30 reasons for the surprise of the immigrant
I moved to America 3 a year ago and want to talk a little bit about stereotypes, about what surprised me and what I missed when I first arrived. I wanted you to have more information, and maybe someone will ever need it. Immediately make a reservation that this is just my opinion, I am not Zadornov, not a Republican, or a Democrat. Moreover, my experience may be radically different from others, because different states have different characteristics, and different people have different perceptions.
I remember that day when an unfamiliar friend (or rather, each other) met me at the airport and took me to the hotel. I drove, as it seemed to me then, past gray, dull one-story houses, and thought - and this is America? Well, imagine yourself, after the luxurious Baku (and I lived and worked in the city center), after numerous trips to the best cities in Europe, to find myself in a modest suburb, where all the houses are very similar to each other and are absolutely unremarkable.
I still could not understand what bothers me so much, what does not fit into the overall picture. It dawned on me already at the hotel, complete absence of pedestrians! No, maybe someone ran with headphones in their ears, but where are the ordinary people scurrying here and there on their business? Feeling like I'm in some post-apocalyptic movie. Now, after 3 years, for me there is nothing dearer than these same suburbs. Since we have 2 offices (in the suburbs and in downtown Chicago), I accordingly often work in downtown and really love our big city. But what happiness - after work to come to your family, to this small cozy town of absolute tranquility.
2 Live expensive
You will plow like dad Carlo (there is a lot of work, contrary to stereotypes, even for immigrants) and earn enough too. Well, probably more than in Baku. And the more you work, the more you earn accordingly. But! About 30% of your honestly earned money will be taken away from you for taxes (sometimes a little less or more), the invoices you see in the films are reality.
$ 200-300 per month for gas in winter - there is nothing to do, in summer, respectively, high electricity bills. Have small children and no relatives? $ 10 per hour nanny, about $ 2000 per month. Owning a modest home in a nice neighborhood? $ 8-10 thousand in land taxes every year. Need to give birth and no insurance? $ 20 thousand, but don't worry, you can pay monthly (you will get off with three thousand insurance, but the insurance itself is about $ 150 per person per month).
Just like at home, often hiding in the bushes. The fines are huge. But they just do not stop, and even close to minor violations they close their eyes. They don’t like it when you don’t completely stop at the STOP sign (you need to wait five seconds). Patrol areas conscientiously. Helping people change a tire or find a way. Recently, a friend got into a terrible traffic jam, hours on 2. The police approached each car and asked if you had enough gasoline. If the police are traveling with flashing lights, ambulance or fire department, everything, absolutely everything is rearranged (and very quickly) in the right lane, even if they are traveling on the anti-aft side. This is something incredible.
Immigrants find it easier to find work than Americans. Strange, isn't it? Here's the thing. America has always attracted the best minds from all over the world, starting with the pilgrims - the most daring, the most risky and the most self-confident went here. Everyone knows that immigrants are hard workers. They came here looking for a better life and will do whatever they can to get their piece of the American Dream. Many Americans are more relaxed, you know, they are accustomed to a good life, it is difficult for them to understand that somewhere there is a war, somewhere they rob people, somewhere people work for $ 300 a month, for them it is simply unrealistic.
The first cars I bought from hands. Spare parts are very cheap, and the work of the master is $ 80-100 per hour. I thought, why am I actually doing this? I went and issued a new car (with preventive maintenance and washing for 5 years and a guarantee for 10 years), then still according to local scales, at crazy percentages - 6% per annum. I take the last cars only on lease, you always drive a new car, preventive maintenance is included, the warranty is 5 years, complete comfort. Something that all Americans love so much.
Cars do not honk here. As my father said: “Listen, I've been here for 3 months and have only heard the signal once. And then you pressed it ”. An exception is the centers of megalopolises, where taxi drivers and visitors are honking.
Cars from last year (2015 models) should be sold only with a rear view camera. She must be included even in the basic package.
6 Traffic lights and driving culture
In Illinois, Wisconsin, Florida and many other states with red light sphetophore can be turned to the right. You just need to skip the stream. When a green light comes on at a traffic light, the cars wait 2 seconds before starting to move.
Driving culture. Imagine rush hour, a 4-way intersection with no traffic lights. There is no regulator. How do the cars go? In turn, which of the 4 was the first on the stop line, passes first, the second - second, etc.
No one is blocking the passage. If the driver sees that he does not have time to slip on the green, he / she does not go to the intersection. There is no flashing green signal, by the way, there is a long yellow one. Chambers are few and always forewarned with appropriate signs.
