I was catching up on Stefan Molyneux's call in show via podcast, and question 6 of the April 5 podcast (available here) was from a man who'd been dragged to the US as a child and illegal alien, and had moved back to Mexico, discussing his alienation.
All in all it's a damned interesting conversation, but Stefan dug out a metaphor that really hit home for me personally. He pointed out that even in the "good" cases, you or your parents, the adults, and to a lesser degree the children, take a small bubble of one's culture with them when they arrive at their new home. Over time, that bubble erodes, but as the actual home culture moves on, evolves, the little bubble one brings along is frozen in time, in stasis. And of course, the kids, legal or otherwise, are left in between - neither fully of the new culture (though in some cases closer than others) nor any longer of the old. It's moved on.
Like the line in Gross Pointe Blank - " I, I'm standing where my, uh, living room was and it's not here because my house is gone and it's an Ultimart! You can never go home again, Oatman... but I guess you can shop there."
Whenever you try to go back, it may not be leveled and replaced with a convenience store, but it will be different. You've brought something with you that makes you not entirely of the new home, yet freezes you out of the flow of the old one.
I've seen it. Not only in grandparents who - no matter how staunchly anti-communist, left to go back to the home country once free. They were anti-communists, not Americans. I've seen it in others more recently from my parents home country comment how archaic my vocabulary is - because the vocabulary I learned in Sunday school has been frozen in time since the last big wave of immigrants immediately post WW2.
I've also seen it in cultural assumptions. You'd think that - for a group of people who's last wave of immigration was escaping Soviet and communist tyranny - that the lessons would be burned in about the evils of central control.
Fuck that. Many of the parents I knew growing up, many of the kids generation I know now, are die hard socialists and democrats through and through.