The Immigrant Experience: San San


Living in New York: Then and Now

San San, Class 4.5

I immigrated to the United States from Myanmar in February 2008. I came to New York with my family. We met my sister-in-law at JFK airport. After that we went to my sister-in-law’s house. On the way I saw many tall buildings, a lot of gorgeous billboards, and subway trains. I was very surprised because we didn’t have a subway system in my country.

The next day we had to go shopping. We arrived here in the winter, so I felt very cold. We bought down jackets and some housewares.

Then I had to learn how to take the subway. One day I took the subway from Brooklyn to Manhattan. The subway operator announced that the train was changing routes, but I didn’t understand what he said. When I saw the next station, I was so worried because the station was strange to me. I was in a hurry to get off the train. Then I looked at a subway map and asked the subway custodian for directions. It was my first experience in New York. I’ll never forget it.

When I went to shop for food, the food looked very nice, so I bought it. When I got home, I opened the can, and I had to throw it away. The food inside the can was terrible. Shopping for food was confusing for me in the United States.

Therefore I decided to study English. I am able to read and write now. I can read the nutrition labels and ingredients. I understand what I am buying. I am able to take the train where I want to go. I think that I am more confident speaking English than before. I also got a Home Health Aide certificate. I was very happy. My children got a good education and jobs.

Living in the United States provides more challenges and opportunities than in Myanmar. I like that. But I am still not used to the weather in the United States because the weather is very dry and cold, making my eyes very dry. I don’t like the weather.


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