thinking of himself as a minority or an immigrant, unless the specific subject comes up.

He has been back to Mexico to either visit family, or for business, and he has no desire to live there again, unless it was just some sort of vacation condo. But, even he worries about the crime and corruption there, similar to how an American might look over their shoulder. But, his favorite taco place still is missed.

On a side note his father has mentioned that America is so different in the macho world regarding gender differences. And, also that Judiasm and religious tension is drastically different in America compared to Mexico. Maybe now it is similar to America?

incendiary_dan's avatar

I tried to change my icon to the drawing I have of a native guy holding a sign saying “Deport Illegal Immigrants” just for this thread, but it cut off the sign so there was little point.

whitenoise's avatar

Being born in Holland, I now live in the heart of the Middle East. I moved earlier this year and my family will follow later as well.

We have at this moment no intention to make this a permanent move. We see it as an adventure and an opportunity to learn new cultures and to show our children there are different ways to live your life from the one they are used to in the Netherlands.

One of the driving reasons was the professional challenge that is beng offered here. I work a a director with what could become (and should be) one of the leading companies in its industry. My wife will also have a very interesting job of a similar level in leading a science institute.

The biggest difference is that everything goes in a totally different time here. Not so much time zone as well as that time here seems to be different overall. Things that we used to setup in hours may take weeks or months here and sometimes the other way around.

Another big difference is the overwhelming presence of religion in this country. People’s lives and all public life, as well, pivot around Islam. Prayer times stop everything, for instance and the way men and women interact is outerworldish to me.

Yet I appreciate the proud hospitable and self aware people of my new home a lot and more every day.

I find submersion in other cultures increases my appreciation and understanding for culture and lifestyles. Of the new home, as well as that of the home I said goodbye to for now.

Bellatrix's avatar

Are you living in a country other than the one in which you were born?

Yes

Where were you born, and where do you live now?

I was born in England and now live in Australia.

How old were you when you moved to your new country, and how long have you been there? I have been here for 28 years ish.

Why did you leave your birth country?

I was quite young and wanted the excitement of living somewhere else. I figured I could always go back if I hated it.

Have you been back to visit since your move?

No, but I will this year. I am a little nervous. I suspect I see things through rose coloured glasses and I am in for a few shocks.

What kind of challenges or culture-shock moments did you encounter (if you were old enough to remember)?

At first I felt a bit like a fish out of water. Even though the language and culture is not so different. It was different. I had never had problems getting a job but it took me about four months because there was nobody for people to call to ask for a reference. Measurements were different (metric here/imperial there when I left). Just learning the ropes. I missed my family and especially my father.

What do you miss about your birth country? The pubs. I still miss the pubs. Some of the shopping. Not much else really now. Edit… the countryside. I love the Australian countryside, but there is a part of me that will always love places like Derbyshire and the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales. I also miss the changing seasons. My favourite seasons were Spring and Autumn and I still miss seeing the trees change colour.

What are you happiest to have left behind? I can’t say there is anything I dislike about my birth country. I just felt there were more opportunities here and my children would have better opportunities too. Now this is my home. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. Have a bit of conflict when there is a footy game on though or the cricket… my husband may divorce me because I insist on being a pom when England is playing Australia.

Scooby's avatar

Q, Are you living in a country other than the one in which you were born?
A, Yes I am :-/

Q, Where were you born, and where do you live now?
A, I was born in Adelaide, south Australia.. I am now living in County Durham, England.. Land of the Bishops.

Q, How old were you when you moved to your new country, and how long have you been there?
A, I was two years old when I was brought to England, that makes it almost forty two years that I have lived here…… :-/

Q, Why did you leave your birth country?
A, After my father was tragically killed, my mother decided to return the family back to England… whence they had came in the early sixties……

Q, Have you been back to visit since your move?
A, Regrettably No, not as yet but it will happen in the next five years I hope.

As for the last part, I was too young to be affected….. I look at the photo’s now & would really like to go back to check the place out & to pay my respects to a father I have no recollection of.
Google earth is a marvellous thing, it at least allows me a snippet of what to expect…… :-/

JLeslie's avatar

@whitenoise You mention the presence of religion and that everything stops for prayer. What I was wondering is do they talk aout religion a lot, and use religious phrases and wos in conversation? Or, does religion not really come up between people or for discussion? Do you ever feel like they care if you are Muslim or not?

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