By Zita Rasid, Massachusetts, USA
On September 26, 2010, the Rasid family celebrated their 50th year in America at the Twin Hills Country Club in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, USA.
Our parents have passed on but we could not let this milestone go unnoticed. We wanted to thank so many people who were instrumental in making our move to America a happy and positive experience. From the Episcopal Church in Springfield, who sponsored us, to the neighbors who showed us how grocery shopping was done and how Halloween was celebrated to the schools that took a special interest in all the immigrant children from The Netherlands and Italy. They provided us with all the necessary tools to learn the language as quickly as possible and to adjust to the way students were taught here.
We gathered together on that beautiful autumn day to acknowledge and thank our parents for the sacrifices they had made. Every family has their own story on how they chose to immigrate to America, Australia or Canada. In our family, that decison was made at the dinner table with a toss of a “kwartje” (quarter), the decision was made to move to America. It was that simple.
My father was eager to move to America. My mother was less so, as all her siblings lived in The Netherlands and with six children in tow, there was that uncertainly of what the future would hold for them. We had to leave Indonesia in 1954 and made a new life in The Netherlands – now what would this move to America mean to us ? Eventually, Mom came to recognize that this was an opportunity for her children to have a better life and so we immigrated from Holland to America. My parents’ reason for leaving The Netherlands was for the “Toekomst -mogelijkheden en Klimaat verbetering”….translated to “future opportunities and better climate”. So the Rasid family arrived in America in1960 with six children and two adults. Today we are 43 strong. We studied and received our education, we are all employed, we fell in love, married, bought our homes and started our own families.
At the celebration we were blessed with friends and family who gathered to share this milestone. The tables were draped with batik cloth and music was played from our days in Holland. A wonderful slide show presentation produced by my sister in law, Paige, showed my parents, Elsa Johan and Willem Rasid, in Indonesia with their family and also with their children. The slide show also depicted our six years in Holland and then our arrival in America in 1960. It was amazing how the second and third generation reacted to all this information – this was perhaps the first time that they heard the story of how we came to this country. They were moved by it and there were questions asked. It took an occasion such as this for them to appreciate their Turkish and Indishe culture.
There were heartfelt speeches and there were tears and there was also joy. There was so much love in the room that day and people walked away from it with a better feeling about our country and realized that a little kindness goes a very long way.
America has been good to us and we are grateful that through our sponsor and all those people who took a genuine interest in us, that we are able to enjoy all the wonderful things this country has to offer. We are an example for other immigrants demonstrating through hard work and perseverance all things are possible. There are no handouts, there are so many opportunities here, we feel truly blessed to have had such courageous parents and a country who welcomed us with open arms…..Thank you America for accepting us.
Editors Note: Zita Rasid serves on the Board of Directors for The Indo Project. She is a zealous cook of Indonesian cuisine and enjoys sharing it with others.