Why do immigrants return home
Immigration is not for everyone. Some cannot settle in a foreign country, others miss their home and language, and in the third, patriotism wakes up unexpectedly. How does it feel to return to your homeland when life is established in America and all doors are open?
Marketer Alexei Kudashev lived in Moscow until 15 years, after which he went to America with his mother. It seemed to mom that the end of Russia came to 1998, so she emigrated. At the same time, the pope, as a patriot, remained to live in Russia.
- We moved to the city of Kensington near San Francisco, and I began to go to an American school, - says Alexey in an interview The Village. There all communicated in small groups on a national basis. Hindus are separate, Chinese are separate, but unfortunately I did not find a Russian group. In the American school I became uncommunicative and closed in myself. I was like a dog that was thrown overboard and she was trying not to drown. Around, of course, the sun shines and coconuts grow, but the dog is not up to it - it needs to survive.
After school, I enrolled at the University of California at Berkeley to become a programmer. Then I was fond of Japanese culture, so I additionally studied Japanese at the university.
In America, there is no free education, and to pay tuition, I took a student loan, which had to be repaid after graduation. In the second year I was disappointed in programming and transferred to the psychology department. Still, it is much more pleasant to communicate with people, not with computers.
In America, I was ashamed to say that I am from Russia. I came to a good foreign country from the country in boots and looked at the Americans a little upward. So when they asked me where I came from, I replied: "From California." But the Americans heard the accent and clarified: “No, where are you really from?”.
In America, there is strong competition in all areas. America is a jungle where no one else is a friend. To survive there, you must be a tank and boldly go over your heads to your goal. By the end of my studies, I became so and quite well accustomed to American society. I knew that I received a good education, and I was confident in myself.
I studied a lot and sometimes worked a little extra, so I had little free time, which I mostly spent at parties with friends or in a Japanese club. Although in reality in America I was alone all the time. All my friends, despite their smiles, always remained just acquaintances, I did not find real friends there.
At that time I practically did not remember the homeland. Of course, I talked with my father, but my mother said that in Russia everything is bad and there is no need to go back to the past. In addition, the Internet was then underdeveloped, and I almost did not receive news from Russia. And if received, then negative. I did not want to think about the Chechen wars, poor entrances and so on. Naturally, I began to forget the Russian language and acquired an American accent. For five years spent in another country, the native language and culture are forgotten very easily.
In the third year of university, I studied in Japan for an exchange. Although he studied - this, of course, loudly said, basically I was idle and traveled. I liked the country, so after graduating from university I decided to move to Japan. At the job fair in Boston, I found a job in a Japanese bank, which pledged to help me with housing and to teach me a new profession from scratch for a year. I did not lose anything, and the decision to move was made quite easily.
After the move, I worked as an assistant at a bank for six months, then began to study remotely as an accountant for the American CPA program. During the year I became a certified accountant, went to work at a solid consulting company, and then got a job in a large American hedge fund.
I spoke well with the locals, often went on mountain hikes with them, but in fact I always remained a foreigner for them. Japan has a highly developed corporate culture, which consists of many small rituals. For example, in order not to let down a company and a team, you have to recycle for several hours every day. Want to leave work on time - ask for leave from the authorities. Or another ritual - to go to the toilet with colleagues. As in Russia they go for a smoke, so there men gather in groups of five to ten people and stand by urinals in a row.
It is also customary to go there after work with colleagues to the bar. In Russia, of course, colleagues also drink together, but usually it is done by those who are interested in each other. And there the boss leads his entire department to the bar, and this is a continuation of your common life. In the bar you are obliged to care for your boss and pour alcohol to him. Japan is a Confucian country, which means that your boss is your dad, and the whole company is a big family.
I tried to feel this family corporate feeling, but after living in America, where an individualist wolf was made of me, it was quite difficult to change lanes. I was not free at work and actively participated in social life, but I still lived as if in a big vacuum. Nevertheless, I worked in a decent position, received good money, and this reconciled me with reality. I lived in Japan for five years and, in fact, sacrificed my life for the sake of money.
At that time, I began to learn more about Russia and even went to visit my father several times in Moscow. Russia was experiencing a strong economic leap, and I had the feeling that there was a giant party in full swing, which I somehow did not participate in. I thought for several years and decided that Russia should be given a chance. In the end, I quit my job in Japan and came to Moscow.
