A snapshot of my immigration story
A little girl I am whisked away. All together, Mama, Papa and Babushka (grandma) board a plane to who knows where. We all land safely, on some ground. I ask “Is this where we are moving to?”
“No, dear not yet, this is where we wait.” I am told.
Wait? Alright then, it is a lovely place. Near the beach we stay with Senora Maria. They don’t speak my language here, I quickly realize. They speak Italian, we are in Lodispoli, somewhere south of Rome, Mama tells me. There are children there and they are friendly, we play outside, mostly on the beach and I learn “ciao” and many new words as I play each day. I understand them soon enough and they laugh when I say something funny in Italian but they help me and I learn.
Three months fly by and the wait is over, we must board another plane. Babushka is tired and somewhat ill; she seems scared as mama and papa explain that we have the “Visa’s” whatever those are, but they are happy so I know it must be a good thing. As the plane lands safely once again I ask “Is this where we are going to live?” Mama says yes while busy making sure our parcels are all there.
There are very few parcels, and I was only allowed to bring my favorite doll, just one. I left the rest behind with my best friend, Katya. She seemed happy but still cried that morning when we left. She knew we would not see each other again; she was older than I and much cleverer.
So there we are in a very busy airport once again, waiting. Suddenly I am whisked into the arms of a beautiful young girl. She hugs me as black tears rush down her face. Mama is confused but I know this girl, it is Marina my only cousin. Mama is shocked she has grown so much, a woman she is and they hug and cry. Bella and George my Totya (aunt) and Dadya (uncle) are there too. Everyone is crying, but not me, it’s too exciting with all the commotion.
I hold Babushkas hand as we walk through “JFK” and it is a long walk for her. She is tired, very tired and I want to leave this place with all the strange people speaking another language I don’t understand. Marina speaks it well and I laugh when I learn my first word, “OK”. Everything is “ok” as we get into the van with our parcels and everyone in the van together. Mama and Bella keep crying and laughing, they act strange and nervous but I am OK. We are on our way to our new house, it is May 10, 1979 and it is hotter than I have ever felt before.
Copyright ©2008 Veronica Romm
Can also be found on Blogsboro.com