Hi my name is Chris-Ann Pink. I came to the USA via Miami-Hollywood international airport, where with the help of a loving and kind immigration worker who guided and helped me through the process of claiming asylum. After departing the flight from Jamaica, upon arriving at the airport in America I had to be rushed to the hospital where I was admitted for a few days. During that time my husband started the process for claiming asylum; then, after I was added to the process.
Being an immigrant, to me, is a whole other world by itself. For me and my family, becoming an immigrant has changed my entire life. It started off with a lot of unknown and uncertainty. Nonetheless, it has opened a door I never knew existed. As a result, being an immigrant means I am a diverse person entering into a new environment with limited knowledge and experience to a lot of things but also with a lot of opportunities and resources that are available that I can use to help develop me into becoming and building a new beginning in life. Being an immigrant means a whole lot to me and I thank God for the opportunity to become an immigrant.
The Jamaican culture is built on “out of many, one” people, as the motto states. As a result, the culture is very unique. We have a dialect called Potois that is widely spoken. Jamaican culture is very fun and interesting, especially the food in how it’s prepared and cooked. Jamaicans are very well known around the world and great, famous people such as Usain Bolt, the fastest man alive, were born in Jamaica. Many American artists have visited Jamaica and became in love with the resources such as the beaches, rivers, food, music and way of living in Jamaica. The Jamaican spirit is very contagious; most Jamaican immigrants are known to be some of the most hard working and determined people wherever they go. We are known for our jerk chicken, curry coat, oxtail, patty, stew peas, Manish water, etc.
Being here in the United States my culture still remains a big part of me. I try to keep it alive, especially in terms of what I cook. I still buy my Jamaica seasons at Jamaican stores and buy most of what is available that I would normally eat. Which most of the things are accessible here in the USA due to globalization. Some things have differently changed especially in terms of socialization and the weather. It has definitely been a challenge adapting to the weather and socializing in a new environment especially in communication, a lot of Americans find it difficult to understand the Jamaica slangs, accent and pronunciations.
My first month in Pittsburgh was extremely challenging because I was eight months pregnant, sick, had nowhere to live, no job or money, no family or friends. However, after being introduced to Catholic Charities, I got a significant amount of help and though them I was able to meet Deanna Calliguri from Bridge to the Mountains, ISAC, and later Sisters Place and J.C.F who have all have all saved my life, and I say this with tears in my eyes and a heart full of gratitude for all the help and support. These organizations have truly given me hope and have made my life a thousand times better.
I honestly believe Pittsburgh is very welcoming and very nice. I truly love Pittsburgh.