Of course, life abroad influenced me, and at first I felt like a foreigner in Russia. I was confused confusion and disorganization. And it concerned everything: beautification of the city, catering establishments and people.
I did not understand why people cannot do everything normally and efficiently. A few days after arrival, for example, I was poisoned by shawarma. Why sell low-quality shawarma and poison their own citizens? But then I realized how everything is arranged here. It turned out that every Russian wants to open himself some piece of the common pie.
Back in Japan, I remotely learned a marketer and hoped to find work in Russia in this particular area. However, at that time there was no great demand for marketers, except that advertising of dumplings and vodka was required. I was offered a job in non-core positions, but I rejected these offers because I considered myself too cool to work in small firms.
I lived in my father’s apartment, traveled a little around the country, but I did not find a job and after six months I left for America. In Chicago, I began to work as a marketer, for a couple of years I got the hang of it and got into a big company. My life got better again: I bought an apartment, a car, a motorcycle, and even hired a cleaning lady. In short, I have achieved the American dream, and it would seem that my story should end here, but no. I had a lot of money, but I never had a big goal in my life. But there was a personal crisis, and I wanted some kind of change.
Over time, I began to spend time in the local Russian-speaking get-together and get news from Russia. Once I visited the Russian Orthodox Church on Maslenitsa, they sold food there, and I scored nine dollars for pancakes, and I only had seven with me. I wanted to put off an extra pancake, but the man who stood behind me in the queue added two dollars for free. I, of course, at first thought that he was gay or he needed something from me. In evil American society there is no such thing that a man just paid for you. However, he did it sincerely, and then a failure occurred in my coordinate system.
Since then, I began to go to church, but not at the service, but to taste Russian food. I didn’t particularly believe in God, but the church and its parishioners gave me support, which I greatly lacked.
And then the moment came when I became extremely negative about the foreign policy of America. Because of these thoughts, it became uncomfortable for me to live in the USA, because with my work and taxes, which I pay, I indirectly support the American aggression and destroy my country, Russia. I suddenly realized that all these years I was a traitor in relation to Russia, and I wanted to give my country a debt.
I lived with these thoughts for a year and as a result I quit my job, sold the apartment and went to Russia. The third time I started my life from scratch. In my experience, it takes five years to get up in a new place. Now I live for the second year in Russia and am looking for a job as a marketer.
Of course, I realized that I would live poorer, but I already lived in plenty and realized that money is not the main thing. The main thing is to live and work with love for your country. The coolest patriotism is when you do your job day after day. Work can be dirty and unpleasant, but useful and necessary. If you want to live in a good country, do not wait until the other does something for you: you have to do it yourself.
Mikhail Mosolov, a 46-year-old system administrator, left another “dream island” - Australia.
- I have been living in Moscow since childhood, where I graduated from MIIT with a degree in technical cybernetics of electronic computers. My job is to repair computers and provide technical support to users. After graduation, I did not immediately start working in my specialty, before that I worked part-time at McDonald's, as a salesman in a video equipment store and as a courier.
The story of my move to Australia is connected with my mother, who never liked living in Russia: she was not satisfied with the Russian climate, nature, and relations between people. Together with my stepfather and my younger brother, they emigrated to Australia in 1992. They didn’t call me with them, and I didn’t want to: why go to another country, if my life here is just beginning?
Two years after their departure, I decided to visit relatives, but the embassy refused to give me a guest visa without explaining the reasons. On a trip to Australia, I again thought only in 1998 year during a serious economic crisis in Russia. I lost my job and for a long time could not find a new one, so I thought that in Russia there were no longer any prospects for life.
The sporting spirit caught fire in me: I decided to check whether they would allow me to relocate after refusing a guest visa. I did not even consider the possibility of moving seriously and made out all the documents for joking. To get an Australian visa for five years, it was necessary to gain the necessary number of points, which consisted of indicators such as health, education, age, work experience and so on. It took me about a year to complete the medical examination, the collection of all documents, and the passing of the English proficiency test.
I was sure that the embassy would refuse me, but a positive response came. In the end, there was still no normal work in Moscow, and I decided to make some extra money in Australia, and then decide whether to stay or not. I also wanted to get Australian citizenship, which allowed traveling around the world without visas and was given after two years of residence in the country.
