First Grade Notebook

Notebook Cover
Notebook Cover

My mother brought this book with us when we moved to Texas from Sri Lanka. I don’t know why she did it. Maybe she thought I would need it for school or maybe she wanted to keep it as a memento. It’s my first-grade workbook, a simple, wide ruled notebook, with a cover made of yellow tissue paper. It’s where I learned how to write in my native language. It contains the first words I ever wrote in Sinhalese.   I was 11 when I found the book again as we were moving to New York. By then, I had come to consider the US my home and myself as a normal citizen. Seeing it reminded me of my country and of my life before coming to Texas, of the friends and family that left behind, the sacrifices my parents made for me, and the expectations they had of me. I have since made an effort to strike a balance between my identity as a native of Sri Lanka and as a citizen of the United States. This book reminds me that, while I may live in the US, I will never truly belong here. I will forever be torn between preserving my identity as an immigrant and embracing America as my new home, between sticking to my roots and making my own identity. 

Place(s): Sri Lanka,Texas
Year: 2003

– Pasan Dharmasena

Relationship:  Im/migrant who arrived as a child Im/migrant who arrived as a child