Coming To America

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By: Anna Poznyak

Anna with her family.

People hear my accent and ask — “Where are you from?”  “What is it like to move to America?”

These are complicated questions.When you move from Moscow to Atlanta, every part of life is different.

I left Russia on a sunny June day. It was a day that divided my life into before and after. I had never been to the U.S. My Father’s stories promised that the country was a paradise. The place I was meant to be. It was exciting to fly for the first time over America. When we got to Atlanta, I said “Wow, I am finally here!”

It seemed like everything would be perfect. But it wasn’t perfect.

The teenagers I met were nothing like in the movies. They were nice, but too busy to care about new students like me. For a long time I felt like a guest, not a member. I didn’t get the excitement about chocolate chip cookies and cupcakes. And I didn’t see why Americans always prefer driving their cars. I still believe moving to another country is the most powerful experience a person can have. I have found some new strength. But it’s not easy. My hands still shake when I compete in a volleyball game, I am still a bit afraid to take any test. My shyness means I have only one true friend: my mother.

Living in “paradise,” now I realize I miss my old home. I miss my family members and friends, all left behind — across the ocean.But I’m slowly finding joy in things here too. Smiling, helpful people. Tasty food. The warm, marvelous weather of the South. My ideas are encouraged in America. I can follow my passions.

Now, when people ask me how I am doing, I say “I’m adjusting.” But on the inside, I feel shaken up and turned upside down. And this is how it feels, changing your life for the American dream.


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