When I started private high school my sophomore year, I met a fellow Russian student and we became very close friends. Living in the suburbs and away from where most of my other Russian friends grew up, (mainly in Brooklyn and Queens) it was great to finally have a friend with whom I shared the same immigration experience and could speak the language to. Although, in the last few years we have completely lost touch, I still miss her and the bond we shared. She was an incredible writer from day one and for an assignment she wrote this poem about the disillusioned families that ventured here, and I thought it was brilliant and basically memorized it and have shared it with many people throughout my life, as I am sharing it with you now. I wish I could credit her here using her full name and if she happens upon it, I will be thrilled too, but for the sake of her privacy I shall only give her first name, Zorina G. (which means a Queen in Russian). I miss my friend and thank her for this piece of writing that has stayed close to my heart. I hope that one day we will find one another again, maybe this poem will find her. Who knows?
When we heard about this country we were
under the impression that the sidewalks were paved with gold.
When we came to this country we discovered several things;
First, the sidewalks were not paved in gold.
Second we realized the sidewalks were not paved at all.
And third, that in fact we were supposed to pave them.
“Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation.”
“Friendship is unnecessary,
like philosophy, like art…
It has no survival value;
rather is one of those things that give value to survival.”
“Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow.
Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead.
Just walk beside me and be my friend.”