I am not always understood when I have to speak to customer service on the phone about a bill. I can't see her face, but I know she's rolling her eyes when I ask her to explain it one more time.
I eat weird foods, and not at the normal times throughout the day.
I don't sit with a group of friends at church that I have known for years. I recognize the comfort and camaraderie that results from those years, and I am so thankful to have known it once myself.
I watch my son spend time with his grandparents through a computer screen.
I know the joys of paperwork like no native-born Chilean ever will.
I am thankful that my nationality is respected here. And I feel bad when my friends make jokes or complain about Peruvians and Bolivians. Just because they have come to live in a country with a stronger economy, doesn't mean they came to steal all your money. And no, I'm not laughing at your joke.
I offend people by my cultural differences. I don't know how. But I'm sure I do.
I am an immigrant, and I am forever changed.
And if, one day, I should cease to hold this label as my own, I will remember.
I will remember that it is hard to live so far away from your family.
I will remember how badly I wanted to connect with people from another culture.
I will remember how much I hated the scrunched eyebrows and slight frown that really meant, "I have no idea what you just said."
I will remember how easy it is to feel outside of the group.
I will remember how good is is to make new friends.
I will remember to be intentional about being kind, being inclusive, and welcoming to anyone who is on the "cultural outskirts" for any reason.
And I will be thankful for the opportunity to reach out to those who are living the life of an immigrant, as I once did.