Jenny

February 01, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Jenny. ЭмMigration by Yuliya LevitWonderbread. Jenny's story. ЭмMigration by Yuliya Levit At ten or eleven I was completely independent. I had my own money. My mom would leave money and I knew where it was, where I should go, take that money, go to the store, what to buy. I always kept track and put everything back. My job was to go to the store and make dinner from whatever I could. Usually I made hot dogs. Since then, since about twelve, I won’t even touch a hot dog.

I went to school because I knew I had to. I would sneak in books when I was forced to go, so that it wouldn’t be quite as depressing. Yeah, I was very sad. I scribbled “I want to go to Moscow” on every wall. Oh, and I refused to wear anything that was made in America. I was wearing my tights and my slippers and would not give them up, only over my dead body...I only wore the clothes we brought. There was no way I would buy anything! No way!

It was my year of solitude, when Lena (older sister)  would go off to college or to study, and my mom would braid my hair, I would walk them to the door, promising that I would go to school, and then I would get back into bed, take out a book from under my pillow and read. Then I would get dressed so that my mom wouldn’t realize that I skipped school. I would get dressed, go to the Russian store, buy food, and buy three of my favorite marmalade-filled chocolate candies. Then I put on records and danced around like crazy –though if I saw our neighbor coming back, I would lie down, so he wouldn’t hear me. I basically lived as if in a cave. That lasted until my mom got a note from school that I was skipping classes. Before that I would erase the messages off the answering machine.

I didn't like America: I ignored it for two years. I thought we needed to go back and that was that. Every day I would talk about it– a couple of hours a day. Until I was thirteen and went to Russia alone. My family scraped together the money -- $700 or so – and sent me home. Alone. My mom saw me off at the airport in New York and said, “Go, see, decide for yourself.”   We had a dacha(summer house) there and I went to the dacha for two months.  Then I came back, with my cousin and my grandmother. After that I did not want to go to Moscow anymore.

When I visited Moscow five years ago, I walked around this unrecognizable, completely foreign city. I returned to America and for the first time I thought, “Thank God I’m home. Thank God I was taken out of there.”  Each time I see the news I think how lucky I am that I don’t have that citizenship and don’t have anything to do with that country


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