18 Years Ago Today...

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408

18 years ago today a PanAm Boeing 747 made it to JFK from Moscow. Among other anxious passengers on board, it carried our family of 4. Me, my wife, my son, who turned 19 while on the plane, and my daughter, a few months shy of her 18.

We did not come to conquer the world, but to live a normal human life. Not to change the way others live, but to change the way we lived. And where was a better place to start it then New York City?

We had $400 and we were poor and hungry (after $400 were gone). But we felt that we had won this million-dollar jackpot, as we were among those lucky who made it here.

While at the airport waiting for clearances of all our immigration papers, I was trying to imagine the world outside this glass Delta Terminal, trying to envision where we were going to be in 2 years, in 3 years, in 5 years.

I did miss all the marks;  they were different from what I expected. I soon figured that at 40 I was tabula rasa and I had to start learning life from scratch. The most difficult thing was to leave my prejudices and preconceived notions behind. As others, I was trying to superimpose my previous experience on American reality, and they did not match.

I learned not only to understand English, but I learned (or, better say - learning) to understand the democracy, and this is darn difficult concept to anyone who did not get it with their mothers' milk, to learn the way of living, which I wanted, but did not know.

I am a poor student, and I am still learning. When I came, I was sure I would perfect my English and get rid of my accent. It did not happen. I am OK with it now.  And I am OK that I will never graduate this college of living in America. But I am trying to get to an A.

18 years ago today...

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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
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Rob - it is all relative, as we all know. If someone loses a $10 Mil home and moves into a $500K home, they whine. Well, those who lived in a $70K mobile home and who moves into a $150K home, they are so happy.

Remember the Beatles "Money can't buy me love"?

Thank you for the comment

Aug 01, 2009 07:30 PM #18
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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
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Inna - you remember? You and your brother were so tired that you fell asleep as soon as we finally got to the rundown hotel and got to the room

There is an easy way to not to forget about this date: it happened on your brother;s birthday (LOL)

I would dream of reading your blog about it.

Aug 01, 2009 07:34 PM #19
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Jim Frimmer
HomeSmart Realty West - San Diego, CA
Realtor & CDPE, Mission Valley specialist

Now it might be interesting to know why you thought that New York City would give you a "normal human life," one that you apparently through Moscow could not. Welcome to the United States of America! Hope you get to the West Coast pretty soon so you can get out of that "New York frame of mind" -- LOL.

Aug 02, 2009 01:26 PM #20
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William J. Archambault, Jr.
The Real Estate Investment Institute - Houston, TX

Jon,

18 years ago Friday was a good day for America!

Bill

Aug 02, 2009 02:27 PM #21
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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
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Melina - looking back, I can't believe we did it. We just jumped head first hoping that we were not going to drown, and we did not, though we nearly choked

Aug 02, 2009 04:04 PM #22
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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
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Jim - no, New york is a tough melting place, and it is the best place to make you or break you. There are many people who came to other places, and many of them think that if they would come to New york, they would have so many more opportunites. Having started from New York,everything else was manageable, only in this sense, Jim

Aug 02, 2009 04:07 PM #23
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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
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Bill - that's really a wow. You sure give me way more credit than what I deserve. Thank you so much

Aug 02, 2009 04:08 PM #24
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Mary Thomas BH,MB,HB, PV, Estates LA+
Remax Estates Properties - Los Angeles, CA
Mary C. Thomas Your Agent around the Globe

Jon, Congratulations on your anniversary..You are a success. Now we have to keep the country safe for our next generations and Free! It is good to know that someone such as you is helping to pave the way for your grandchildren...

Aug 03, 2009 09:15 AM #25
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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
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Mary - this is a lot of credit, thank you. And let's keep the country free for our grandchildren, I agree with that wholeheartedly

Aug 03, 2009 10:20 AM #26
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Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Jon, congratulations on celebrating your 18th Anniversary here! It is people like yourself who are important to remind us why freedom isn't free and why every generation has to lay claim to its freedom. You know the difference and it's why you came here. And you have succeeded beyond many who were born here. Bravo to you, my friend!

