If I stay[ed] in Russia, I would have too many kids, like happen to my mom. Go to be taken away by Government
First time I went a movie [was with my] Amarican family in Russia. I eat popcorn and also got first time a soda. [That day there were four firsts for Emily, who was fifteen and her sister, Annie, who was fourteen. That was the first time either of them had ever been to a restaurant or had seen a movie in a theater. It was also the first time either of them had experienced soda-pop or popcorn. They both still remember that day as a very big deal.]
In Russia I pick up potatoes on the ground with my friends. [After potatoes from a local field were harvested, the orphanage was allowed to “glean” the field. Orphanage workers took the orphans into the field to pick up left-over and damaged potatoes which they used in the orphanage.]
Also we went to New York and I got hat. We went to eat like circle around restaurant and it is amazing. [On the way home from Russia, we spent a day in New York. We brought in a friend who spoke Russian and we spent the time visiting places like the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island while we talked about emigration to the United States and how it wasn’t a new thing. We stayed at the Marriot on Times Square and on the top floor was a restaurant called The View. The View covers the entire top floor and the floor around the outside, where the tables are located, rotates. So, we ate our dinner and in an hour, rotated once around and saw all of surrounding New York City.]
In Russai we have food like bleni and pelogy. (Blini are Russian crepe-like pancakes and pierogies are potato dumplings. [We] have meat in Amarica. It’s different because Amarica. [While Russains don’t eat as much meat as typical North Americans, they do eat a fair amount. However, meat was a rarity in the orphanages where my children lived.] In Russia [they] have restaurants but in Amarica have more restaurants than Russia.
There they have subway in the ground. Tramway is train that goes other places. Sometimes [I] went with my friends to subway and we sleep over. [Emily and her friends would run away from the orphanage and sleep in the subway stations.] My bad life I had in Russia. My dad lazy in Russia because he never do any work in Russia.
But I met my mom and dad when I came to Amarica. First time I met my dad when he came to orphinige with Grandpa and then I meet them.
My experiences about my life; some orphinige kids like girls, turn sixteen years old then government kick out and be prostitute and probably you die. [Different regions in Russia do things differently. In some areas, orphans are allowed to stay in the orphanage until they turn 18. In other regions, when the orphan turns sixteen, they are emancipated and turned out into the street with no prospects.]
I am glad that I came to Amarica because my life going to be good. But my favorite [thing] to do in Russia [was to] watch Bollywood. [Movies from India are fairly popular in Russia and they were a favorite at Emily’s orphanage.] And kids in the orphinige we watch pornography and that not OK. [According to other conversations with Emily, the workers would give the teens pornographic DVDs and tell them they could watch them in the TV room. The teens shut the door and the DVDs (and activities that they brought on) kept the teens busy all day and out of the site and mind of the orphanage workers. Pirated pornographic DVDs, at a dollar or so a copy, made cheap babysitters.]
But I run [ran] away all the time and have lots [of] bad behaviors. And I used to fight people. I remember that boy hit me in head with big rock and I got so scared about it.
[Here Emily relates bad things that happened to her at the orphanage. There’s really no reason to go into the detail. You can imagine what happened in such places.]
I been big sister. I take [took] care my sisters, bring to them water and food. [Emily was the oldest of five children who lived with absentee parents in a small shack. Often she took on the responsibility of getting water from a hand-crank well and getting small amounts of food (usually by begging from neighbors) for herself and her younger siblings.] We have little house. It’s hard in Russia get jobs.
We not have any holidays in the orphinige because orphinge government not have any money. [Emily means that they didn’t get birthday, New Year’s (which the Soviets substituted for Christmas) or other holiday presents, celebrations or special food in the orphanage. They knew that these things were given to other Russians, but they were orphans and had no part in the Russian culture outside of the orphanage. Orphans in former Soviet States are treated like second class citizens and they come to accept that treatment as natural (if not accepted.)
If I stay[ed] in Russia, I would have too many kids, like happen to my mom. Go to be taken away by Government. [As Emily and her siblings were taken from their mother and placed in orphanages, she believes that had she stayed in Russia, her life may have been much the same.]
But now I am in the Amarica my life going to be more happy when I am making good choices because make me so happy if my life happy. I love to help kids have home and food. [Remember, this is what Emily did for her younger siblings, in Russia. She’s not talking about wanting to do something like that in the future (though she does want to do that again, in the future). Emily is speaking from experience.]
Also we need help them [children] all the time. [Emily views “children” as those who were younger than she was. Emily’s “helping children” ceased when she was seven years old, when she and the other siblings were removed from the home and placed in orphanages. But this had been going on for years before that. In essence, Emily saw (and still sees) herself as the adult that was in that situation, responsible for taking care of “the children.”]
Some people from Russia don’t care about kid’s life or happiness. Because it’s not OK to kill or rape or drugs or drink or be also prostitute.
But my Amarican family love me as much as I love them. But kids need support and love all the time. My life is easy now with my family and program and friends. Also, I never give up on my family.
I been lots of places in Amarica. When I make bad choices and people been helping me a lot with choose rightly. I like when people been supporting me and they give me a nice advice because I like when I have a nice freedom because make me happy about it.
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