Chapter Three: Eternal Gratitude
When we first came to US we were really fortunate to have gotten involved with the church and it helped us to much! We met the most amazing people, who opened their hearts to us.
Let me just say this, seeing the kindness of the people here in US have restored my faith in humanity.
We have never experienced anything like that. In Estonia life was rough and every man was for themselves. We didn’t see any sympathy or help from anyone, besides our relatives. Only the opposite.
It was just a vastly different world.
When we got our first apartment we had absolute nothing! We have left our world behind in Estonia with everything in it. We came here with 2 small bags and ourselves, and it is not in any way an exaggeration.
People from church donated a whole new life to us! They gave us clothes, household things, toys for my sister, groceries, and rides to church.
I wanted to dedicate this chapter to the eternal gratitude I feel within for the kindness and generosity we have encountered from the people who didn’t even know us.
I consider myself very lucky, not only because of the courage of my beautiful mother who had so much guts and strength to bring us here, but to have experiences so much good, to see so much love in humanity. Thank you!
There were so many people whom I would like to thank. I moved away, or they did, but I thought about those people many times, sending them love, blessings and just thinking well of them and what they did for us.
I don’t remember all the names and even faces, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t remember their good deeds.
Chat and Fran Barnett, were a couple from church who became close to us. For one, they’re the first older couple whom I witnessed to still be in love. They even had a date night every week.
I remember one of the Thanksgivings when they invited us to their home. It wasn’t a big house, but it was full of love. I have never seen a family like that before, everyone getting together, cooking together, playing a piano and singing songs after dinner by the warm fire place.
It was so new to me. I admired and envied them a little.
I loved it when they would come to pick us up on Sunday, they would take us to church and on the way home they would always treat us to lunch. Going to McDonald’s was such a treat.
It is funny now, looking back and remembering how we couldn’t even order food there. We told them what we wanted and they kept asking us questions, and we kept saying that we just want a burger. I don’t think I could repeat this process again…immigration I mean, to a foreign country where you feel like death and dumb because of the language barrier. I am glad I am able to laugh about it now.
Of course I mentioned Sharon, who picked me up every morning to take me to school. I can only imagine how challenging it is already finding time in the morning to get ready for work and get your children ready, much less worrying about someone else’s child.
Someday, I would like to give her a hug and tell her how much it meant to me and how much it benefited me to have that experience.
I remember a young couple, their faces, but not their names. They took us to the grocery store and we had the biggest shopping spree ever! Even to this day. As we went from isle to isle, he kept asking us if we’ve tried this or that and when he found out we didn’t, he was so excited to get us to try something new. We had at least couple things of each and 2 full buggies.
It was Christmas and Thanksgiving combined! After going through near starvation in Estonia, when Soviet Union fell apart and we had endured empty shelves for over a year, words cannot express how this made us feel.
The husband was mostly motivated to help us, but after we had checked out, I felt really bad, the wife didn’t seem that happy that he spent so much money on us.
But we didn’t ask for it. In fact we didn’t ask for much, people offered to help us on their own accord.
That was definitely a first. I couldn’t believe that people just wanted to help us, without any alternative motives. I loved that about American culture and it was definitely new to us.
There are so many others who helped and who cared.
Although we did encounter people who weren’t friendly and almost hostile with us because of us being an immigrants or Russians, I don’t even know exactly why, the reason I am writing this, is because I believe it is so important to remember the good more than you hold on to the bad.
To me, it is vitally important to count your blessings and to truly feel gratitude and love.
It’s also important to focus on the good. Even in the darkest times.
We all encounter hurt and disappointment in our lives, it is a part of life and cannot be avoided. But I don’t believe in regrets. Even for the events or circumstances that caused me a great deal of pain.
Regrets are like an unfinished business, it’s something you haven’t let go of or accepted. They don’t serve us in any way and the sooner we can let go of them, the faster we can move on.
Gratitude is a powerful tool and we all have something that we can be grateful for.
I am grateful to be alive and well to write this.