My Immigrations

My first immigration was euphoric, ecstatic, there was no trauma at all. The second immigration, however, was deeply traumatic. Today I can say that it took me about 10 years to get mostly over the trauma, which is normal for adult immigrants. (Of course, there are those who loudly insist there was no trauma. These are the ones who never got over theirs. Just like those who get divorced.)

The biggest factor in this difference was age. Our psychological problems get more difficult to carry as we get older. (This is, by the way, the reason why many people believe that psychological problems are acquired much later than they actually are.) The trauma of immigration was imperceptible while I was young and my psychological burden was still easy to carry. But as I got older, it got harder to carry these problems without falling down.

Now I’m almost entirely over it and don’t even want to go back to Canada. They have sales tax, their political space is boring, there’s never anything to buy, the field of Hispanic Studies is overrun by a mafia, and – to use a tired old cliché – there are not nearly as many opportunities. The US is a very slowly and laboriously acquired taste but once I did acquire it, I really dig it.

A Culturally Insensitive Machine?

I just bought N one of those programmable, multi-option tea-brewing machines for New Year’s. It felt like a good idea at first but now I’m wondering if it might be culturally insensitive. I wouldn’t like it if he got me a borscht-making machine, would I?

I have fallback gifts, too, but this was going to be the centerpiece of the celebration. 

P.S. And no, I couldn’t get him a samovar because a samovar needs actual flames and any suggestion of an electrical samovar freaks out a Russian person really badly.

A Happy Russian Fellow

N and I haven’t been able to get much sleep for 3 nights because we discovered this YouTube channel – and yes, we know we are too old for this shit but we can’t help ourselves – created by a Russian fellow in his sixties who emigrated to Canada in the same year that I did and is publishing videos to help prospective immigrants decide if they should go to Canada.

We are now hopelessly addicted to these videos because the Russian fellow is so positive, happy, kind and tolerant that it is beyond bizarre to hear him speak Russian. We have never seen a Russian-speaker who is not mentally deficient have such a sunny personality without a shade of cynicism or anger. Moreover, we have never seen a Russian-speaking immigrant who is so honestly excited about the new country yet not hateful towards the old country. And the guy is not fake. He actually seems to be sincerely happy and at peace with the world. 

N and I watch this unicorn for hours, imagining what it would be like if all Russians were like this fellow.