What does home mean? Is it the objects we surround ourselves with, the faith and religious organizations we belong to, the food we eat, the relatives and friends in our lives? For many immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers, home is where they find safety and dignity.
Rather than the assimilation model of forcing immigrants to melt into the "American" pot, the 2017 cultural climate fosters a mosaic of experiences. When Germans immigrated to Waldoboro in the 1750s, or Scandinavians set out for Maine in 1870, it was generally understood that they would never return to their home countries.
The advancements in technology--cell phones, computers, and efficient international flights--allowed more recent immigrants the freedom to live a transnational experience, to keep their identities, their language, and maintain relations with people at home.
In the past and in 2017, immigrants have made hard choices about what they will leave behind and what they will bring with them to their new life.
Items immigrants brought with them are things that are important enough to pack in limited luggage space, to remind them of the home they were leaving, and to help them create a new home in Maine.
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