I was imagining, last night, what it might be like if I was going to call Peru home forever. But more in an abstract sense. I told myself I had a family with little kids and we had moved here to find them a better life. I imagine that we didn't know anyone and they didn't know us. Housing, jobs, schooling, taxes; everything works differently than it did at home. Every time I step out the door I feel the slight unease of stepping into a place that I cannot feel is really mine. My husband was a doctor or a lawyer at home, respected and known. Here he is still studying to get his certification, and must endure what feels like to him the demotion of working as a school janitor. My kids are quickly surpassing me in their language skills, forgetting their former country, and looking down on their mother who's still attached to the land where she was born. Not only them, but I hear news of many people who not only do not hope we succeed, but are angry at us for being here. But I cannot go home again. I came for my family, and I stay for them.
That is not, of course, my situation at all. But I felt a little lonely last night, having not talked to anyone in English for four days straight, and felt a vague wave of gladness that this situation wasn't permanent. In six months I will go back to the US, where it is familiar and comfortable.
And then I reminded myself that to many thousands of immigrants to the United States, their situation is permanent. My heart goes out to them. And I can't wait to dedicate my life to helping them learn English and adjust and maybe... feel like they have a new home in which they are respected and belong.