'There are no walls around the house here.' I wrote in my diary, in an entry dated December 24, 1967. This was a few days after my arrival in America. It took me years to realize that in America other kinds of walls, mainly invisible, existed. I had to learn about their presence, respect their sovereignty, abide by their rules. I could not neglect them, trespass them. I could not disregard them. This meant not only learning the English language but also mastering the metalanguage, the verbal and nonverbal codes of interactions, the different systems and styles of communication.