So far my cultural engagement with the Portuguese of Fall River has been interesting, eye opening, and meaningful. This experience, though not complete, has certainly served to change my own beliefs and understandings of the world. I can’t say that I am a totally different person or have changed dramatically. I will say that I have been reminded of the world that exists outside my bubble of Barrington and Wheaton.
Learning about the lives of Portuguese upon arrival here, and generations later has reminded me of my ancestors, who immigrated to this country several generations ago. They, though Irish and not Portuguese, likely faced similar circumstances. Being new to this country they, like many Portuguese in Fall River, faced prejudice and struggled to start a new life here.
In the process these immigrants became a vital piece of their community, not just a separate entity. One realization I have had has to do with my view of immigrants. To be honest, I never really thought my life had anything to do with the lives of new immigrants. It was easy for me to forget that not too long ago my relatives were essentially them (though not Portuguese). I am reminded that most Americans are from immigrant stock and we are all enriched by each other’s experiences