El Sueño Americano: The American Dream
Balancing one’s American pride with roots and traditions from another land.
Immigration to the United States is a difficult experience and subject to a significant public and political debate that shows no signs of cooling down anytime soon. As an immigrant, you are expected to shed off the mantle of your heritage and do what others before have come to accomplish—live the American dream. But that is not only difficult; it is impossible. A person who was molded by a different culture cannot simply leave the past behind because it is what makes a person whole. But it is also impossible not to be swept away with the tide of such a great country that offers freedom and opportunities that are otherwise not available in one’s homeland. So what is a migrant to do when facing this dilemma? Following the laws of nature, humans must adapt or face extinction. To choose either side of the spectrum—become fully “Americanized” or maintain the idea that you can still remain exactly the same as before you moved to the land of the free—will not only make your life in the USA hard, it will cause inner pain and confusion. But there is a middle way that allows you to have the best of both worlds and to do that, one must find balance.
To find balance, it is important to plant one’s feet firmly upon the ground; without a strong stance, all other movements are impossible. One of the hurdles many go through is speaking English. As a migrant, you may be tempted to keep using your first language, and if you live in a mostly white neighborhood, this will no doubt alienate you from the community. But this doesn’t necessarily mean giving up your language; it can be kept alive at home with your family, passing on the heritage to your children who will be better equipped as they will now be multilingual. Food is another aspect migrants can celebrate without affecting their new status as Americans. Through this, you can celebrate the traditions and flavors of your original homeland while sharing with your new neighbors your culture through a culinary experience. America is such a diverse place, and it is no way shameful to wear your origin while embracing a culture of liberty, egalitarianism, individualism, republicanism, and democracy.
The United States of America is the great melting pot of the world. To be a migrant in a country built by immigrants is following the great tradition of settlers that made America great. So be yourself and enjoy the good things your culture has shared with the world, and like all Americans, look to the future, for striving to be the best you can be while maintaining who you are in this modern frontier is the true meaning of the American dream.