As a young girl Bishnu and her family moved from Bhutan to Nepal in 1992. Nepal is a lush, green country with a summer temperature that stays in the 70’s. She stayed there for 18years before coming to American with her family. She and her daughter-in-law describe the difficulty in the process of becoming a legal citizen in the United States. Though it was difficult, the family is grateful to be here, because the government is much better than in Nepal. For the 18 years that Bishnu lived there, she was never able to become a citizen. The government there is poor and very strict. In addition the women describe the drastic changes they faced once arriving. For one, it is much hotter here in the American south than they were used to living in Nepal in addition to the tall people and food. The family describes the difficulty in assimilating into American culture, and the extreme difficulty in communication due to their limited English. While her son and daughter-in-law have become fluent in the English language, Bishnu still struggle and works hard at Asha’s refuge to reach fluency. She mentions several times the barriers she faces due to this. For example, she is unable to get a job, and in turn does not have health care. Bishnu explains, in limited words, that her teeth and eye-sight suffer because of this. Her daughter-in-law expresses an urge to return to college, but is also unable to do so. While there are hardships that the family faces, there is also a lot of joy found in perseverance. Bishnu’s son explains that in Nepal the roads are very bad because the government does not take care of them like the government does here in America. Due to this, people do not have cars. He points to a car sitting outside, but, “now that I am here, I am able have a car,” he also shows pride in his ability to buy a brand new 2016 car!
Her son also explains that in Nepal they never would have been able to purchase a spacious house like the one they live in now. All in all, the family is very pleased in their lives in America. After being asked if they would like to return to Nepal, Bishnu’s daughter-in law- expresses some sadness, saying that she would return only to visit, but not to stay because it is very difficult to get a citizenship in Nepal. Saying goodbye, she tells me, was the hardest part of leaving Nepal. To end on a happier note, we began to discuss holidays. The family is Christian and celebrates Christmas, but, not expectedly, had not experience the American Independence Day. At first, the loud firecrackers were unnerving, but now it has become one of the family’s favorite occasions and they celebrate every year!
Though leaving their friends was difficult, and Bishnu’s daughter-in-law’s father died before she moved to Memphis, the family is doing very well; enjoying their new lifestyle in America. Bishnu and her daughter-in-law do express a sense of boredom as it is hard to find activities to fill their free time, but
(Story Submitted and Written by Rhodes College Intern, Sarah Sabin)
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