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On this Thanksgiving Day I’m deeply grateful to be an American

I’m an immigrant. Over 30 years in the past, I fled Soviet socialist Russia and got here to America, fulfilling the dream of my mom, who impressed me since I used to be a bit of woman to check laborious, be taught English and go to America, as a result of that is one of the best place on earth. I don’t understand how she knew. Touring out of the totalitarian U.S.S.R. was practically not possible, and he or she solely visited America after I used to be right here.

In the present day, my sister and I nonetheless thank God on daily basis we’re right here in America. On Thanksgiving Day, we are saying particular prayers. We’re grateful for the easy issues, most of which many People maybe take without any consideration.

I’m grateful for my house being heat in winter. Rising up in a small city near Siberia, regardless that we had warmth within the condo, it was by no means heat sufficient. Because the authorities owned all the things below socialism, it has full management of your residing circumstances. In winter, the authorities stored the warmth on in flats at a naked minimal and in summer season, they turned off the new water and generally each cold and warm, to avoid wasting rubles so they might preserve their corrupt Soviet machine going. 


Even contained in the condo in winter, we wore jackets, heat boots and generally mittens. My sister and I laughed on the sight of our dad carrying an enormous furry Russian hat, ushanka, even to mattress. In the present day, once I come from the skin in winter, into my 72 diploma heat home, I nonetheless get a sense of shock when heat air as a substitute biting cool air hits my face. I get a little bit of flashback, although not a hint of nostalgia.

Each side of your life in the united statesS.R was managed by the federal government. You couldn’t simply transfer to a different metropolis to reside or research – you wanted to point out residency, a stamp in your passport referred to as “propiska.” However you couldn’t get a propiska in one other metropolis since you didn’t have an condo, and also you couldn’t simply purchase an condo as a result of the federal government owned all the things. Renting was unlawful as a result of there was no personal property. My mom rented an condo, technically illegally, for me and my sister once we got here from the provinces to check in Moscow. We had a joke again within the Soviet Union that you just couldn’t get off the bed with out breaking a dozen legal guidelines.


Each bureaucrat took benefit of his place, charging bribes for all the things. The policeman would hand you a pretend site visitors violation to get a bribe. Medical care was technically free and so there weren’t sufficient provides, and the physician would take a bribe to provide you a painkiller or different treatment. The supervisor on the grocery retailer would save groceries for her family and associates. The remainder of us had been usually greeted by empty cabinets.

In America, I marvel on the ease of having the ability to get a driver’s license, set up a enterprise, purchase clear glowing pink scrumptious apples in any grocery store, even in winter, and get Novocain when the dentist drills my tooth. You possibly can apply a faith. Again in the united statesS.R, worshiping God was outlawed. Socialism and communism was the state faith. My sister and I had been secretly baptized by our grandmother. In America, I adopted Judaism as my religion.

Peace and stability is a privilege in America traditionally denied to Russians, particularly now that Russia is waging a brutal struggle in opposition to Ukraine. Hundreds of Ukrainians and Russians are useless or injured, tens of millions have fled their houses. A pal who additionally fled Soviet Russia just lately shared with me that she feels blessed residing in America, particularly for her son. He would have been drafted within the army and despatched to struggle in Ukraine. With no struggle on American soil in fashionable historical past, People don’t notice that traditionally, peace is an exception, not the rule. Russians, Ukrainians, Syrians, Afghanis, and plenty of others know all of it too properly.

This vacation season and all the time, I’m counting my blessings for being an American and having the massive issues — like freedom, alternative, peace, and stability — and little issues, like a heat house and working water.


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