I lived in my mother's house in Sydney and, when I first saw the city, I thought: “Where is the city itself?”. In Sydney, all the houses, except for a small area of skyscrapers, are low-rise, and at six o'clock in the evening life in the city completely stops: the shops are closed and there is nothing special to do. Such a life is like living in a village. If I had been given a guest visa in 1994, and I would have looked at the country in advance, I wouldn’t have gone to live there.
In the first two years after arrival, the Australian state does not pay any social benefits to migrants. This is insanity, because it is at this time that a person just needs help. For visitors, of course, organized free courses on adaptation and the English language, but they were ineffective.
I didn’t have quite a family relationship with my mother: yes, she fed me and gave me shelter, but didn’t help with money, and I was left to myself. I was looking for a job, but without experience in local companies a good job is almost impossible to find. I was not even taken to work at McDonald's, although I worked at McDonald's in Moscow. I was 30 years old, and they felt that I was too old for this kind of work.
Moreover, in Australia there is absolutely no linking principle. There are strong Chinese and Indian diasporas there, but the Russians have nothing of the kind, and there is no help waiting.
After a few months of searching for a job, I settled down as a computer builder. For two months I trained for free, then I was offered a job on a call for 4,75 dollars per hour. This is a mere penny, the cleaner receives the same amount, but I had no other options. I worked there for two months, after which I stopped giving orders. I found no more work.
I thought that I was going to the rule of law, which would protect and help, but in fact did not understand where I came. No work, no prospects, no friends. In addition, in Australia, due to allergies to local fauna, I started having breathing problems. Also, I was not satisfied with the local climate and especially the Australian winter. In local homes there is no heating, and when the cold began, I had a hard time. I slept in a sweater and winter socks, which I did not do even in Moscow. As a result, I lived there for nine months and returned to Russia.
When I arrived in Moscow, I had a feeling of incompleteness from the fact that I did not last in Australia for another year before receiving citizenship. At the same time, returning home gave me new strength. I continued my old life, changed several places of work and did not recall Australia until 2004. Then my five-year visa ended, and I extended it to sometimes come to visit my mother.
Everything was fine, but suddenly the crisis of the year 2008 struck, and again I lost my job. By the time I got married, and my wife dreamed of living in Australia, so we went there again. This time I knew what I was going for, and was ready for Australian life. I rented an apartment in Moscow and rented a house in Sydney with this money. After 15 months, I began to receive unemployment benefits, which made life much easier.
My only problem was finding a job. My wife got a job as a cleaner at the homes of rich people, and I collaborated with the labor exchange and honestly sent out resumes to various IT companies. I sent more than twenty resumes per week, and at some point I even stopped worrying about the result. I perceived this process as a game: “Refused? Well, okay". Although I did find some work: I had been repairing laptops for three months and had been counting ballots in local elections for several weeks.
The circle of my communication at that time was limited, I did not find like-minded Russian émigrés, and I almost did not communicate with the locals. By the way, there are not so many Australians in Australia, many more Chinese, with whom I easily found a common language and sometimes spent time.
Initially, I planned to live in Australia for a couple of years, obtain citizenship and go back. But a year later I learned that local laws had changed, and now I need to live not two, but three years. This did not suit me: I did not want to live on benefits for another year and suggested that my wife return to Russia. She did not want to, because it meant forever losing the right to live in Australia.
On this basis, we began to quarrel, and in Russia by that time everything was working out again: I was offered a job in Moscow, and after waiting for the extension of her visa, in 2011 I left for Moscow alone. We would have parted anyway because she wanted to stay in Australia forever and I didn't.
By the way, my wife always dreamed of living by the ocean and later fulfilled her dream, but six months later she wrote that she had every day like Groundhog Day. Still: every day you see the same ocean.
In Moscow, I found a good job at a Danish company, and a year later I went back to Australia.
This is not unusual: I quit my job, sold my apartment in Moscow and bought a new one, which should have been built a year. I had no work, no home, so I decided to arrange a one-year rest. I saved a certain amount of money and knew that I was entitled to unemployment benefits in Australia, so I settled with my mother and paid her money for renting a room. For the first six months I worked somewhere, but then I didn’t even twitch, because I knew that I would leave as soon as I received an Australian passport.
I am quite a pragmatic person and live where it is profitable, but still my place is in Russia. Here I feel comfortable, this feeling is made up of climate, nature and relationships with people. Perhaps I would get used to living in Australia, but for this you need to live a long time in the country, but I am not ready for this.
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