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Assimilation Of Moldovan Immigrants In The US

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Being an expatriate who longs to go back to the homeland and is able to do so on a regular basis does not have to rely on assimilating. Creating a new, comfortable life and network in an alien environment can be grueling, which makes a trip back home the much more reliable and facile option. Even though all immigrants can connect on the common mission to find better opportunity in a new place, some are coming without a return home in sight. Relying on a trip back home after many hard, miserable months at work can push one to persevere without friends or family, fulfilling the emotional gap caused by the absence of such characters. On the other hand, those coming with no plan of returning need to quickly start assimilating and merging into their new environment, as that emotional void can no longer be fed by a plane ride.

Moldova is one of the poorest countries in Eastern Europe, landlocked between Ukraine and Romania, with a population that is shrinking by the hour. The majority of its young citizens are leaving, pursuing studies or employment opportunities in other countries, and never looking back. Instead of coming back to visit their families or loved ones, those leaving work and save up until they can move the rest of their family to their new location, which they now call home. This trend has made it extremely important for young Moldovans relocating to be able to assimilate and merge into their new environments quickly. Many immigrants lead a very quiet lifestyle where the tough process of integrating into the community is usually skipped or at least suppressed, relying solely on the communities back home which they visit whenever possible.

On one hand, most of these immigrants work two jobs and about eighty hours per week, leaving the too exhausted and most likely unwilling to do anything but rest most of the time. From another perspective, some do simply avoid the lifestyle that indulges them into their communities and helps them network with those around them. Meeting new people and integrating into a brand new community with different cultural values and norms can be extremely exhausting and close to impossible for some immigrants in the US, but for Moldovans it is vital. The pressures of moving to a new place can be surmounting and there is an extremely fine balance between staying sane and making an effort simultaneously, one I observed first hand.

Attempting to force yourself by working too hard while also putting too much effort into meeting new people and staying connected can strain one more than an environment where there is no social involvement at all. This simply leads to immense amounts of stress as work is never easy and merging Moldovan culture with others is not always easy. Undergoing such a transition myself it was quickly obvious that it was going to be extremely lonely and hard avoiding the awkward interactions which ultimately led to new friends. Coming from an extremely small country which not many have heard of, carrying quite a thick accent, while also trying to explain that Russia and Moldova are not the same even though it may seem so on the map can cause for quite a heavy and difficult first introduction. With every new meeting came a feeling of interrogation which sometimes caused a sense of distaste depending on the tone and perspective of those listening. Connections like these are almost inevitable. Meeting other students at school or meeting coworkers and others you see daily. It is possible to act avoidant in order to eradicate that sense of distaste and triggering complexion when meeting new people, but Moldovans are typically very friendly and inviting which fills that void but simultaneously opens up another, bigger one. Simply because one has made lots of new friends and connections in a new area does not mean that they are emotionally content with their interactions and group.

Moldovans are a very specific cultural group, making up a very small percentage of the population on Earth. There were no Moldovan students at the middle or high schools I attended, nor did my mother work with any Moldovan immigrants. A true expatriate will always have something that tugs them back towards their home country and culture, but not many connections are as strong as the roots of Moldovans. Being such an obscure group with such a specific culture, a void is created when there is no immediate contact with your true roots. This brings upon a very strong community of Moldovans throughout the United States but specifically Boston and New York. There are Christian Orthodox churches and groups, retreat groups, people that get together to celebrate Easter, New Year’s Eve, and the Orthodox Christmas on January 7th. As soon as my grandparents reached out, my whole family was quickly introduced to all the different ways to connect which we took part in for the first few years here. This was a huge stepping stone as it introduced our family to other Eastern European expatriates but most importantly, other Moldovans in the area. Being younger made it much easier to integrate into American culture and ways of life.

On the other hand, for my mother and grandparents the roots were too deep and the integration into these gatherings filled a huge void for them, which could have turned quite disruptive to normal day life. The event s and gatherings was a great introduction to the community but it was something that fizzled out a few years into the move to the US. The long-lasting connections and bonds with other Moldovan families is what stuck with my family and helped keep the cultural fire alive, making for a much healthier and comfortable lifestyle away from Moldova, true home.

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