The Immigrant's Odyssey

The Immigrant's Odyssey

Trauma, Loss, and the Promise of Healing

May/June 2008

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 U.S.-born woman and immigrated to New York. In the U.S., 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 income can pursue professional studies. This produces a surfeit of professionals in a sinking economy. In Cordoba, for example, where we attended the university, there was a lawyer for every 5 people, a medical doctor for every 10. The middle class in Argentina was disappearing. Simply getting shoes for our children, books for our graduate studies, and rent money every month had turned into a nightmare that didn't seem likely to end anytime…

Already have an account linked to your magazine subscription? Log in now to continue reading this article.

(Need help? Click here or contact us to ask a question.)

Not currently a subscriber? Subscribe Today to read the rest of this article!

Read 2558 times
Comments - (existing users please login first)
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Name *
E-mail Address *
Website URL
Message *