Skip to main content

With the Eyes of an Immigrant

For years I taught English as a Second language to teenaged students, mostly recent immigrants to this country. Our lives intersected for a brief amount of time and they may not remember me, but they left a lasting impression in my life.   

One young boy from India marveled at the number of meals we ate in one day when his family was lucky to eat once. Another young man refused to turn in an autobiography, afraid of revealing what “he had to do” to escape Vietnam. Another one has haunted me to this day - a shy, undersized teen, the only son of a well-to-do Iraqi businessman, he cried when his family’s visa ran out in the late 1980’s and he had to return to his country to serve in the military. He was only fourteen.

Most of my ESL students came from poor families, and the most severe had never been inside a school before coming to America.  At home, a daily existence took priority over schooling. Most sought a better or safer future, but some just wanted one. 

Maybe that is how I should view the Fourth of July - not through sunglasses or with a sparkler in my hand, but with the eyes of an immigrant. I need to believe in the land of opportunity and refuge.  I need to be grateful for the long list of privileges it has afforded me and to remember that I have never wanted for my basic freedoms.


  1. Really makes you think about how privileged we are...thanks for sharing! God Bless the USA!

  2. So many criticize our nation for its failings. This blog is a reality check - thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. Thank you, ladies, for commenting. I, too, am so grateful for our country.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Finding My Muse

1)Because my muse has a wicked sense of humor and visits me at odd times and in inconvenient places, I have learned to record inspirations/ideas immediately before I forget them or they dissolve into nothing. I carry small notebooks, own a digital recorder, and have been known to text messages home. I will scribble on anything – old napkins I find in my glove compartment or old receipts. I even pop out of bed in the middle of the night to jot things on sticky pads. 2)Calendars are great places to find topics. I use important dates, seasons, and upcoming holidays to plan blog posts. I can also go back into my work calendar to refresh my memory about meetings, conferences, or books I have read that might be worth sharing with others.   3)I will sit with a good cup of coffee, pen and paper ready, and read the newspaper searching for topics, interesting characters, or modern trends.  News channels and other newsfeeds are just as good.   4)I love to read the TV and movie guides for titles and…

The Girl Who Eats Canned Spinach

I went to a Catholic elementary school run by strict Belgian nuns, and we could not leave the cafeteria until we ate everything served on our food tray. Once a week, they served warmed, canned spinach with our meal. The spinach tasted nothing like the way my grandmother made it, but I ate it. I gulped it down in three or four bites and it amazed my table mates. I told them we ate it at home so I was used to the taste. Now, my real problem began the day I ate the spinach off my friends’ trays so we could go play outside. As soon as the nun monitoring the cafeteria turned her back, my friends ate something off my tray I didn’t want, and I ate their serving of spinach. I only did it for two of my table mates, but the word spread. On the next Spinach Day, kids followed me to my table.I was suddenly very popular, and as soon as the nun marched off to the other end of the cafeteria, my friends and an army of others who only knew me as The Girl Who Eats Spinach, begged me to take their servin…

Facing My Fear of Guns

With the ownership of firearms comes responsibility, so I had asked HoneyBunch several times to teach me how to shoot and to help me get my License to Carry. I got my wish two weeks ago. HB and I signed up to take a LTC class. He bought me a gun, one similar to his, that would be the type we needed to show shooting proficiency, and for one whole week he tried to get me to become familiar with it, but I was hesitant. I read the booklet that came with the gun. I practiced loading and shooting it in what is called dry shooting (no bullets), and since the flyer said I would have to shoot thirty shots at different distances, I finally tried with it loaded. I was a nervous wreck. The class of twelve turned out to be close to forty people. We were of all ages, colors, and genders, and I was glad I wasn’t the only woman my age. The shooting test came first, and we were separated into two groups. Those who were proficient (or thought they were) would shoot first, and those who were novices wou…