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An Immigrants Story

sergey selinger's story posted on January 21, 2012 at 8:19 pm. sergey emigrated from Minsk, Belarus to New York, United States in 1992

The soul of this story began when I arrived, on April 3 1992 to the land of oppurtunity, after a very long overseas flight. At the time I just turned four and was a very curious and eager young boy looking for adventure.

My parents and I made a pit stop at my relatives, for approximately two weeks, until we get our own place and find jobs to support ourselves. This is also why and how we ended up in ol nyc, specifically Brooklyn.  Brooklyn after all is the place to be to find the up and coming leaders from the Russian community.

I remember that I went to a Russian "detsky sad" shortly after coming to the States. I remember that I did not spend much time with my parents because they were at various jobs throughout my early American childhood and then after. I was very comfortable among the children. Spending time with people of your own background comes with a silent feeling of belonging even before words come out from our mouths.

Starting Elementary school was an experience for me. I remember on day one that I went to school but did not know when I would finish the day, so I was very anxious the whole time. It was a relief when I saw my mother come pick me up afterwards; like a miracle happened. I remember that I was in the beginning phases of learning world renowned English language, American dialect, and I forgot how to ask for permission to go to the bathroom. At the moment I thought, let me wait to see if anyone asks so I will repeat their statement. I did wait a while to use the bathroom. Kindergarten was an experience for me, where everyday new surprises were lurking, for better or for worse. Both of my parents were often working nights, so I was taken by this one lady, who i forget what she looks like or her name, who looked over me until when my parents would come home from work. I lived across the street from my school so my friends in my apartment building went there as well, as chance would have it. I was fortunate to have many friends, some of which went to school with me, when I just moved to the United States of America. They were from all over what used to be the USSR.

When moving to the United States, my parents were in a bit of a dilemma where they needed to not only learn a new language but go to school and work. This affected me since I almost never saw my parents for the first few years that we lived here in Brooklyn. In addition to work, my mom went to school to get a licence for a permanent stable job, which she did. My dad was working various jobs and ended up with a trade as well.

I should state that my parents wanted nothing more from me but be a successful person, so education was the main priority. My parents, especially my mother, would always check my homework after she came home from work, and made sure I was ready for school the next day, throughout my school years. I made it my priority to have a respectable degree, of which I am working on right now. I plan on being a registered pharmacist by the end of this year.  Having said that, its been a long road from the time I came to America up until now. i believe that the long trip overseas was worth it. Its amazing that this country has endless amounts of opportunities for people that are looking for them. Its very hard to emigrate to a new country where you have to learn new customs and a new language, but at the same time able to keep your own identity, customs, and individuality as we were able to do in this country.


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Noah V.:

lots of luck to you, Sergei! Your story is full of very special moments of your first years in the US, especially your kindergarden days --thanks!

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