A Poem - An Immigrants Dream

Watercolour painting of colour pink with intricate black ink marks on it by Sneha Mahajan

A little while ago I wrote a poem. Husband and I had just made the decision to move back to the US again and I was feeling very overwhelmed (a feeling that this painting captures so well according to me) with the thought of it. I didn't think I'd share it with anyone. It felt like sharing too much. But - last week I got my work permit and started applying for work again after a little break. And, this feeling of always being an immigrant fell over me again. I felt like sharing the poem. Its not sophisticated. I'm not a poet. But, it captures my feelings of having uprooted my life so many times. I hope you read it.

To give you a little context - Husband and I have lived in North America for over 14 years now. 14 years of our lives spent here 8000 miles away from family as working adults. Yes, we visited family but that came with challenges.

Much of these 14 years were in US where we grappled with work visa challenges often leading to difficult life choices around employment or other major life decisions. And, very limited travel. It's no doubt this was done by choice - no one forced us to stay put in this struggle. But, the employment opportunities in US, our friends here and a whole life built over many years remained big reasons for us to keep at this struggle. Again, I say it....this was by choice. It still is. A choice. We make this choice every single day. To stay here in Madison, WI and not go back to India. But, it being a choice doesn't stop me from occasionally becoming overwhelmed with the kind of stresses being an immigrant brings.

So I wrote a poem to deal with that overwhelm. How very like me. Using art to cope. :)

Do you know an immigrant? They could be a friend, a family member or a colleague at work. They will know all too well what this chosen struggle feels like. 

An Immigrants Dream

We shall do this together
Move our home once again
One step at a time
One task at a time
One carefully filled out form at a time
One box at a time
Packed with love
And all our belongings

We shall carry each other
And our little old puppy
Through it all
Bit by bit
One tearful emotion at a time
With love & support for each other
And more compassion
Than we think possible
With a little help
From our friends
And kindness of neighbours

In the end
We will have
A life full of adventures
Some wanted
Some not
They will be ours
Our memories
Of many homes
Made in lands unknown
With little in our name
And a quest to belong
And be
A mundane brown family

In the end
We will have
A life
Built with love
In many countries
That didn't start as our own
But ultimately became ours
Places to call home
And we will belong

We will give ourselves
We shall have
Many stories to tell
Of adopted lands & cultures
Of food & local customs
Of new & changed identities
Of adopted friends & families
To one day
Call our own
Because this is our journey
To simply be
A journey to have mundane problems again
Like inflation
Or balancing a monthly budget
Of the long commute to work
Or our basement flooding
Of saving enough for vacation
Or that favourite team losing

We wait patiently
For the trivial
To matter once again
We fight to leave
Our existential problems behind
Like worrying whether or not
We might have a place
To call home
Once again after tomorrow
When we leave

Where will our home be?
What will it look like?
Will it feel any different?
The sky will still be blue
There will be me and you
And hopefully a few puppies
A week will have seven days
Our hearts will beat a little calmer
When we know this is over
When we finally belong
And then we can say
This is now our land too
Your problems are now ours
This is home
Our home
Where we are meant to be
We belong
Finally we have freedom
In the land of the free

- Sneha

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Thanks Jeff :) It’s been awesome to be back in Madison.

Sneha Mahajan

Welcome home.

Jeff Carlson

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