My Best Friend

My grandma (my best friend) was born in 1952, making her sixty eight in October. She was born in Odessa, Russia when it was still a part of the Soviet Union. She had my mom when she was only nineteen years old, while practicing medicine and working night shifts as an EMT. She took my mom and immigrated to America, in between they moved to Italy for three months before coming here. When she came here, she had to go through medical school another time, except this time without knowing the language, which made it twice as hard, but nevertheless she graduated from it and got her degree.

As I was interviewing my grandma, she seemed to not enjoy this process as much as I would have liked however these are the answers I got from the questions she would let me ask.

Q- Did you experience oppression or discrimination based on your gender growing up?

A- “Yes, absolutely. Many of my male colleagues in the field didn’t take me seriously because I was a women, so I had to work more diligently to prove my intelligence in medicine”

Q-What was it like immigrating to America as a single mom?

A- “It was certainly a struggle and very intimidating to come to this country, with no connections but I was thinking about my daughters future, and I wanted better opportunities for her and myself. I was confident in my ability to achieve my goals, and I never looked back.”

Q- Did you face any oppression or discrimination when you were in America?

A- “Yes most of the time, when I was learning English and couldn’t defend myself I faced a lot of oppression based on my gender. One time I was working in this laundry mat and a man came in with a gun, aiming to rob the place just because he thought as a women I couldn’t do anything about it. Thank god, a man who worked in a neighboring store came in and saved me.”

Q- Do you ever miss Russia? Did you ever go back?

A- “No I don’t. When I left I promised myself to not look back. At the end of the day, life in America was a dream for us and it was up to us to fulfill that dream. I fulfilled it and so there’s no point of going back. It seems like a different life time thinking about my life in Russia.

Q- Were you ever scared for your daughter?

A-“Of course, but I believed in her and I believed in myself. I was always taught that fear is an excuse, thats something I live by.”