By Boris Spektor, Senior
I remember my trips to Russia during summer. I have memories of rolling up the bucket at the well and carrying the water to the Dacha, in the absence of any plumbing. Running through the back of the Dacha, I became infatuated by the crisp smell of strawberries hanging onto the bush. I enter the wood-heated Banya and experience the cleansing smell of eucalyptus leaves in the intense heat of the steam. I recall learning how to ride a bike in Russia, as my dad pushed me along on the dirt road that was barren for miles. Even though I was born in America, my Russian heritage defines me.
Or does it? Well, of course it does. The way I act compared to fourth-generation Americans is totally different to the extent of comparing two different types of plastic: They feel exactly the same but are different because the scientists tell us that they are.
While writing As an excerpt from a draft of a college essay:
I achieved my goals of learning, at the expense of becoming isolated from my class. The textbook insults soon followed: “nerd” - “geek” - “why aren’t you like everyone else”. The last one hit hard on my heart. (Like for every other student in America) Maybe, I thought, conforming to what people expect from me would give me the best chance at friendship. (Duh) Over the next couple years and well into middle school, I would try to suppress my “nerdy” intuitions and replace them with the generic “smart” student, actively choosing to hide my passions in favor of making friends. (Just like every other generic American student chooses to do).
After looking over that essay, I could just tell that it screamed with individuality, even my teacher Ms.Keller commended me on it, stating how even a fourth generation American could write that unique piece.
As another example of my heritage, during Russian holidays I celebrate vigorously by doing nothing. However, on the last 4th of July, my family went for the full shebang. They bought fireworks and charcoal briquettes and created a family bbq to really show how much we haven’t assimilated in American culture.
All the spending sprees, family gatherings, holiday celebrations, are so clearly hallmarks of the average Russian family. Or are they?
Looking back at how I grew up in the US, I see a marked difference between other peers and me. That marked difference was the perception of difference that I tried to create, pushing for the perception that being an immigrant in America made my outlook on life different, when in reality it was the ease of assimilation that America provides that allowed for me to flourish in this country.
Happy Thanksgiving to all, and may our country and our relationships with one another prosper in the wake of the election!