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I Am An Immigrant Series

I Am An Immigrant – Voices

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“It was difficult making friends. If kids spoke Italian then me and my sister could talk to them, but if they didn’t then we couldn’t communicate with one another.”
I came to the U.S. in 69’ with my mother and sister from Italy. My dad had already immigrated here and had family helped him find a job. My mom didn’t want to come here because her friends and family were there. We came to Brooklyn and lived there throughout my childhood. Eventually,I learned English, but at the time the communication part was hard. It was difficult making friends. If kids spoke Italian then me and my sister could talk to them, but if they didn’t then we couldn’t communicate with one another. My mother and father never learned much English. When your parents don’t speak the language, it’s hard because then they can’t help you with your schoolwork. They couldn’t help us with math or English or anything. My sister and I became self sufficient, we had to teach ourselves and our parents. I still struggle with English spelling. We didn’t do any extra stuff at school like Girl Scouts, sports, or clubs because my mom didn’t know about any of that. We didn’t know what was available to us. It was school and then home, I just focused on my schoolwork. I still don’t eat ketchup or mayo because condiments like that weren’t available in Italy. I only put olive oil on sandwiches, everything else is foreign to me.
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