Location: Palm Beach County, Florida, United States

Recently have been told I look like Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island. I hadn't heard that in years, but that is a good place to start as to what I look like, although she had a better bod. I have three boys and have been married for 13 years. Born of a Navy family, in Hawaii, one Mom, one Dad, one sister and one brother. The eldest of three children. BS in Applied Mathematics. Consider Pensacola my home town although I moved every 2-3 years of my life growing up. Currently work in the aerospace industry in an engineering position while being a Mom. Of Celtic heritage and very proud of it.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

If it Walks Like a Duck...

My 2nd son has a project to do… an interview with an immigrant. What a pain in the neck. I called a friend of mine and said, “What does this say about me that I don’t know any immigrants?” She said something about my being insular. Hey, it’s not intentional.

Well, it isn’t that I don’t KNOW any immigrants, it’s just some of them I can’t ask to help or it’s not a good selection. For instance, our two priests, one is from Ireland and one is from Italy. Both get asked by every kid. Pass on that one, thank you.

Then there is of course my sister in law who is from Syria, but doesn’t consider herself from Syria. We’re not interviewing her again because when my first son interviewed her it dredged up all sorts of pain and I can’t do that to her again. But, it was interesting doing the interview… it went something like this:

Me: Hey, Son#1 has to do an interview of an immigrant. Can he interview you?

SiL: I’m not an immigrant.

Me: Yes you are.

SiL: No I’m not.

Me: Hon, listen to me. Where were you born?

SiL: Syria

Me: Where were your parents born?

SiL: Egypt and Syria.

Me: So were you considered a citizen of Syria when you were a child.

SiL (looking at me thoughtfully): Yup.

Me: And where are you a citizen now, since you were 12?

SiL: Here.

Me: Well, by my reasoning and the definition of an immigrant, you, my friend, are an immigrant.

SiL: I have never thought of myself as an immigrant. Wow. I just think of myself as an American.

Then she is in the kitchen cooking and I can here her saying, “*I* am an immigrant” “I AM an immigrant” “I am an IMMIGRANT”, putting the stress on different words. Finally she says to me, “No matter how I say it, it doesn’t fit. I don’t feel like an immigrant.” Made me want to ask what it was supposed to feel like to be an immigrant, but I let is slide, in particular as the interview dredged up bad things of her past she just as soon forget.

So we’ve been thinking and thinking and I almost e-mailed Eric and asked if his Straight White Wife would be receptive to a phone interview with some 2nd grader she doesn’t know, but then I remembered one my of best friends from high school is an immigrant from Viet Nam. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me as I speak to her still once a week or so. Perhaps it is because she doesn’t “Seem” like an immigrant, although I’m not sure what an immigrant is supposed to “Seem” like.

I called her two days ago. She lives in Hawaii right now, so I have to make sure that we get this whole time thing coordinated when I call since she’s 6 hours behind us. I called her and said, “We have to do an immigrant interview and I was wondering if you would do it.” She’s game. But once again, it kind of threw her for a loop. See… all these people I know are fully assimilated Americans. They don’t view themselves as immigrants. They view themselves as Americans. They came over as children, schooled with us, adopted many of our customs, and went to college with us. They married American men, have American children, and… are American.

It’s just interesting, this whole immigrant thing. Her interview is going to be very cool and she’s not emotionally tortured by her past. Her Dad was a Captain in the S. Vietnamese Army and they had to leave or be killed during the Fall of Saigon. They were brought over by a Christian church in what I consider my home town. It was scary, the small boats, leaving their lives behind, the threat of death, but she is very open about her story and I am looking forward to my son hearing it.

How he translates it on paper will be another story.


Anonymous Harvey said...

Being an immigrant feels like being the happiest person on Earth because you're finally out of whatever crappy country you left behind.

Unless you're from England, in which case it feels sad because you miss tea-time :-)

9:17 AM  
Blogger Jody said...

Oh, promise you will share the finished assignment with us!! PLEASE!

And to Harvey: I've only visited England and I feel like I'm missing tea time.

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

... heh.. that would have been awesome!... I am sure that my Wife would have had a blast answering his questions!...

3:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hell, I could've helped out on this one -- tons of my friends are immigrants. Hmm...I may even know some legal ones. :)

Toluca Nole

2:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hell, I could've helped out on this -- tons of my friends are immigrants. Hmm...I may even know a few legal ones. :)

Toluca Nole

2:57 PM  

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