When I was four, I was brought to America. Chicago overwhelmed my senses. Couldn’t hide my pretences, I was lost.

When I was five I spoke good enough English. The kids treated me well, but I never got invited to their homes.

When I was six I tried to become white. But somehow my colour did not fade. I decided I must be the one to change.

Deep down inside of me I am the epitome of an immigrant.

I grew into the land, I grew into the culture. I became an American Girl.

When I was 16 my life started to blossom. My opinions counted for something.

I spoke without an accent. I dressed like Style Magazine said I should.

No barriers to class. No barriers to overcome anything that I wanted to do.

I was my own person. I wanted to be just like you, and you and you.

At 21 I longed to get married to Paul. A white man who walked so very tall.

He said “I couldn’t be more proud of you. I will love you forever and more”.

Our first child was Ezekial. Named after my long lost grand-father in Zaire.

Reminds me how lucky I am to be here. Here in America. Here where I’m found.

No more need to worry, be scared, or hurry, across embattled and scorched ground.

At 35 I see how the world has changed around me. I understand that it’s hard now.

For people to see migrants in jobs that they think should be theirs.

But there’s always an underclass in every society. But we are all free. Free to make choices.

Take welfare or take a handout. Take a job that pays very little. Get educated.

The choice is always ours. We mustn’t bitch or moan about it.

The point is we have choices, which others in the world don’t have.

I am America. I am one of the world’s lucky ones, who can choose to live and die for freedom.

It’s my choice, not others. I just have to have a vision. I have to have a purpose. A goal.

Deep down inside of me, I am the epitome of an immigrant.

I grew into the land, I grew into the culture. I became an American Girl.

AN IMMIGRANTS TALE. Ron Mileham. ron@kinggroup.com.au