It’s never easy to be an immigrant; not even when you’re a college graduate and have a relatively decent job. You can be treated as a stranger for an indefinite amount of time; a time that may even reach a second or third generation (depending on how much your race gets mixed or your name changed).
After a few months in this cold country, and after having gone through some tough times at work and in the neighborhood I called my mother once to tell her that I was afraid I had lost my voice. She thought I had caught a cold or something. She said ginger tea would work marvels.
I tried to explain to her that I felt as if I was running out of words, like my words did not matter anymore.
She panicked at the idea of me forgetting our mother tongue. I warned you, she admonished. I told you you had to keep talking, even in your sleep, so you don’t forget us. You forget to speak in our language, next thing you forget is our names or what we mean to you, she said.
I calmed her down reminding her that I was not speaking with an accent or anything like that. She got impatient then. Why are you saying those silly words, then? she asked.
I told her I felt I could not speak my mind anymore. I was a foreigner whose opinion about this new land were not always welcome (regardless of how balanced or well-informed they were) and whose opinions about her own land were now rejected under the assumption that, by leaving, I had renounced my own people. I had relinquished my right to have a say in our country’s destiny because I had not stayed there to fight.
I had no voice anywhere.
Who cares? she said matter-of-factly. Just forget about politics and live. Work hard, enjoy what you can, help those you can, and rest.
I tried to explain to her that sooner or later politics would knock at our door and it would affect us whether we answer or not, especially if we let other make the decisions for us.
She was not persuaded by that. I’m too old to worry, she said. And you’re too young to care. Just take a fancy hot shower or bath, like those we see in movies and go to bed early. The ginger tea will help with that too.
Thank me later, she said and hung up.
Thanks for your reading
This was my entry to @mariannewest and @latino.romano’s 5-Minute Daily Freewrite: Wednesday Prompt: GINGER TEA. You can see the details here.
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greetings @hlezama a very moving account of the experience of being an immigrant in a foreign country. It is true that even if you have a decent job and a college education, it can be difficult to feel accepted and fit into a new culture.
Thanks. It is indeed. Of course, many immigrants make it more difficult when they try to impose their ways and perpetuate any bad reputation their group may have.