As always, this is not a book report. Rather, it is an opportunity to discuss some ideas that stuck with me while reading “Netherland” by Joseph O’Neill.
9/11 and Being an Immigrant in NYC
9/11; a date in time that shall live in infamy. A day in which the United States of America lost her innocence. A day in which evil from abroad finally visited our shores. Following that sorrowing scar in time, we both revealed the best of ourselves and allowed suspicion, chaos, and fear of the other to take hold. In that wake, I can’t possibly know what it was like to be an immigrant as America teetered on the brink of anarchy. My lack of knowledge has left me hungry for stories about those who had nothing to do with the attack but were deemed guilty by association by the hungry mob. To come across such a story through this book, was a nice appetizer, but I find myself hungry for more.
Living Among People Different Than Yourself
I call myself lucky to have visited other places beyond those I have called home. To walk the shores of Brazil, Canada, or Mexico as a visitor is one thing. To make a new life there is entirely different. It is the difference between participation and acclimation. My frustration with the US has often left me wondering what it might be like to live somewhere else as an immigrant. I worry about blending into new cultures, languages, and customs. This fear leaves my feet planted on native soil. It also leaves me in awe of those who have summed up more bravery than me and decided to make a new life here.
As this book closed, I was left to ponder what it must feel like to immigrate here, survive the chaos of 9/11, continue surviving, and decide the draw of your homeland is too much. It made me wonder if it is possible to ever go home again. Once you leave, is home, “home” ever again? Do you find yourself longing for a moment in time that will never return? Will I ever know that feeling? More questions than answers, but questions I cannot help asking.
Be good to each other,
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