All Things Are Possible

This has been a remarkable, unforgettable, historical time for all of Americans and especially for those on the Eastern Seaboard.

First of all: Congratulations to the President on being elected for a second term in Office. Unfortunately, it seems as if his re-election has been overshadowed, especially in the Tri State Area by the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and then only a week later, a major Nor’Easter.

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Talk about rubbing salt into the wound or adding insult to injury. Besides billions of dollars that it will take to rebuild and regroup, many had to deal with over six inches of snow. Buildings and trees that had been spared miraculously during Hurricane Sandy could not withstand the double whammy and succumbed to the effects of the heavy winds and over laden branches.

To quote one little boy on the news: “It is so unfair!”  This was his reaction to the fact that they had just got back power from the blackout caused by Hurricane Sandy only to lose it again because of the snow and heavy winds from the Nor’Easter. A great reminder that no matter how scientifically advanced mankind has become, we have no answers when it comes to “Mother Nature.”

How do you dig out from these dire situations and what gives you the impetus to do so? As all of us who have ever had to deal with tragedy know, the living has to go on living, and the human spirit is so resilient that we find a way. To the world we may look as if we are moving along quite nicely, whereas inside we may be dead and void of emotions. Whatever the case, we will survive and we have to believe that all things are possible.

With survival as our motivation, we may now be able to turn our attention once again to routine, day to day activities and issues. I hope we never take our minds off of the

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Immigration plight of so many of our fellow human beings. Remember if those of us who were US citizens suffered during these natural disasters, how much more would an immigrant struggle? When we cannot work, we will file for unemployment and our medial needs will be taken care of as well. What does an undocumented Immigrant do? It is unimaginable who some people have to endure!!

Let us hope that the positive trend that was started by the present administration: Allowing young people ages 16 to 33 who are in school or have a GED to be granted work permits, driver’s licenses and some basic legal rights (Albeit for two years) will continue and bring lots of relief.

Please understand no one is advocating that it is OK to break the law, but at times even the Gods were willing to “Temper Justice with Mercy!”

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And Then Comes The Culture Shock

Leaving a very sheltered life where I was surrounded by family and friends to come to America, ALONE was like uprooting a giant oak from its roots and leaving it to flounder at the mercy of the elements.

There was tremendous culture shock with regards to the weather – when I saw the sunshine, I assumed it would be warm only to realize that in that I was no longer in a tropical country. In America, during the winter time, it can be extremely cold even though the sun is shining.

As any immigrant I am sure that it is scary, but as a FEMALE immigrant, it is way more than scary. It is intimidating and downright horrifying. Not only do you have to worry about finding a job and sustaining yourself, you also have to worry about SAFETY… as a single female, who had never lived alone or even been away from home for more than a weekend in the hospital, it was OVERWHELMING.

Below you will find a small excerpt from “The Green Grass” which goes into detail about my first experience with a new culture upon arriving to the USA. 

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I was leaving everything that was familiar and safe; and venturing into a great vastness of uncertainties. I felt like a huge oak that was being uprooted and thrown out into a turbulent sea to go as it would wherever the waters took it. This was my mindset as we touched down at JFK International Airport.

There was no more time for moroseness of self-pity. It was time for action! I had to be alert and ready to answer questions from the Immigration Officer. Was I anxious? You bet. I retrieved my suitcase and stood in line to face the man or woman who determine my fate.

My officer was a middle aged, short, semi balding guy who seemed kind enough. He was actually smiling as I approached. He asked me some routine questions as to where I was going and to stay and so on. Did I have anything in my suitcase that I should not have?

“How long do you plan to stay?” He continued.

“One month,” I replied.

“Would you be able to stay away from your family for that long?

“That I am sure about, I may want to run back after a few days.”

I think these were tricky parts in the questioning process and I tried to answer as best as I could. I really felt like I wanted to turn around right there and run back home. Lo and behold, he stamped my passport– he had given me six months to stay in the USA.

I now had to be checked by the customs officer who opened up my suitcase and took away some of the fruit that I had brought. My brother had gone through a whole of trouble to get these special delicacies for his son, unfortunately it was not meant to be.

I was very happy to see my nephew waiting for me beyond the ropes for visitors and as I was walking towards him, I heard someone saying,

“Miss, Miss, wait!”

I looked around and stopped dead in my tracks. The officer who just interviewed me was running after me. Oh my God, what was going to happen now? Was he going to take back the Visa? Was I going to have to go back home and hang my head in shame? He caught up to me and said,

“Oh Miss, you left your $40.00 on my desk.”

You were allowed to bring $40.00 Guyana dollars with you. Phew!! What a relief! But, what a way to enter America. This was the first of many kindnesses that were bestowed on me in this great land of America. There were so many rumors of people being very unkind and rude; that was dispelled in my first day there. This officer was just coming off duty and he realized that I had left my money there. He did not have to, but he took the time and effort to return it to me.

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Have you ever experienced Culture Shock? What was it like for you?