Music has a magical effect on people – it sets the mood, inspires us and helps us think things through. We often see people working out with headphones securely plugged in. They say it helps them get through a longer, more rigorous workout. I rely on music to zone out at work and write. Music was the best relief for my then fiancee and me as we planned our wedding; We mastered the foxtrot and a few other dances just in time for our wedding.
I must be old now (or old enough) that I can identify periods of life by the songs I preferred. I’ve started to get back into enjoying old Russian tunes. Perhaps I am a little melancholy since that part of me, my identity are slipping away by the day. Back in 1994, I wished only to be like all the other kids, to not be different and wanted nothing to do with my heritage, my Russian identity. As time went on and I navigated through my teenage years and young adulthood, my fear dissipated and I didn’t mind being a little bit different. I was finally able to harmonize the coexistence of my Russian and American selves. I developed friendships and relationships with people who celebrated my uniqueness. I heard someone say once that their father who is a Soviet-block immigrant was very lucky to have married a girl from a nice American family. I was disappointed to hear such an attitude toward immigrants, especially from a son of an immigrant, but relieved when my husband said that he was fortunate to find a girl who wasn’t average, run of the mill or typical.
In three years, I’ll have spent two thirds of my life in America. I fear that my uniqueness is fleeting… here now, gone soon enough. Sometimes we can’t stop time, its toll on us and how our experiences and life alters us, but we can slow it down. I started playing Russian kid’s tunes for Sophia and she couldn’t be happier. I grew up with those songs and am happy to see her enjoy them as much as I remember I did back in the day. I look at Sophia and know with absolute certainty that she will be an American. I also know that she will grow up keenly aware of her heritage and appreciation for those who came before her.