Josna Rege

Fifty Years in the United States (an Immigrant’s Perspective)

In Notes on March 16, 2020 at 10:47 am

In 2013 I participated in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge for the first time, with no theme at all. In 2014, while on sabbatical in Germany and England, my chosen theme was Traveling Light; in 2015, A Printer’s Alphabet; in 2016, Bringing Me Joy; I missed 2017 and 2018, but took up the challenge again in 2019 with a theme of Migrants, Refugees, and Exiles. This year my theme will be Fifty Years in the United States, from an immigrant’s perspective.

It was February 6th, 1970 when, at age 15, I arrived in the United States with my mother and sister to join my father who had arrived the previous fall. Now here I am at age 65, trying to make sense of the past fifty years. America has changed a great deal in that time, and as an immigrant I look at that change as an insider-outsider. That is what I propose to do during the month of April, in a series of personal recollections that I hope will both capture a little of the flavor of the changing times and help me take stock of a half-century of my own life.

I’m looking back on: the anti-(Vietnam) war movement that was raging when we first arrived, the Women’s Movement, that was beginning, the anti-nuclear movement that I was immersed in for seven years; life as a high-school, college, graduate student; as a householder, empty-nester, senior citizen; work and professional life; the changing climate on American college campuses; food cooperatives and experiments in group living; life in New England and, in an enchanted sojourn, New Mexico; family, close at hand and across the world; marriage, motherhood and beyond; nine U.S. presidents; too many interventions, occupations and wars to count; deaths, too many to count; my own aging. Love, Friendship, Hope.

I wish I could give you a little taste of what my posts will look like, but the theme has yet to take shape, even in my mind. The list of topics above suggests grand(iose) ambitions, but I’m not going to attempt anything on that scale. In this harrowing time of coronavirus, I’ll  be aiming for a series of snapshots—more of a family album than a set of encyclopedia entries.

All the best to my fellow-bloggers! I look forward to our sense of community, especially at a time when many of us worldwide are having to practice social distancing.

Tell Me Another (Contents to Date)

Chronological Table of Contents

  1. […] is the fifth entry in a month-long series, Fifty years in the United States: An immigrant’s perspective, as part of the annual Blogging from A to Z […]


  2. You must know that I think you should start with a Brown Betty full of Darjeeling tea! Have a
    cup and relax, then start enjoying all the wonderful memories and your talent with the written word. This is going to be fascinating!
    Your friend forever,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, dear friend, I do know; and you know me! Yes, let’s see if I can detach my mind even briefly from the craziness of this moment and let it range with pleasure over the past half-century. And yes, a pot of Darjeeling tea will be an essential prerequisite. x J


  3. This is a genuinely interesting topic for many. America is still the place which accepts many immigrants and many aspire to go. Useful theme.

    Trying to document IE practice in Top Global Engineering Companies. #AtoZChallenge April Writing
    Industrial Engineering Practice in Top Global Manufacturing Companies – Top 100


    • Thank you! I wish I were as organized in advance as you are with your own interesting theme.
      By the way, I tried to post a comment on your blog, but it would only allow people to comment with a google account. I wonder if you can adjust your settings, otherwise it will limit the number of bloggers who can leave comments next month. I look forward to visiting over the course of the month.


  4. The Spring of 1970, when I arrived, was a very turbulent time in the U.S.; so the country was undergoing rapid change along with me. No idea yet how I will be able to express this, and in alphabetical order! Thank you for your comments and good wishes. I will now check out your blog to see what you have in mind.


  5. I’m interested in hearing about your experiences. I can’t imagine what it must’ve been like leaving your home country for the U.S. And at 15!

    Good luck this April! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Love your theme and look forward to your posts. I want to encourage you not to panic though – I think the whole point of the challenge is to have fun.


    • Thank you, Deborah, for that much-needed reminder! Perhaps my anxiety mostly reflects the level of barely-suppressed panic that so many of us are living with at the moment. Yes, this is supposed to be fun! I will find a way to make my posts doable rather than seeing them as a high-stakes challenge to myself. I will now go and see whether you are going to be participating and, if so, I’ll follow your posts as well.


  7. This sounds like a great topic, josna. I know about the panic. Most of mine are written but they will be rewritten many times as they are never good enough. I look forward to your daily posts. Bring on April.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Argh, Linda! Good to be reconnecting and thank you for your encouraging note; except that learning that you’ve almost finished all your posts while my very idea feels inchoate and hazy makes me panic all the more! I’d better get down to it. . .

      Liked by 1 person

  8. What an amazing theme!
    Will be looking forward to your posts eagerly.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I loved your theme from last year. I can’t wait to read your new challenge!

    The Old Shelter – Theme Reveal – Living the Twenties

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This sounds very interesting and I know I will enjoy following you in this season of the plague.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi there, looking forward to reading your entries. Stay well, Gail

    Liked by 1 person

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