I cannot believe that tomorrow is July 4th, I always get super excited to celebrate Independence Day and the birth of the country I am happy to call my home. I became an American a little more than twenty years ago. I wanted to live the American dream, and my future was yet to be written. But the reality was harsh ~ my first job duties included washing floors in the 24-hour public laundromat for $12 a day. I have to say, this was not what I had in mind when I was leaving my homeland ~ I thought I would be doing something amazing! Life was not a dream and was as real as it gets. I am quite certain that most immigrants have stories like mine…
Years passed since in a flash. As soon as I got over the initial culture shock, I started the process of blending in. I gradually stopped thinking and dreaming in my native language, learned American history, adopted American traditions, and started calling America my home. This was my second shot at life and the opportunity to pursue happiness, and all these years of my life have been filled with ups and downs, risks, luck, and, mostly, a very hard work. I’ve gone a long way since then, and I did fulfill my American dream ~ I moved on from being a janitor, to becoming a student, to a lawyer and book publisher.
My list of reasons why I am thankful to this country is long, and the opportunity to be myself is on the top of the list: I am free to say anything I want, I am free to sing in the streets if I want. I am free to be me.
So happy birthday America! Cheers!!