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Karen Palumbo

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The Struggle, First Generation (Introduction)
By Karen Palumbo
Monday, January 08, 2007

Rated "PG" by the Author.

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An introduction to "The Struggle, First Generation"

     Have you ever stopped to wonder what life would be like as an immigrant in our generous country? Have you ever stopped to wonder what life would be like as a first generation immigrant in our generous country? I would just bet that you probably have not given too much thought to such a simple question.
     Yet people from all over the world have been arriving in our country for many generations. They all arrive by airplane, boat, drive or walk, but arrive in our country just the same. For many of the immigrants, their arrival goes unnoticed.
     Some have made the decision to arrive on our shores as young men and women. Some have made the decision to arrive on our shores as older men and women. However, the result is still the same becaue arrive on our shores they do.
     There are so many new people and each of them comes from many different countries and from all walks of life. People arrive with their own individual backgrounds. The stories they share of their love for their homeland.
     When you take the time to listen to some of them reminisce, about how life was before they decided to arrive here, you can almost detect a twinge of sadness in their voices.
     If you should dare have the audacity to ask how they came about making the decision to leave their country of origin you will sense an internal tug of war gently pulling them in two directions. They are thrilled and excited to be in our country. However, they dearly miss their country of origin.
     Then there are the children who have not made the decision to come to our country on their own, but are the products of circumstance. Their parent or parents have thought long and hard and made the difficult decision for them simply because of their ages.
     Can you even imagine the fear and disorientation that must overwhelm the majority? Can you imagine what it must be like to have just arrived in a foreign land and not be able to understand what anyone around you is saying?
     You search for familiar surroundings, but you then begin to realize that this exercise is one of futility because you are no longer in your homeland. What do you do? What do you now look for? How will you ever survive?
     The realization that you are alone now must be weighing heavily on your mind, your heart and soul. Were you thinking before you decided to take that leap of faith and endeavor to test your talents in a foreign land that you might just be biting off more than you could chew?
     Are you frightened? Are you beginning to ask yourself if you have made the right decision? Are you wondering if you should try to go back to your original point of destination? It can and most of the time is, a very excruciating and painful period in your life.
     You were certainly brave enough to endure the agonizing and sometimes frustrating first step, were you not? Now is not the appropriate time for self-doubt. You should tell yourself that to look back would not serve you well, so from here you must set your sights forward.
     If you have given it some thought and you think that the struggle of day-to-day living is not complicated with so many issues, then please look again. For many it is the most frustrating time in their lives.
     For others they are able to adapt to their new surroundings with relative ease. I would imagine that it just depends on where you are starting out.
     Have you arrived in our country alone? Have you arrived in our country with a husband or wife? Have you arrived in our country with brothers and sisters? Have you arrived in our country with aunts, uncles and cousins? Have you arrived in our country with existing children? Okay, so where exactly do you go from here?
     Do you attempt to communicate with people whom you do not know anything about? What happens if you are not able to communicate with anyone because you do not know the language?
     Now that you have accomplished what many have done before you, where do you go from here? You already are aware that you cannot just continue to walk the streets from one town to the next. So exactly what is it that you endeavor to do from this point?
     If you came here with other family members, how will you be able to provide for them? Where do you even begin to search to locate shelter? Where do you go to locate the necessary food for yourself and your family menbers?
     As you can see, it can be an extremely overwhelming experience to say the least. This is nothing short of a monumental task for anyone to handle. Now to be an immigrant in an unfamiliar land just has to be one of the most frightening experiences to endure.
     As difficult a hardship this whole experience is on any adult, just imagine what it must be like to be a child. The children of immigrants are the ones that are placed in the precarious middle position, if you just take the time to think about it.
     I would just imagine that at this point you are wondering what I am even talking about. Well, just think about it. What do you suppose the children of these immigrants are thinking? What do you suppose the children of these immigrants are feeling? Remember, they are just children.
     Now they too are being forced due to circumstance. They must adjust to a place very unfamiliar. When they finally are allowed the privilege to attend school, do you think that they will wonder how and if they will fit in? Do you think that they will be shy and very quiet simply because they are not accustomed to speaking the new language that they are hearing?
     While the adult immigrants are one set of issues to attend to and overcome, the children have another set of issues. Of course, that would depend upon whether or not they were born in their original homeland or here in our fine country.
     For whatever reason, as time passes, the children become sandwiched in the middle. What I mean is that they inadvertently become the link between the life they were familiar with and the new life that they lead now. They do not necessarily ask to be placed in the middle, but that is where most end up.
     This book will take this family on a journey from leaving their home in a distant land to arrive in America to begin a new life. The struggles they will endure along the way are what will keep this family together. It will give this family the strength to continue forward.
     This family's most difficult hurdle will be the language barrier. Their hopes and dreams are consumed with their children's well being and future.
     Let us all join with this family and follow them through their struggles. We will follow them through their successes and failures. We will follow them through their frustrations and pleasures. The love they have for each other. The love they have for their children.

       Web Site: Karen Palumbo

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Reviewed by Frank Koerner 3/15/2008
Hello Karen,

I read this article with great interest. As a first generation American, I myself asked all the questions you posed of my own parents. Sometimes I understood the answers, most times I didn't. My own book is my way of dealing (in my later life) with the gap between the two. One very interesting sentence you wrote caught my eye. It is:
"This family's most difficult hurdle will be the language barrier". In my father's last letter to his sister in summing up his own life in this country was: "One thing I would not do again is to give up my mother language." Interesting. I look forward to reading your book.

Reviewed by Mary Coe 12/19/2007
Interesting read. Enjoyed.
Reviewed by m j hollingshead 3/21/2007
enjoyed the read

Books by
Karen Palumbo

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Inside Out, Upside Down and Backwards!

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The Struggle, First Generation

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