It’s easy to say, “Let all immigrants come to America.” It’s harder living with one. I have been living with my Armenian/Turkish husband “Jack” for 5 years and 3 months. We survived Turkey and then China and are now attempting America. Because of language, cultural, and belief differences, our marriage has been difficult. He can’t drive a car in the U.S., and a Green Card costs about $2000 plus proof of bank savings, home, job, etc. We haven’t been able to afford one yet, especially since we used up all our savings when my Mazda 5 minivan was totaled in Houston, and I ended up in Texas Medical Center ICU with a subdural hematoma (bleeding in my brain from slamming into metal, no airbag deployed, seat belt bruising my ribs and pushing the air out of me). Texas sheriffs blamed me for the accident, though I was the one hit by a speeding Houston driver.
We went back to California after that, in an American car with a high-interest loan, high payments, and increased driving insurance. We slept in that car in the desert, then headed back toward the mountains where I lived before jumping overseas. Jack got 3 manual labor jobs in a small town. He quit one and was fired from the other 2, though his English now is pretty good. After 5 years of teaching English and Journalism for universities, high schools, and private language schools in Russia, Turkey, and China, I have not been able to find a good job in America. Nobody really needs an older, experienced English teacher in a country where the first language is English.
I found a job driving delivery for Uber Eats in Los Angeles, but with the one-hour commute from the truck stop where we live in the Inland Valley, I make no profits after gas and bill-paying (and my husband’s share, of course). Uber pays drivers too little, though we wear out our cars, pay auto insurance, and risk our lives on steep, dark roads in the rain.
Turks love to talk, yell, fight. Centuries of this aggression genetically infuse my husband. My American friends don’t understand how much of a cultural difference this is and simply don’t like Jack for yelling too much. Or maybe they question the high rate of abuse to women that Turkey records each year.
Then we lived with a Liberal couple in our small mountain town about 2.5 hours’ drive from Los Angeles. Continue reading