Immigrants in unknown territory

It is grey and cold outside but I am feeling grateful. I have shelter, I know I will get my next meal and more than that, I have friends visiting soon.

When you come in to a new country with no family ties, no anchors, no road map, it is almost frightening. There is so much to learn about a new culture, the nuances you missed when you visited, the unspoken rules, the class barriers you had only observed before. It can be a minefield with no brochure. When you come with a little child and no one makes moves to play with him in the playground, you wonder if it’s the color of your skin or the look of your clothes. If you have an unusual job like mine, there is no nine-to-five tidy office slot in which you may share lunches and be part of the black mass that emerges out of glass and concrete to spill into tubes and cars. It can be a very lonely and difficult world to inhabit and you wonder at your choices.

Yes, it may be hard, but if you are open to possibilities, then it has its rewards. Lately talking to a young woman in her twenties, (brought here in her early teens but completely adapted to being an American citizen), I was struck at her desire to be married to someone within her community even though the rest of her life does not reflect these limitations; and I thought, how sad, how sad that you cannot just let it happen, no regulations, no expectations except love, adventure, excitement and possibilities.

As I look around, I am charmed by the array of friends we have made over the years here, from different backgrounds, different ages and different ethnicities. How rich is our life when the unexpected relationship walks in, even while we crave the company of our dearest family members, so far away across oceans and continents. For every ten you have gone over and above for, there may be only one who responded, but, hey, you know that’s the gem. People who share your view of life, have the same morals and principles. yet what makes them stand out amongst others is that most of them are engaged in passionate enterprises you may or may never have heard of before. Or they share your mad “janoon’ for dance, art, music and theater. They eat life up with zest and vigor and more importantly, they are all thinking souls, not afraid to look as deep within as without. For what would life be without debate and discussion, rubbing one’s brain against anothers and growing?

When you a have no family to share celebrations with and lean on and in times of pain and trouble, your friends show up, carrying with them flowers joyously blooming, warm home cooked meals and best of all, taking time out of their busy lives to come share your hearth, you know all your efforts to forge bridges have meant something.

You can only say, Thank you, and turn your face towards the future, wondering who else you will meet to brighten your days and become part of that family you have been building upon ever since forever.

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Tehreema Mitha Dance Company
8509 Pelham Road
Bethesda, MD 20817

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