It was my first semester at San Jose State University, California and my sixth month on the American soil. I was meeting one of my classmates at the library to help her with her Math. I walked into the library and saw her stand at the elevator. She greeted me with a hug. As we hugged I hear her make kissing sounds. I clearly did not feel the kisses on my cheek. I looked back wondering who those kisses were intended for. I did not see anyone behind me. I pretended to know exactly what transpired but I was confused.
I met her few days later again and the kissing happened again. It was around the time when Paris Hilton was all over the television with her “It’s Hot” line. As I was watching Entertainment Network, I saw Paris Hilton “air kiss” another celebrity. I had my Ah-ha moment at that instant. I had been air kissed! Did I blush…absolutely not! In fact I spent hours pondering why anyone who had no associations with Hollywood decided to air kiss.
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As I was brainstorming ideas on what my first blog post ought to be, the creative person in me wanted to find an appropriate definition for immigrants in America. I found some cool ones which had the perfect definition on who an immigrant is- someone who left their country for another one. I also found ones where immigrants were portrayed as damsels in distress who were lured from their home countries into America. While that definition makes America seem like a predator lurking around the corner, we weren’t lured into America. We came here on our own terms because America was the land of opportunities. I say we because I am an immigrant who was lured into America by her parents. I grew up in India until I turned seventeen when I finally moved to America or California to be precise. California is the epitome of the melting pot culture that America stands for. Yet, even people in California have their preconceived notions about immigrants. I have been mistaken to have been born in America because I speak good English. I have been asked if I took a shower on the street in India because CNN or BBC decided to show slums in India as India to the world. I am not the only one who has had to battle these misconceptions. Most immigrants irrespective of their race, ethnicity, color of their skin have had to battle these misconceptions. Thus was born America Deconstructed the book and America Deconstructed blog.
America Deconstructed began as a conversation between two friends who joked about the misconceptions they faced as immigrants. Those college conversations took shape into a book years later. For the book we interviewed sixteen immigrants and have written about their journey into America and the life that followed. There are confusing coffee shop runs, to go or take out, Taliban, war, marriage, kids and even death. The book covers the human side of immigration and is filled with funny, embarrassing situations, humor, heartbreak and tears. We do not care about laws and policies. We care about the human experience behind immigration. America Deconstructed blog follows the same format of quirky cultural differences. If you want a light hearted, fun blog filled with loads of quirkiness to brighten your day or night, follow us. We strive to satisfy!