One of the most important topics is credit history. Let me tell you briefly what it is. If you come to America and stay here, then you need a credit score - the bank's assessment of your creditworthiness. And you can only earn it with years of good payments. Let's say you came to America for the first time with a million dollars, do you know what your credit score will be? Zero. Generally the minimum is 300, but you must be logged in. Because the bank doesn't believe you, it doesn't know where you got so much money from, maybe you stole it or earned dishonestly.
When I arrived, I could not understand how it was. Here I have money, but they do not allow me to rent an apartment. Need, they say, a guarantor with a good credit history.
They didn't rent me an apartment. Well, America is America for that, that you can always find a way out. I found a Russian broker who rented out his Russian friend's apartment to me, only I had to pay 3 months in advance.
8 Life of people with disabilities
I think this topic is very important. And for me, the attitude towards people with disabilities was a complete shock. A person can travel in a wheelchair wherever a pedestrian walks. In public transport - a person in a wheelchair arrives, everyone steps aside, the bus doors open and a special path opens up, along which a person can enter the bus. The same attachments for a private car.
In America, there is a network of incredible amusement parks, absolutely crazy, speed, sensations, etc. I think my condition can be described as a stupor when I saw a man in a wheelchair being brought and put on a train that will now rush from speed 120 km / h upside down. True, some rides are recommended to ride only with both hands. So safer.
9 Vacation and Hospital
Holidays, to be honest, a little. Weekend too. It seems to me such a lafa, as in Baku or Moscow, simply does not happen. Appreciate what you have. When I tell someone that in March they give 8 days off in a row in Baku, I immediately catch a hint of mistrust in the eyes of the interlocutor. Just like that and give? And even from the holiday is not deducted? As I said, you need to work a lot. In companies, the number of weekends varies, but, as a rule, you can say 10 weekends per year and up to hospital 5. We, for example, all together, 15 days, you want pain, you want to rest.
In fact, there is no maternity leave, people sometimes go to work at the maternity hospital and after a week go back to work. You want to eat, and you need to pay rent. You can take vacation at your own expense.
Taking into account the fact that after all after giving birth, you need to come to life, and a small child requires maternal attention, some leave work. Add here dear nannies (boldly $ 2 thousands per month) and understand why often 1 from parents (don't be surprised, sometimes it's dad) stays at home, and the second person has a family.
10 Product Return System
But in America, a great return system of things. Suppose you bought a skirt or suit, put it on several times and suddenly after 2 months you realized that you did not like your purchase. You go to the store and return it, you will be refunded the full amount. I myself practice this very rarely, but I see people who don’t even try on clothes, take 10 sweaters for example, measure everything at home, and those who don’t like it go back to the store.
It comes to the point of absurdity. I will give an example. I went to the department of returning goods and in front of me a person returns a flower in a pot. He says I bought it a few months ago, and it dried up. The girl at the checkout pokes in a completely dry land and politely asks, have you watered it at all? The buyer shrugged, the girl counted out the money.
11 Never in 3 of the year did they turn off neither gas, nor light, nor water
Once they did the prevention of pipes, so during the month of 2 they pre-posted an ad that there would be no water on such and such a day during 2 hours (during working hours!).
Americans love comfort in everything. For example, it's cold or dark outside, and you need an ATM, well, don't get out of the car in such conditions. You drive up to a special ATM, open the car window, withdraw money and leave. If you want to watch a new film and don't want to go to rent (people are law-abiding, they don't download films), you press a button on your TV - and any film is on your screen. You need to take something somewhere or do something, but you have no time and desire, you hire a Task rabbita (messenger) on the Internet, and he will do everything for you for a small fee.
13 "It's Close"
What is “close” for an Azerbaijani? I left the house, crossed the road, bought bread - it's close. What is “close” for an American? This - left the house, got into the car and drove 10 kilometers. In the early days we did not have a car, and when they told me that the bank was here next to the hotel, literally around the corner, I decided to walk to it. The walk took an hour. I drive 7 miles (11 kilometers) to work, which is considered a great deal of luck, it's very close. In general, a distance to work of 20-25 miles (40 km) is considered quite acceptable. For example, they come to our office and from other states, this is already far away.
14 Prices on the contrary
I buy bread for $ 3.20. But, say, bananas, 50 cents per kilogram. Grenades sell by the piece, $ 1.50 apiece. Movies on $ 20-30 discs. Clothing is probably cheaper in 3 than in Baku.
