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Post 5: Thoughts on Immigration

Filed under: Uncategorized — bipasha255 at 8:32 pm on Sunday, September 26, 2010

Iyer, Danticat and Kim all have very different views on immigration. Each one of them had different experiences, Danticat and Kim in my opinion experienced what a true immigrant felt like, when compared to Iyer. After reading Pico Iyer’s “Nowhere Man”, I wouldn’t necessarily call him an immigrant. He had an interesting life, in which he took a plane to school. However, as cool as it might sound to us, I can only imagine how difficult it was for Iyer to have to settle down every time in a different environment, whether it be England, California or the many places he went for vacation. His position in this situation wouldn’t necessarily be of an immigrant because he wasn’t moving from one country to another in search of a better life like Danticat and Kim. He was born in England to Indian parents, and grew up in California where he attended school. He lived a life of freedom and mobility and like I mentioned it isn’t considered as being an immigrant but you sure feel like one at times when you don’t fit in. His personal experiences make some very strong points:

“We are the transit loungers, forever heading to the departure gate. We buy our interests duty-free, we eat our food on plastic plates, we watch the world through borrowed headphones. We pass through countries as through revolving doors, resident aliens of the world, impermanent residents of nowhere. Nothing is strange to us, and nowehere is foreign. We are visitors even in our own homes.” (Iyer 353)

He also mentions: “If all the world is alien to us, all the world is home” and I felt like that line made his point. However, one line that he has left me thinking about as of yet is: “But there are some of us… who go down to the baggage carousel and watch our lives circling, circling, circling, waiting to be claimed” which is what his essay implies, he is waiting to be claimed somewhere, like all immigrants wait.

Danticat’s essay implies her thoughts on immigration, as she waited to immigrate to New York, her city on the hill; the imaginary haven of her life. The points that she makes throughout her essay are from an immigrant’s point of view. Her personal experiences give us the reader a true understanding of what the life of an immigrant’s is like. I myself never experienced this, but both my parents were immigrants here and I know that my dad worked day and night to save up enough money to bring my mom here, buy a house, raise kids and support his family back home. My dad is also a yellow cab driver so while reading Danticat’s essay I could recall faint memories of my dad working really hard, driving long hours each and every day to support the family. I really liked the Creole expression Danticat included in her essay: “washing one’s hands only to dry them in dirt”.

Kim’s essay was quite humorous to some extents, and the fact that she grew up in my neighborhood, Woodside, I was able to imagine all that happened with her.

“The first English world I learned at the junior high near Queens Boulevard was F.O.B., short for “fresh off the boat.” It was a mystery why some kids called me that when I’d actually flown Korean Air to Kennedy Airport.”

That one line brought back memories of my junior high school (probably the same one she attended since it was also near Queens Blvd.) and I could feel her confusion and perhaps anger. It reminded me of the time when my dad went to India and came back with some dresses and my mom had made me wear one to school for picture day. All day, everyone had called me a F.O.B., knowing that I was born and brought up in Queens, New York and never had been on a boat in my life!  I really enjoyed reading Kim’s essay because it was told from the point of view of a young immigrant girl who was living in royalty back in Korea but had to adjust to the normal teenage life here in America. However, I really liked when she stated: “We are 100 percent American on paper but not quite in our soul”. It is something my mom always says and implies to me and my siblings even though we all were born here. The ending of Kim’s essay was really deep and not what I was expecting. I just found it interesting how people can meet people they used to know after many years in situations like this. The positive aspect I got out of this ending what she never let Korea go from her because about 20 years after immigrating, she was volunteering as an interpreter which meant she never let go of her language and most probably her culture either.

I wouldn’t say I disagree with any of the three essays because they are all different in their own ways. I enjoyed reading each and every one of them and was able to relate to them to certain extents.

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