By Teresa .
Grade 11, Washington
Country of Origin: India

When the majority of people think of immigrants they picture somewhat poor, undereducated people who are struggling to start a new life. This is a common stereotype, though more and more people over the years have been coming to the United States for various other reasons.

Trivedi and her family are an example of this.

Trivedi was born in the State of Gujarat, India. She lived there with her parents and 2 siblings until the age of 6, when her family decided to move to America. The main reason behind the move was the desire of her parents to provide a better education, and somewhat of a ˘head start,÷ for her and her brother and sister. ˘(With) American education you can get further ahead in the future,÷ said Trivedi. ˘India didnĂt have as good of an education (available).÷

The trip to America (back in 1987) was pretty much a blur for Trivedi, as she was a small child at the time. There are only a few vague memories of the plane ride. ˘I was basically quiet the whole trip; it was really long,÷ said Trivedi. ˘I had fun looking out the window.÷

Upon arriving in America, Trivedi had mixed feelings about her new surroundings, and the lifestyle that lay before her. ˘In India we had relatives that talked about how America was this and America was that. It was just different basically,÷ said Trivedi.

Not only did she have to get used to a new country, but she also had to face it without many of her personal possessions, as she wasnĂt able to bring much of anything with her. ˘The 'thing' that I brought with me was my family. I didnĂt bring anything special with me. My toys were too big,÷ said Trivedi.

One of the biggest changes in her life was the difference of how schools were run in India compared to those in America.

In the past there have been gripes about unfair punishment in American schools, but none of that could compare to some of what goes on in Indian schools. ˘The schools (in India) are strict; beyond strict,÷ said Trivedi. ˘In India there were uniforms. I felt like a prisoner wearing the same thing like everyone else. We were punished a lot over there.÷

Despite the strict routine she faced at school, Trivedi had a very vivid, happy childhood. ˘WeĂd (she and her friends) go to the movies. Sometimes we would pretend that we were playing house,÷ said Trivedi. ˘I danced in the rain; I had a great time. Here people think itĂs crazy.÷

Trivedi has been living in Washington State for twelve years now. Though she might be far away from her exact roots, she has yet to lose touch with them. She and her family watch Indian movies, listen to Indian music, and eat Indian food almost daily. They also celebrate various holidays such as New Year's, Diwali (Holiday of Lights), and Navratri (dancing performed for their God). Their language, Gujarati, is also used frequently at home.

Their God is extremely important to them, and they pray to it every day. ˘I pray to the God every day before I go to school,÷ said Trivedi. ˘I try to keep my culture. IĂm not gonna forget who I am.÷

Keeping up with traditions has proven to be much easier than holding together the close-knit relationships that used to occur between family members. ˘In India I used to be close to my family; really close to my sister,÷ said Trivedi. ˘When we got to America we grew up, we grew apart. IĂm close to my family, just not as much as I used to be.÷

There is also some understandable distance between the Trivedis and their relatives back in India. ˘I canĂt call anybody because itĂs very expensive,÷ said Trivedi. She instead writes letters and sends postcards to help bridge the gap.

Overall, Trivedi is happy, and she would like to continue living in the United States. ˘IĂm used to the American culture. IĂve been in America for twelve years. I canĂt live in India anymore; IĂm not used to the Indian lifestyle,÷ said Trivedi.

Currently she is planning to go back and visit her family and previous home in the fall. ˘IĂm excited to go to India in November,÷ said Trivedi. ˘I have so many family members that I donĂt know of.÷ Trivedi will finally be able to catch a glimpse of the childhood that she left behind over a decade ago.

By: Teresa P.

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