15 There are no stray cats and dogs on the streets
If they are found anywhere, they are immediately given to shelters (orphanages), from where they can be “adopted”. They don't sell them in the store. The adaptation process takes about a week, you fill out an application, then they call your friends or the employer for a recommendation, then they check your address and living conditions. Then a contract is concluded. Usually the animals are spayed. It is not recommended to let cats out on the street. Squirrels and geese roam the streets instead of cats.
For dogs you need to clean up. And the owners are doing it regularly. The dog has done its job, the owner must lift (kulechek in hand, of course) and throw it into the trash. Usually in parks for these wastes separate bins.
16 Internet and television
My provider costs $ 45 per month for the first 12 months. Speed 50MB. After 12 months, providers raise prices, in my case the expected price is $ 79. Works without interruption.
Television is much more expensive than in Baku. Good packages can cost $ 150 and up. Providers know it's expensive, so they offer a holistic approach. For example, the best deal in our area is Internet plus TV and telephone - $ 99 per month, again for the first 12 months. Then the price will be $ 150 and higher. In reality, few people use a landline telephone, since the conversation on cell phones is unlimited. A city phone is needed to connect a home security system, probably, otherwise, they would have outlived themselves long ago.
Will you tell which libraries? Yes, yes, it is the library. Modern, equipped with advanced technology complexes that offer you not only a huge selection of new and classic literature, but also the latest movies and TV shows on blu ray, video games, including PS4 and Xbox One, any music, free English courses, computers and hundreds of others, advice on employment, capital accumulation, purchase of shares, planning for old age, but is it all listed. Huge departments for each topic. Only the department of Russian literature is larger than the library at our university.
Anything that interests you can be ordered online in advance - everything will be collected, written and put in your name. Books for 3 weeks, films and games for a week, can be renewed up to 5 times, again online. Everything is absolutely free. This is one example of how the local authorities distribute the taxes we have paid.
Everyone goes to the library, children are taught from the very young age, on weekends it is sometimes difficult to find a place in the 2-floor parking!
I know a man who moved here, being the age of 65, learned Anlesky and built a career. Like this. At first I was surprised, here goes a woman with me in an elevator, years under 60, a leg in a cast. I ask, how did it happen? I learned to ski. Or I go to buy tickets for food (here you buy tickets at local events, then you pay them), a woman sells them, she is 100, not less, I do not exaggerate. People do not feel out of topic. Our neighbor already almost cannot walk, but she drives by car. By the way, pensioners at the wheel oh how afraid!
Here is another example about medicine. For the third time, our neighbor had a stroke, pumped it out again, in 85 years they learned to walk and talk anew. And all for free.
Immediately give an example, I think it is very indicative. I am watching a film, or rather the Wonder Years series (by the way, I recommend it if you want to better understand the structure of the average American family). April 1970 of the year. One of the main characters of the series (Norma) has lost the checks that were needed for tax reporting and is very worried about this. At the same time in the background on TV report on the problems encountered by the astronauts Apollo XIII. The family begins a crisis over these very receipts, towards the end of the series, all this translates into a serious problem. Norma, weeping, goes to church and returns home sad. Mom, the son asks, did you go to church, prayed that there were checks? Norma looked at him in bewilderment, of course not, says, I was praying for our astronauts.
This leads me to the next item.
Every nation has patriotism here, but it seems to me that no one else has such unity, especially in the face of danger. Take the ill-fated Boston Marathon. Tragedy, to some extent, fear. And what happens next year? Are people afraid to participate? No, the next Boston Marathon is going to a record number of runners in history!
Since high school, many children have tried soft drugs and sometimes get too addicted to it. This is true for both poor and wealthy raions. It seems to me that children are just furious with fat, or it's considered cool, I don't know for sure. Exit 2 - either to send to a private school (they are quite expensive), or to seriously captivate the child with something so that he / she has a hobby or some kind of professional interest, for example, swimming, they can give a scholarship for him.
They encourage children to knock - you can't fight, you can't give change, if you were offended at school, come tell me. If your parents hit you, come tell me (well, you already know what will happen next). On the one hand, this is not our opinion, even my son does not perceive - he was pushed once, he knocked the offender off his feet. On the other hand, it really eliminates some problems, for example, if someone brought a weapon to the classroom, it is better to inform the teacher in advance than to cry later for the whole city.