Sharon

Aug 04, 2009 03:33 PM #27
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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
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Sharon,

Thank you, thank you very much. this is unearned credit, and I feel flattered.

Aug 04, 2009 03:41 PM #28
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Patrick Scott
OConnor Title Guaranty, Inc. - Chicago, IL

Jon, your post gives me new appreciation for my easy life.  I don't think it's easy for any immigrant to set new roots in a foreign land - especially not speaking the language of your host country.  I admire you for diving in, as you put it.

The children of immigrants seem to find life here easier than their parents.  And the grandchildren who are born here are just plain Americans who know nothing else.  I am the grandchild of an immigrant.  I am grateful to be an American, and at the same time I am fascinated with the 'old country'.  There is enough room in the heart to appreciate both.

Congrats on eighteen years.  I wish you success and happiness (however you define them).

Aug 04, 2009 04:00 PM #29
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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
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Patrick - Thank you. When we were emigrating, we did not think much about "Diving in". It was an opportunity to get out, and we used it. Nothing heroic, We were and are lucky. Thanks for the wishes.

Aug 04, 2009 04:35 PM #30
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Tchaka Owen
Galleria International Realty - Hollywood, FL

Just in time!  Pan Am shut their doors 4 moths later.  And you've done well with your English - it is quite a difficult language to master.

Aug 04, 2009 06:12 PM #31
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Mary Yonkers
Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate - Erie, PA
Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor

Jon--I caame here after reading your daughter's version of her arrival here.  Both stories touched my heart.  Through the International Institute & our local churches in Erie we have met & worked many families like yours that came to the US to start a new life.  Thier stories like yours make me so very grateful for my US citizenship & my parents who provided for us even during some very lean times.  Nice to meet your here at AR.

Aug 04, 2009 09:46 PM #32
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Broker Nick
South Florida Real Estate & Development, Inc. - Coconut Creek, FL
Broker Nick Relocation Broker Service

Jon ~ What a pleasure to see how families actually assimilate to this country after your whole life living under a communist regime. My how you can see those same drums beating in this country right before your eyes.

Hopefully, this country can learn from people like you how not to "change" the country and what you came to this country...freedom.

Welcome and I am glad to call you an American.

Aug 09, 2009 02:12 AM #33
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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
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Tchaka - You surprise me with the knowledge of details like when Pan Am went out of business. You are correct, they did. And in New York that Pan Am sign on 200 Park Ave building was taken down and then two letters: ME popped up there, and that me stayed there for a couple of months at least. I was curious why, and the answer was a surprise to me. An eagle made a nest on the rooftop of the building, and they had babies eagles, and the work was stopped until the birds grew up a little and could fly.

And then we saw Metlife

Aug 09, 2009 07:34 AM #34
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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
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Mary - Thank you very much. I am glad I am here

Aug 09, 2009 07:38 AM #35
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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
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Nicholas - How true. Yes, it bothers me that we are sliding to a so familiar version that sometimes make me panic. Yes, I hope the nation will awake and the damage already done could be repaired. Many people think that it is not dangerous, you try it and if it does not work, you try something else, They do not understand that this is not just make a step forward and then a step back.

Imagine that you are on a cliff, and step forward is the end of it, You can't step back. It is not that you jumped in to the pool, and if you did not like the temperateure, you just get out.

Socialism is when you jump into the pool filled with acid. If you get out fast enough, you will have ugly scars for the rest of your life, but if you are not fast enough, you will not get out.

Aug 09, 2009 07:45 AM #36
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Broker Nick
South Florida Real Estate & Development, Inc. - Coconut Creek, FL
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Jon ~ Socialism is an easier word, but with the White House telling us to shut up, and the speaker of the house calling us Nazis, and demonizing any dissent as an angry mob, encouraging people to turn others into the White House to promote fear and possibe government intervention to anyone speaking against Obamacare, it is more like communism to me.

Jon, you should know better than anyone having experienced this firsthand, but now in another country.

Aug 09, 2009 09:12 AM #37
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