My family immigrated to the USA in the early 1970s. The first place we landed was New York City. I had never seen anything like it. It was enormous, vibrant, loud, spectacular.
We moved to Michigan literally the day after we arrived and settled just outside Detroit. I acclimated pretty quickly and learned English within a couple of months (no ESL program in our schools meant immersion learning for me).
In some ways, it felt like this country fit me like a glove. In other ways, I have a feeling I will always feel a little other, a little different. Some of my original culture (former Soviet Union) and some of the cultures of where we lived in the year-long immigration process during my formative years rubbed off on me and impact how I act, react, feel, and live to this day.
Regardless, this country, this vast, magical, creative, sometimes brutal, often magnificent land welcomed me (and my family) into its great big salad bowl of a nation. I am grateful.
Happy July 4th. May all beings be free to live, love, and pursue happiness.