My name is Riva Koziaj.
"I chose this new life and I will try to make it beautiful with all my strength."

Vlore, Albania

Boston, Massachusetts



Salem, Massachusetts

Going away from the country one was born in has never been a very easy thing to do. Although, here I am, 5680 miles away from home, still trying to get used to what is in front of me, how to fit in the new society, and trying to fade away the homesickness that does not choose to leave me alone. My name is Riva, and I will now tell you more about what I really experienced when I first stepped in the USA.

It was August seventeen when I was supposed to fly toward the US. I was very excited to go on this new adventure and experience this new life that was waiting for me. At eight am I was in the airport with my sister, since I was going to travel with her, saying the goodbyes to my parents. I started missing them since the first step I made toward the plane. It is obviously not easy to tell yourself that you will be fine staying one year without your parents in a foreign country. I wasn’t feeling ready to do that but in the end, that’s what I did.

The flight was very long and very tiring to me. Even though I had my sister there the whole time, I still felt lonely, like a part of my heart was left behind. I started feeling homesick even though it had only been seven hours since I was with my parents for the last time. But all that feeling started going away when I arrived at Logan Airport in Boston. Everything looked so different. I started hearing people talking in English and everything I had been dreaming on for a very long time, finally became real. I couldn’t even believe it that I was where I’ve always wanted to be.

My cousin was the one to pick us up from the airport. On our way home, I was very fascinated by the architecture, way of life and all the fast foods that I could basically see everywhere. I could see the difference in every detail. Even the air I was breathing seemed so different from the one in Albania. I was happy in that moment, because I was in the US, where everybody can succeed and become who they really want to be. I don’t mind the change, I welcome it because it is part of the challenge, and that is where I really started my journey toward the unknown. It was a little bit overwhelming to me, preparing myself to create a new life in a very short time, without having my parents near me in a country where I had to transform myself very quickly so you could be able to feel accepted.

It has been more than a month since I came to the US and right now, the feeling of emptiness and loneliness I had during my flight is still here with me. I still think too much about my parents, my old life and my own country. I never thought that I could miss Albania this much but let me tell you something: homesickness always stays with you as soon as you let it. Right now I am not ready to let the past stay where it is supposed to be, but I will work on it. I chose this new life and I will try to make it beautiful with all my strength.