The people thrown into other cultures go through something of the anguish of the butterfly, whose body must disintegrate and reform more than once in its life cycle. —Rebecca Solnit, “The Blue of Distance II,” in: A Field Guide to Getting Lost
A common metaphor for an immigrant is that of a plant, uprooted from his country of origin and replanted in another land. Anchored in the place you are born, you become rooted in it. The longer you’re there, the deeper the roots. When you leave your country, you yank yourself out of the land. To begin a new life in a new country, you put the old roots down in the new soil but you must also start new roots to survive. The metaphor finds expression in a synonym […] Continue reading >
In a certain sense I can consider myself a typical Eastern European. It seems to be true that his differentia specifica can be boiled down to a lack of form—both inner and outer. His good qualities—intellectual avidity, fervor in discussion, a sense of irony, freshness of feeling, spacial (or geographical) fantasy—derive from a basic weakness: he always remains an adolescent, governed by a sudden ebb or flow of inner chaos. Form is achieved in stable societies. My own case is enough to verify how much of an effort it […] Continue reading >
Kultur Shock, “House of Labor”, on Ministry of Kultur (2011) [audio:http://americanrobotnik.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/06-House-Of-Labor.mp3|titles=Kultur Shock – House Of Labor, 2011] My lies to myself Lies to my people Lies from my past, present, and future Made me sick to my stomach Made me hide my pride Made me hide my life Forget my kultur I wanted to find My new self in a new world But I got so lost What the fuck did I do—Lies!
They say the United States is a place where you can be who you want to be: if no one knows you when you get here, you can be anyone you choose. As a newcomer, you are free to take the opportunity to reinvent yourself. If you simply want to continue being who you were before you arrived, congratulations! But if all your life in the “old country” you felt compelled, even forced to become what others around you (your family, friends, society) expected you to be, the possibility […] Continue reading >