37 Years an Immigrant

Yesterday was the 37th anniversary of my immigration to America from the former Soviet Union and I forgot all about it. The date isn’t circled or marked on my calendar. Maybe my parents independently raised a shot glass toasting the memory, but I’ve gone years without noting the day. ...more

Old Photos Play Tricks with My Memory

People haunt me from the past; the mysteries of what’s become of them. When my family came to America in 1979, we didn’t document our everyday life the way we do in today’s selfie generation. We broke out the cameras for special events, birthday parties, weddings, occasional trips to the zoo, and vacations. Studying through old images, I recognize a familiar group of people reappearing in backgrounds for an entire decade of history. Upon further reflection, I realize this was a false rendition of history. We only saw those people about 5 times a year and they dominated all of our photos....more

I Called Russia in 1985

I was 11 years old and I was the one in my family responsible for calling Russia. In 1985 we had just moved to Staten Island; we were in our ivory-wallpapered living room, on the taupe leather couches. The house was immaculate with its modern window treatments and cream-colored carpet. It hadn’t yet been soiled by the mastiff’s muddy footprints or by the stench of glazed donuts and spilled cognac. Those memories hadn’t soaked into the floors yet; this was early still in our family’s tenure at the Staten Island house.  ...more

The Eternal Guilt of an Immigrant

My oldest nephew will turn 16 on Christmas Eve. When he was born, I lived in Slovakia and my sister lived in Germany. The first time I saw him he was two-month-old. I still remember it like it was yesterday - getting off the S-bahn, my sister meeting me with the stroller and I couldn't see anything but layers of blankets. Holding him for the first time. Having him falling asleep on my shoulder every time I picked him up. The love. The dread. My sister bundled him up in a stroller and sent me out for a couple of hours so she could clean....more

Love, Friendship, Patriotism ... Why I'm an Immigration Ally

In 1997, at age 32, I felt like Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn in that movie The Internship, only instead of interning at Google, I was interning just down the road from Google at a weekly newspaper called the Mountain View Voice. Frustrated by the teaching market in California at the time, I decided to take a year off from substitute teaching and endless job applications to try something I'd always wanted to do: journalism....more


Last night I heard the first of July fireworks through our bedroom window.  I felt a little left out, like Cinderella leaving the ball early, losing her glass slipper in her hurry.  It reminded me of all the Dominion Day celebrations of my childhood - of being left out.  I was that child, face pressed against the window, outside looking in....more

"Don't Tell Anyone" documentary: What it means to NOT be afraid

At first sight, Angy Rivera seems like your average American college student juggling classes, internships, extra curricular activities and a social life. Going about her day in New York City one might never suspect the impact this young activist is causing in her community....more

Mid-Week Doldrums

This & ThatHo-Hum, it's Wednesday.  I think the reason they call it "Hump Day" is because it is so hard getting up to finish the day.  Then the rest of the week is full steam ahead!  Didn't get much accomplished today, unless you consider cruising the internet and watching a Lifetime Movie productive!  ha haIn The News...more

The American Dream: Do Immigrants Have A Say?

We were sitting in People’s Park off Kirkwood, which is one of the main student drags. I was with 3 other girls for our summer weekly Book Nosh, and we were about to dig into some of the characters of CS Lewis’ The Great Divorce. Everyone was slurping up some iced coffee drinks and other summery liquid confections, and in a wonderful mood, I think, with the air cooling down, the sun slowly setting though it was still quite light out. And then 2 young men walked up and asked out of the blue:Can we ask you a question? What do you think about the American Dream?...more
So true, that the "American Dream" is so usually referred to only in sarcasm or as a punchline. ...more

Fibber's Festival

The more a lie is repeated, and the more adamant are those spreading it that it is truth...the more likely is it to be accepted as the truth. This statement is of uncertain origins, but it needs to be in our minds when we read the paper, watch news or opinions on TV, and especially when internet “factoids” come our way. We are heading into a fibber’s festival as the presidential primaries begin next month. What is the source for the statement that the wealthy are the job creators? We have a huge number of wealthy individuals right now, so we should have a huge number of jobs being created....more