Yesterday I went to a birthday party for my Russian friend/ESL student. It was a lovely party with many Russians, most of them US citizens, and several of us born-and-raised-here, Americans. My friend's oldest son made the first toast, the first time his mother could celebrate her birthday and Independence Day. He expressed his gratitude for the family coming here and for the opportunities they have found. These are not children. Both sons are adults who are making important contributions to American life. My friend, who has an MD and PhD could also make an important contribution, but, because of her age (70) and her language difficulties, although her English is progressing amazingly, this is unlikely. In any case, I was very impressed with the obvious appreciation for our country expressed by the Russians. I don't think this happens these days in all-American circles. This Russian family is exceptional, but I suspect we get much more than we ever give to them from most of the immigrants who come here.
I made another Birthday Book for my friend, which occupied most of my time the last few weeks. Just before the party I was told by an acquaintance that I shouldn't be collecting birthdates from the Russians. That this kind of thing was not part of their culture. It worried me for about 15 minutes, but I had received encouragement from everyone in her family and birthdates from most of the people pictured in the book. At the party everyone seemed pleased and told me it was a great idea. I don't know what to think.
Do you remember my great poster? It sits framed, on the floor leaning against the wall, because I didn't want to make another hole in the wall just before I moved. Each time I walk past it reminds me I have now pushed two major events into the next year: my Japan trip and moving out of my apartment. Japan only bothers me a little, but not moving is making me very unhappy. I will be signing a new lease, which will have an escape clause in it, but it hasn't happened yet so I keep hoping I'll find something. Sadly, nothing new has come on the market in the last three weeks.
One small consolation for all of this is I will go to New York next month and spend enough time to see all of my friends, and probably all of the museums.