When I first came to America I had three jobs. That was just what I needed to do. Making money in America is not like the movies. My language skills were very bad and I didn't know any skills. I got a job with an agency as a home attendant in Manhattan. I worked with some very friendly ladies but they all spoke Russian, this was not helpful for me.
I would come home from work and spend a little time with my children, but they were fast becoming American. Sometimes they forgot Russian words, and they were often frustrated with me because I didn't know English well enough. It was a new battle, my children didn't want to be immigrants, they wanted to be American. I wanted them to love both countries. It was a bad time.
I used to remember visiting my grandmother each winter, just before the New Year. We would sit in her kitchen and together we would make Pelmeni, this is a dumpling from Russia and one that we eat for the New Year celebrations. My grandmother would tell me about her life, not just the history, the gossip, she always knew everything about everyone, while we rolled and filled the dumplings. This was a favorite way for me to connect with my grandmother, I don't know if I appreciated it at the time. Now I take one afternoon every two weeks, and with my children, we sit at the table and roll Pelmeni. They tell me about their lives and I tell them of life back home. It is a time of peace and new traditions mixed with old. So, for me, Pelmeni transports me back to Russia, my Grandmother's table, but also connects me to my new American life.
Here is my recipe. Pelmeni is a cheap and warming food....I make mine with beef, but other people use other fillings.