On August 16, I will celebrate the 10-year anniversary of my move to the United States. When I arrived in Philadelphia back then to start my PhD program at Temple University, for a first few weeks I had the strangest feeling. It seemed like I was in a movie, a character living on the screen. Everything was unusual - faces, voices, tastes, smells, and even temperatures - but not unfamiliar. As if I have experienced all of that somehow, somewhere...
A few friends of mine who visited the United States or immigrated here described their sensations using the same "like in a movie" comparison. How come? An explanation seems to lie on the surface. Even though I had never been to the US prior to my arrival in 2011, I experienced many aspects of its life by watching films and TV shows imported to Russia. Representations are far from perfect, but sometimes they can have this strange power to influence our perceptions and emotions.
When I still lived in Russia and could not even imagine moving to the US one day, I wrote two poems about a person stranded in a far-away land. I shared one of them on my blog a few months ago. Today I want to show you the second one. It was not about me back then, and it's not really about me now, although I did become a kind of wanderer myself. I do not feel as lonely and lost as the narrator. But I can relate to his description of the "strange looking-glass resemblance" between our present and our past - between stories we were told, dreams we dreamt and roads we are walking now.