Many people of my generations cannot say that they experienced life in two countries in their childhood. I am lucky to say that I was born in Europe, even though it was Eastern, and moved to "The Land of Freedom." I would most likely be considered first generation American. I was born in Ukraine and moved here when I was two years and one half months old. My mom and I left the JFK airport on August 27, 1991 and we moved into an apartment in Brooklyn. Although we did not have a substantial amount of money at the time, my dad was already in the States, in addition we had help from friends. My dad had left earlier because of his Jewish status; they were permitted to leave primary to other citizens of the country. In the beginning, getting money wasn't that easy. There were some business opportunities for my father in Brooklyn, where he sold 'matroshkis" or Russian dolls.
In the early 90's, one set could be sold for 10-20 dollars. Whereas now it could be in the range of several hundred. This is interesting because the demand for European items has greatly risen within the past decade.
We came to America for many reasons. There were many problems with the government of the time, it had not yet developed (actually it only separated from Russia last year during the Orange Revolution). At the time, remains of communism were still evident. Political leaders were influenced by Russia in making many important decisions. During communist rule, religion was virtually illegal. Churches were shut down and only "underground" sermons were performed. Interestingly, the majority of my mom's side of the family got christened in this manner. In America, we were free to express our beliefs in a local church,