My dad, a Colonel by this point had made a decision to retire so that he and my mom could emigrate to the United States. The decision, I am told, was difficult. My parents had everything going for them; Being a retired, esteemed and decorated member of the armed forces, my dad was entitled to a cushy pension, a private apartment of substantial size in the city of his birth (Kiev) and many other perks (e.g., in the former USSR, Colonels did not have to wait in line at train stations or airports).
My sister and I however, had extremely limited prospects. Education was free (in fact, they paid YOU to go to college — if you were accepted to a program that is) excellent, required and respected. Nonetheless, education was not guaranteed even if your grades were outstanding and your entrance exams passed with flying colors. Corruption and wide-spread racism (your religious affiliation was forcefully stamped in your passport) were major causes for concern and barriers to attaining a spot at a respectable university. Employment opportunities were becoming scarce and even though it was the nineties, my parents were all but certain that neither my sister nor I will enjoy the same quality of life as did my parents. They made the ultimate sacrifice to emigrate.