During time of COVID, immigrants are making choices they have to live with
One day in May, I opened my mailbox and discovered a nondescript white envelope.
Inside, there was a little plastic card that was previously stuck in processing for almost 3 years. It was my green card.
For the past 13 years, I have called the United States home living under one visa after another.
For the past 13 years, I had been dreaming of this moment countless times. Never would I have predicted that it would feel so bittersweet.
I was not ecstatic. I was not overjoyed. I was relieved, but with a new concern.
In normal times, I would have started to make plans to visit family that I wasn’t able to see for the past 3 years.
But this year, much like 2020, was no usual year.
Since the pandemic, finally having the paperwork to travel without needing a visa to come back to the US means nothing to someone from a country with the world’s strictest lockdowns that is also known to some as the “birthplace of COVID”.
We could come back to our adopted country easily, but going back to the motherland, not so much.
As an immigrant, during the time we live in, seeing family in our home country became a high-cost, high-stake activity that is reserved only for the absolute worst emergency.
…seeing family in our home country became a high-cost, high-stake activity that is reserved only for the absolute worst emergency.
That emergency happened this summer, and I made the difficult choice not to go home.
I Made A Painful Choice That I Live To Regret Every Day
In early August, I heard from my parents that my grandmother was going into palliative care, after her cancer had spread to her brains.
I had been mentally prepared since she went into surgery earlier this summer. When I was told that she was doing okay after the surgery, I thought she would be fine, at least for the time being.