Around the time of my first anniversary here, the assimilation gods gave me a pat on the head. At the end of my daughter’s preschool year, the teachers staged a graduation ceremony. After giving diplomas to each of the kids, they handed out a few awards to parents. As one of the only at-home moms in the class, I’d ended up ferrying around kids who needed rides while their parents were working. The head teacher, the one who I thought didn’t like me, stood in front of the group.
“And the schlepper award goes to … Mrs. Salzberg!”
I stood up, beet red, and walked to the front of the room. The whole place burst into applause—all these people who I figured didn’t even know my name. Well, actually, they didn’t know my name. They assumed I had my husband’s last name. But that was okay. The teacher beamed and handed me a little plant.
I couldn’t have felt more proud if I’d won an Academy Award. I’d made it in the country. Barely.