Moving from one place or culture to another can be a difficult transition: we are away from the family and friends who have always known us, everyday tasks can become our biggest challenges and it can be hard to find anything that feels comfortable or familiar. In this process, though, growth and vibrant life can also be found: we love and are loved by new friends, we are shaped by other perspectives and we understand there are depths to ourselves we could not otherwise have known.
Here, Tatyana Lipskaya who has made her home in Southeast Missouri from Kiev, Ukraine, shares about her native culture, her new culture and what she’s learned in the transition. Here’s to letting life be a process and all the things we learn along the way.
Hometown: Kiev, Ukraine
Moved to Cape Girardeau five years ago when she got married, to be close to family and friends and to be in a city that reminds her of Kiev, with the river and many churches
What is something that surprised you about the new culture you are a part of?
What surprised me in this culture is the beautiful smiles from everyone everywhere.
What is something you miss or are proud of about your native culture?
I miss many small cafés with tea in real cups and lots of different sweets and Ukrainian cakes.
What is a challenge of moving to a new culture? What is a joy of moving to a new culture?
The greatest challenge of moving to a new culture is the unknown. Can I do it? Will I adapt? How will my family be in Ukraine? Will I be able to find a job? One of joys of the new world was the conquering of all my fears with the hopes of new opportunities that I didn’t have before and making them happen. Sure, I would like to be further than where I am now, but I will keep striving until I reach my goals. And like many parents, we live our dreams through our children, and I wanted this, too. I wanted to see my daughter move here with me, and now she has become so successful in this community as a health care professional and also she has achieved so much in life here in America. And I can say that is the greatest joy of all!
How do you incorporate elements of your native culture into your new culture?
The most important element of our culture is the love for our families. Love transcends all values, languages and cultures, so this element is universal. Some more practical elements of daily living would be the way that we appreciate our diet of food and the cooking process. As Ukrainians, we like many home-cooked meals that are made from scratch and with love. Another cultural element that I incorporate here in America is how we celebrate holidays with our native garments and traditional meals such as borsch, shuba salad and sweet rolls with cheese.