An Eastern European in Destin

By Iryna Strilchuk


“Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.”

– Franklin D. Roosevelt



American immigration started as soon as this land was open for the world. People have been coming here from all over the world with different reasons and different goals. After all these years, the USA keeps proving that it is land of freedom and a country of fairness.


It attracts everyone, especially Eastern Europeans. They ran from corrupt countries where democracy is just a word but not a system, and freedom and independence are just myths.


Destin is a small paradise situated in the Northwest Florida. It is very unexpected, but eastern Europeans really love this town. Wherever you go you will hear an accent. Have you noticed that the bartender at your local bar is Ukrainian? A salesperson at the gas station is Russian? A taxi driver is Bulgarian? Is it not weird?


Absolutely not. Young people cross half of the world to create an American Dream, which is different for everyone. These are people who work hard, respect the law, believe in their success, and live their lives with no hate. It takes a lot of courage to leave everything you have and start life all over again. A good education and moral principles are great groundwork for a new beginning.


Destin is a small town, so I know most of them. Their success impresses me. I have seen my friends start great careers and open their own businesses in an impossibly short time. They desire to do good, help their families, see the world, be happy, and reach the highest levels.


I think the secret is motivation. Nothing can motivate you better than no back up plan. Your parents are not able to help you, so all you can do is believe in yourself.


I am one of them. I have met people who showed me discrimination and disrespect, but I have also met people who treated me with kindness and love. In three years, I learned more than I would in my country.


Every day, I am inspired to try new things, work hard, and enjoy the chance to build my life in the way I love. For me, the American Dream is about being whoever you want to be and having everything you want to have—just work hard, and its always pays off.


It was incredibly difficult for me in the beginning. I needed my family and friends but it was unattainable. Jane Austen once wrote that for happiness, sometimes you have to struggle, even with yourself. I agree.


All of us came a long way and found ourselves in the country where everyone’s rights are protected and all points of view are valuable. We picked Destin because it is a beautiful place where dreams come true, people are friendly and life is peaceful.

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