23 Fitness Clubs
When I first arrived, I often paid attention to advertisements, where it was written that the cost of a visit was $ 0-10 per month. I never got to the advertised ones. We pay $ 120 per month for four. Includes: 2-storey gym, 6-lane pool, kids pool, jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, basketball court, separate women-only gym, bike room and much more. The main thing is that all sections - from kickboxing to yoga - are included (there are 20 of them per day). Visit without any restrictions. There are children's rooms where you can take your angels while their parents build their muscles. I personally saw grandmothers lifting weights more than their own. One of them said she was 75 years old. Nobody hides age here.
24 Drinking Water
Fountains for drinking water are everywhere - in shops, malls, parks, schools, offices in general, everywhere. So that people are not tormented by thirst anywhere. Moreover, if you order water in a restaurant, it will be brought to you free of charge, with ice, of course (people don't drink cold drinks without ice). At first, I thought that was the only way with us, but in a nightclub in Las Vegas, they didn’t charge me for water either.
So the water is free everywhere. From the tap, of course, you can drink water. We, like many in America, still buy water in blocks, 40 bottles for $ 3-4. But many are boycotting it, because water in plastic is harmful, especially if it hits the sun. People prefer to wear sports bottles, you know, with such marks, how much water they have left, and fill them with fountains. Now there are electric meters on some fountainers that count how much plastic people have saved by using them.
25 Wallpaper, curtains and modeling
They are not. The interior of houses is very different from Azerbaijan. There is no wallpaper or curtains. And even sculpturing no. Everywhere there are blinds, and in some houses there is just full-length glass. Blinds are mostly open. There is nothing for people to hide, and no one looks at other people's houses. Houses are made of very light material, if desired, the wall can be pierced with a finger.
It is believed that the house should be at least 2 toilet. My realtor several times asked if I was sure of the chosen house, because there are only 2 toilets in it. I do not know how in other states, but in Illinois it is considered necessary to have a basement, in general it is a basement, but in fact, minus the first floor. Here there are bedrooms, children's playrooms, cabinets, billiard rooms, and bars. Fireplaces are also often set here. Some have huge cinemas in this basement.
26 Price Comparison
If you went to the store and saw, for example, an alarm clock for $ 20, but you know for sure that it costs $ 15 in the store on the other side of the city (you just do not want to go there), show the seller a competitive price (I usually google on the phone and showing him / her the cheapest price), the seller willingly lowers the price of your alarm clock to $ 15. It is very convenient, you do not need to go far or wait for delivery online.
27 Customer Service
If you are unhappy with something, you just have to say about it, how everything will turn around you. Did not like? Change, refund, next purchase is free ... The best customer service I've come across is Amazon. They immediately go to the chat, as soon as you hint about the problem - they will return the money, deliver the goods for free, give a loan, whatever, if only the client is satisfied. I’m even somehow uncomfortable to complain to them.
28 Garage Sales
Every spring and summer, homeowners begin to disassemble their garages. For a year a lot of trash is stuffed in them, because everything that is unnecessary or cannot find a place is often dumped here. And the owner of the house, most often, with his family, begins to disassemble all that has accumulated in the garage. Leaves the necessary, and sorts the unnecessary. Then he opens the door of his garage, puts a chair in front of him and begins to sell off this stuff. The kids of the family appear at once and sell fresh lemonade for 25 or 50 cents.
Usually, for sold children's toys / things, money is given to the children themselves. There are signs along the entire road where garage sales pass; in summer, sometimes they are found at every step. The most amazing thing about all this is the prices! You can buy, for example, a practically new bike for $ 10, new toys in a package for $ 2-3. Whoever is lucky, in the first 2 years I walked a lot, watched, bought, for example, a new blue-ray player for $ 10, a new darts for $ 5, a scooter for $ 3, etc. But then the enthusiasm cooled down, it takes a lot of time, and it is more valuable than the money saved.
29 Holiday prices do not rise
Here, of course, they do not celebrate March 8, but there is, for example, Mother's Day (Mother's Day) when everyone buys flowers for their mothers. The price of flowers will never be overpriced on this day, on the contrary, discounts may be announced in connection with the holiday.
30 Money Happiness
For me it was the most powerful and amazing discovery. Money is needed, no doubt, and everyone is trying to earn it (or beat the state) as much as possible, but they are only a means. Happiness in the little things. You go out and inhale the clean air, you smell the rain and see a rainbow, in the morning you rush to the work you love, and in the evening you rush to the family that is waiting for you.
Happiness is when you see a happy smile on the face of a child who has just rolled from the next “most incredible ride”, when squirrels are waiting for you on the street to get their nuts, when you have happy friends, when you know what's next your parents will come to you for a month, when the colors of nature change with the season. Wherever you are, be happy - happiness is within us, not where you live.
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