This morning’s news is centered on President Trump’s trip to California to talk immigration and face off with the state government over its policies on sanctuary cities. The topic of immigration has long been fraught with fervent partisan politics, but when Jennifer’s father made his own trip to California, his focus was personal rather than political: his goals were finding a job and reuniting with his wife.
After finally escaping Romania and filing his papers with the United States government, Jennifer’s father arrived in San Francisco, California in 1984. He was sponsored by the Tolstoy Foundation, an advocacy and refugee relief group that found him a place to stay, food, and education.
As soon as Jennifer’s father found a job at the gas station, he appealed to the U.S. embassy to bring Jennifer’s mom to America, a process that took 10 months. By the time the embassy contacted her with the news that she could leave, communism in Romania had fallen. She left immediately.
Jennifer’s mother flew to New York, then caught her connecting flight to Chicago, where she reunited with her husband. The couple drove to St. Paul, Minnesota to begin their life together in America.
The pair lived in Jennifer’s dad’s semi truck for three and a half years, pulling loads while they saved the money for a home. Jennifer’s father met a Romanian Orthodox priest in a small St. Paul suburb, and the priest told him about a nearby house for sale. The family purchased the home that Jennifer would later grow up in, and has had it ever since.
Jennifer’s family has lived a productive life in America for decades now, and they have enjoyed parts of the vastly different lifestyle here, but given the chance, Jennifer says they’d return to Romania. People tend to be very social there, and very closed-off here, she explains. Her parents lived a traditional and cultural life in a strong community there, and there’s nothing like that here. Jennifer explains that her parents miss their homeland, their culture, and the happy parts of the life that they lived for so long.