Shortly after arriving in Los Angeles

Distance is the inspiration‘s best hearting. ~ E. Marshall

Early Views

At the age of twenty-two, when in Romania, I entered a study-abroad program that required a sponsor. My cousin Luminita, who’d been living in the U.S. with her family for many years, signed on the dotted line, and a couple of months later she snapped one of my first pictures on these shores (see above).

Arriving in a new country can be exciting and scary all at once, but the multitude of nationalities here in Los Angeles, of languages spoken, made me feel welcome. I was not, I felt, the only one struggling.

Before long, however, I became aware of the tensions this multitude holds. Every country has its problems, but the issues sparked by an often problematic cultural pluralism were new for me.

Much of this tension concerned the Hispanic community — there was, I thought, a certain barrier, I don’t know, perhaps a clear refusal to understand one another. Or so it looked to me. Still does, sometimes.

How This Pertains to the Story

In Stranger or Friend, Zoe Sinclair is exposed to exactly such tension when she returns home. It is the friction caused by outsiders, or viewed by a handful of people as being caused by them, that leads to the big conflict.

Much of this reflects my observations from those early days, a time full of hope and dread and joy and so many questions.  As my blog tagline says … life is a story, might as well write it.

~ Tomorrow’s post: B is for Beauty. I hope to see you then.


29 responses to “Arriving

  1. Arriving and returning .. such wonderful and evocative themes Silvia …

  2. charlesallenjr

    Arriving in a foreign place can certainly be challenging. I’ve seen people handle it well and flourish, but I’ve also seen some people resist it and get overwhelmed. It’s cool that you incorporated your experience into your characters for the book. Good luck with AtoZ again this year!

    • So true, Chuck. We hear stories about people who arrived with five bucks in their pockets and thrived, and stories of those who struggled so much, they had to go back. I think age plays a factor, the younger a person, the easier the transition. Thanks, and look forward to reading your AZs.

  3. Great job Silvia. I can SO relate as at 11 my parents moved us from tiny, Kirkland (mostly wilderness), WA in 1960 to Upland, CA. The cultures were vastly different, plus there were numerous Hispanic people around. It was like I had landed in the Twilight Zone. A couple of years later we moved to the beach, but each area runs to its’ own drummer! I’m glad you stayed.

  4. I think starting somewhere new is always tricky but it’s a lot harder when the place you’re new to is culturally different (or looks at people from different cultures in a particular way).

    It’s great that you were able to use your experience in your story. :-)

    Cait @ Click’s Clan

  5. I am very interested in what you saw and how you interpreted it when you arrived in the U.S.A. Racial tensions are huge, as you can clearly see. We had migrant workers in my small community in the Midwest. There was definitely a separation and distrust.
    Play off the Page

    • Thank you, Mary. Yes, there is so much of that, and there is also good, many, many good, welcoming people. Too bad the few outspeak the many. Thanks for sharing the bit about your community.

  6. Hi Silvia – I don’t remember arriving .. but I remember the journeys .. interesting you picked up the vibes so quickly … different peoples with different concepts of life … and wants and needs … your book will be a must read – Happy A-Z ing .. cheers Hilary

  7. Cool pic. You are lucky to live near the ocean. I am grateful to get your perspective on issues such as being a stranger in a new land and observing the relationships seen. Cheers, Denise

  8. What a wonderful post! Subscribing and congrats on the A to Z start – I’m quite jealous, I don’t live near the ocean and I miss it!


  9. Great picture. Understanding starts when someone is willing to at least try. That’s the beginning.

  10. I love that you’re incorporating your experience in your story. Those experiences that shape us really need to be looked at and revisited and honored for what they’ve given us. Looking forward to your future posts as well.

  11. Nicely linked to your book!

  12. Hi Silvia. I think we met at last year’s A to Z. Lovely to read your lovely words again :)

  13. I come from a country steeped in racial tension, so I understand what you are talking about.
    It’s great that you’ve incorporated your real-life experiences and made it part of your story. :)

  14. What a fascinating topic, Silvia. I look firward to your thoughts because you seem to honor your past and embrace your present without resenting the culture of the country you’ve chosen to become part of. Everyone DOES have a different story, but we need to honor our mutual desire to live in one country.

  15. That image sums up so perfectly how solitary an experience arriving in a new country can feel–even sometimes if you don’t arrive alone. Lovely, thought provoking post, and I’m really looking forward to reading about the inspiration you’ve drawn from your life and fed into your book. Great start to the challenge!

  16. I love traveling and exploring new countries. I have not have the opportunity yet to make an extended stay. Perhaps some day. I know moving to a new location is much the same with out the drastic change of languages and customs. Looking forward to the rest of your A-to-Z posts!

  17. A very brave move Silvia, it has to be said! Having read ‘Stranger of Friend’, I didn’t feel an overwhelming sense of divide/friction until quite near the end between Zoe and one of the characters (won’t give too much away!)… #AtoZChallenge from Carol Cameleon at @AllSortsHere

  18. What a beautiful theme you’ve picked- to see inside your mind and learn how your experiences shaped your story.

I welcome your thoughts.

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