The Immigrant's Odyssey

The Immigrant's Odyssey

Trauma, Loss, and the Promise of Healing

By Priska Imberti

March/April 2017

One of the joys of compiling our 40th anniversary issue a few months ago was coming across so many gems from our archives that we were able to reprint and share. And then there were some that we couldn’t quite fit in but that deserved attention, including the following article on an issue that’s very much still with us—immigration and the immigrant experience, which recent events have only brought further into our collective awareness.

It was toward the end of 1988—summer in Argentina—when a friend suggested over supper that my husband and I take our preschool children and emigrate to the United States. The economic situation in our country seemed truly hopeless: radically unstable currency and terrible inflation, disappearing consumer goods, and increasing poverty. Our friend, a medical doctor in Argentina, had recently married a US-born woman and immigrated to New York. In the US, he couldn’t work as a physician. But within a few months, he was employed making deliveries for a catering service, and—in spite of the presumed drop in status—had discovered the benefits of getting paid on time in a stable currency that allowed him to afford his rent every month without sacrificing on other essentials, like food, clothes, and transportation.

My husband was in law school, and I was approaching graduation in a university psychology program, but we had few prospects in Argentina. Higher education was and is free there, so anyone without a job or much…

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