My parents came to the United States in their twenties and lived with my aunt and uncle who had settled in Long Island a few months before their arrival. My dad had brought ten dollars with him, and began working at a gas station in order to scrape some money together. You would think the first thing he would spend his money on would be some city food, or even a I Heart NY t-shirt, but no. My father tells me to this day, that he was very proud of his first purchase in America. My mother and father were walking back home after a long day’s work in their second week here, and they walked past a store called “Butala Emporium”. It was a stored filled with Indian culture: idols, herbs, and even clothing from India. There, he made his first purchase in America. My father bought this elephant. Back then, it was to remind him of India and to ease his homesickness. Today, it stands in the middle of our coffee table in our living room, as a reminder to everyone in the house, that although we moved here, and have succeeded in America, we mustn’t forget where we come from and our culture that forms a part of us.
– Dhiraj Patel