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Personal Experience: 6 Things I Understand Over 5 Years of Living in the USA

Every year, about 1 million people move to live in the United States. Author AdMe.ru She spoke about her experience of moving from St. Petersburg to the States in the 20 years of age and how this decision has changed her life.

Фото: Depositphotos

Collecting a suitcase, I only thought about how cool it was to find the reset button in the program of my life. I naively believed that immigration is simple and fun. Truly all the seriousness of the change "covered" me at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York.

Fly across the ocean was not as scary as being “on the other side”

Even the shirt of my beloved boy, whom I put on the plane as a kind of amulet, did not save me from anxiety. At the airport in New York, it was difficult for me to make out the slurred speech of dark-skinned flight attendants, I panicked and after each announcement on the speakerphone at the airport ran from gate to gate. I was afraid to be late for the next flight.

When I found myself in a small American plane, I completely lost my temper. After all, he was tiny. Total 2 row with 1 seat in each. I asked the neighbors: “Is this normal? On this fly in general? With a restrained smile I was told that they were flying, and moreover regularly. No travel books or language courses saved me from the image of a frightened savage.

My life began to change abruptly from the first hours in another country. And even though I learned English from 5 years and watched dozens of American comedies before the holes, I felt like a stranger from another planet.

Фото: Depositphotos

When I arrived at the new apartment, anxiety peaked

On the first night in the States, I dreamed of a horror worse than Stephen King's creations - with axes, zombies, and other “meat” trash. It turned out that American homes are simply made to make horror films: they creak from every step, they have a lot of closets and cabinets, from which, it seems, some evil spirits will jump out.

At first, I translated everything: prices, weight, time. The brain was forced to do double work. 20 bucks - how much in rubles? And if it's 9 evenings, what time is it in Moscow? God, I weigh 120 pounds! How much is in kilograms? Have I really recovered so much for 2 weeks in the States? 70 ° Fahrenheit - is it hot or cold? It took a long time before it all went well in my head.

The language barrier prevents communication at first. Many words are difficult to understand in a conversation with both locals and visitors. This leads to awkward and fun situations. For example, in a movie, a person with an average knowledge of English will understand the jokes in the comedy “The Third Extra” (Ted), but with the understanding of the meaning of Reynolds wits in Deadpool (Dead Pool) problems will begin. Ah, this awkward moment, when the whole room in the cinema laughs, and you clap your eyes and squeeze a confused chuckle.

Having just left, you begin to understand how much your culture meant to you.

You miss every blade of grass, books and signs in your native language, doctor sausage, buckwheat. And if the latter in the States can easily be bought in the nearest Russian store, for example, you will not find the St. Petersburg spring here for sure.

Living in Russia, I loved everything Western, snorting from one kind of brawn, and my ears curled up into a tube when I heard a national stage. Many said jokingly: “Well, you will leave and you will miss the birch trees and mint gingerbread.” I waved away until I moved to the States and suddenly realized that I really lacked all of this. Eating black bread with kefir in immigration is the height of gastronomic ecstasy.

Illusions with which I had to say goodbye

To move abroad you need to prepare for a long time. To leave on their specialty, it is necessary to pump to the level of "above average", which means sleepless nights, work in the evenings and weekends. When you arrive in the desired country, you want to relax. After all, I deserved! But it’s too early to relax, because the real plowing begins precisely after the move, and it is important to understand it in time.

Let the immigrants in the US not bewilder the politeness of the locals. For Americans, to give a compliment and ask how you are doing is a habit developed from childhood, for which there is usually no real sympathy or interest in your person. Nobody needs you here. Therefore, it is important to understand that no one is waiting for you in a new country with open arms. And in the native country, by the way, too.

Фото: Depositphotos

Immigration is an excellent filter for friends and relatives, who, after moving, are separated from you by distances and sometimes by time zones. Most of my friends dropped out in the first couple of years. Many simply stopped responding to letters and calls, and then completely disappeared. But there were a few friends who were always in touch and supported me in difficult moments.

Moving to another country, you understand what a tiny world. For example, from New York to Moscow can be reached by plane for 10 hours. But this is slightly longer than the duration of the three "Titanics." It is worth seeing the love story of Rose and Jack three times, and you are on another continent.

Cons immigration

The hardest thing is that the feeling of being at home is lost. During short trips home, you feel that you are a tourist here. You are surprised at the new shopping centers that grew up on the places where you played as a child, and fashion trends that would have seemed something wild before. Life here does not stop when you leave. It turns out that you are stuck between two worlds: you are no longer your own in the old house, but you have not yet taken root in the new one, so you become psychologically homeless.

After 5 years of living and working in the States, I can think in English and understand even a Chinese accent (one of the most difficult, among Americans, he has a name - “Chinglish” / Chinglish). However, the native language began to limp. I increasingly ask my relatives: “Damn ... Well, how is it in Russian?”. Some English words seem to be more capacious, and it is difficult for me to find an equivalent in my native language. And about the spelling, I generally keep quiet. Write "cow" through "a"? Yes, just spit!

Pros immigration

Immigration has become a journey for me to my own "I." After the move, I was more often alone with myself than at home. It helped me to deal with my fears and understand what is really important to me and what is not. Forced psychoanalysis helped me see my goals more clearly.

I became more mobile, and the way out of the comfort zone stopped appearing to be something scary, because every day in a foreign country is a small kick in the ass, motivating to better learn the language, assimilate and look for new opportunities.

Another big plus is getting rid of prejudice. Living in a different culture, getting to know the traditions and habits of local people and other immigrants, you become a more tolerant person. Regardless of religion, whether a person eats with chopsticks, hands or a fork, hides the whole body from head to toe or wears a turban on the head, all people want one thing: happiness and peace of mind. This understanding blurs the boundaries in your head and makes you more free.

It became clear that the suitcase should always be light. As a suitcase with clothes, and with a load of regrets about the past. If life throws us a new journey, it is better to start it lightly.

Conclusion

Despite the difficulties described, immigration is an experience worth deciding on. In a foreign country, every day you discover something new: a new word, an interesting fact, a new acquaintance. At some point, there comes the realization that there are no obstacles in front of you - you can do so much more than you ever imagined. It is worth only very much to want and feel free to hit the road.

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