An immigrant’s arrival in America has a distinct physical beginning marked by the landing of one’s plane. But there’s another arrival, the cultural one, that’s incremental, perpetual.
Of these latter sort of arrivals, the most memorable for me occurred nearly 20 years ago. I was still a new refugee, my heart’s gaze fixed upon all that I’d left behind — upon Iran and the beloved language which, to the fledgling poet in me, meant everything at the time.
My encounter with America, from the moment we drove away from the airport and I saw layer after layer of bridge and road piled vast and high, had dwarfed me through and though. The currency of everything I knew or had was of no value in the American bazaar. Everything here was bigger, better or, as displayed on every shampoo bottle, at least 20 percent more.
NPR.org, January 19, 2012