1996/97 & 1999 | Volgograd, Russia | Age: 26/27 & 29
Really, we are a new generation of immigrants. The earlier waves are the true immigrants. They knew they were never going back. They took whatever valuable possessions they had and brought them here because they thought they were severing all ties to the USSR. My mom's cousin's family immigrated in ‘86, and they brought everything, including wood clothespins. Everything they didn’t take, they had sold back there. It was almost as if people were burning their life behind them.
As for me, I traveled back and forth for a few years, so I had a good sense of what I wanted to bring and what wasn’t necessary. I also didn’t need to bring my valuables all at once.
Eventually, what I did bring with me were books. This one is my favorite. My kids are old enough now to understand it, and I even taught my older one to read it in Russian. The story of how I got this book is an interesting one. When my sister and I were 4 or 5, my grandma picked us up from daycare one day. It was a cold, dark winter evening. We were walking down the street, and then we saw it lying right there, under the streetlight on the snowy sidewalk. We looked around, but there was no one there to claim it. It was brand new at the time. Imagine that! So we took it. And ever since then it has been my favorite book. I don't remember laughing as hard at any other book in my life. So you see, it's pretty old now. It has all my markings in it. I tried to make the illustrations better, more colorful. I think I was just disappointed that they were black and white.