Natalia Omelchenko

I flew from Ukraine on a beautiful sunny day in May. It was a little less than a year ago. The sky was as beautiful as ever. Sounds of the awakening city merged with the singing of birds. Everything was in bloom. Kiev smiled farewell at me in the light and beauty of its streets that I saw from the window of the car in which I was driving to the airport. I looked at the houses, streets, people, flowering trees and felt my great love for it so sharply. Tears rolled down from my eyes. I flew to another continent, another world, leaving my homeland, my family, friends, students and favorite places: all that was the meaning of my life for 40 years. 

My family could not take me to the airport as they are in the area where an anti-terrorist operation is in effect. It is Eastern Ukraine. It is already two years since I saw them. At the airport I was accompanied by my friends. The noise of the airport, the voices of my friends, my thoughts are all mixed up. After a few minutes I will step into a new my life. And I am here in the air, flying over the Atlantic Ocean. It was a very exciting feeling.

When I stepped out of the plane at New York airport I was very nervous, because I did not know the English language, but all of the officers with whom I talked there were very friendly. One of them helped me bring my things to the exit, where my husband was waiting for me. A new page of my life began.

The first month of living in New York was like a dream. I hardly realized what was happening. I experienced jet-lag and great difficulties in communicating with people. I did not understand what people were talking about. I felt like a mute fish! It was a serious stress for me. I started to look for classes to learn English. Since beginning to study my feelings have started to change. I feel like a small child who is just learning to speak. Being an immigrant means to be completely renewed in all aspects of life. It requires a lot of effort, patience and labor.

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