The story of a Kazan resident who moved to the state of Utah
Russian site lenta.ru continues the series of materials about compatriots who left Russia and went abroad. This time the edition writes about the history of Vlas Lezin, who emigrated from Russia to the USA.
Laying the foundation
I moved to the USA from Kazan 11 years ago, an 17-year-old guy. He first lived in Maryland with his parents, then he studied in Utah and worked in New York, and now he moved back to Salt Lake City. Before leaving, I studied for six months at the Kazan Aviation Institute (I graduated from school in 15 years), and at the same time I was professionally engaged in swimming.
My father was engaged in scientific activities, and thanks to his research, we did not have any problems with documents. I have two local education: computer engineering and programming, and also I am a master of finance. The university has given me a good scholarship for my sporting achievements.
In New York, I met my wife from Moscow. She entered the Faculty of Fundamental Medicine, Moscow State University, transferred to the United States after the second year. Three years ago, we had a son.
For about five years I have been working in a large investment bank and have been dealing with credit derivatives. By the way, this is one of the investment banks, which is described in the movie "The game for a slide." My task is to ensure that what happened in 2008 never recurs. The fact that I am a guest and speak with a slight accent does not affect my professional progress and relationships with people.
Managed to explore
As a child of American films, I had a glimpse of the United States as a country of skyscrapers. In fact, here, mainly one-story buildings. The first city where I lived - Frederick in Maryland - reminds me very much of Pushchino in the Moscow region: a green science campus.
New York in terms of pace, human relations and internal tensions resembles Moscow. Of course, it is more fashionable and dynamic, but at the same time more dirty, stuffy and less green. But these two megacities are very similar to each other.
Surrounded by mountains of Salt Lake City struck me.
According to my wife and her relatives, it is very similar to Alma-Ata, because it is also delineated by squares of streets and is located in the valley. In terms of nature, this is an amazing place. There are many parks, geysers, lakes, wildlife, deserts and rocks within a few hours by car.
Nearby is the Great Salt Lake. You can drive away from the city for an hour - and you are already in the woods or in the mountains, barbecuing in nature.
What amazes me in the US, I can explain with the example of San Francisco: real estate in some areas has transcendental prices. At the same time, two blocks from expensive streets you can stumble upon a full ghetto - people sleep on mattresses, hangouts and so on. The same situation was in 2008 year in DC (Washington). Upon arrival, I was horrified by the pool in the immediate vicinity of the Capitol: overgrown with mud, dirty, with silt at the bottom.
Americans do not particularly bother with such things. They are very conscientious people, friendly and hardworking, but not in this. If you compare the locals with the Europeans, then there is no snobbery or chauvinism in the Americans. Even if you do not understand something, they will not mock you. Local very friendly receive visitors. Again, people are different, but I am talking about my environment, because the general environment has a strong effect.
At the same time, Americans who live here are not in the first generation, even with good pronunciation, it is easy to calculate the visitor. The point is the value system, mindset, mentality. Depending on how you have integrated into the culture, or, on where your childhood passed, the “friend-foe” relationship is formed.
Labor is life
In the US, most people’s lives are extremely structured and occur according to a certain system, which in some respects has no alternative: it’s almost impossible to go against it.
Americans live well because they work a lot and pay a lot of taxes. When I worked in New York, where everyone gets 80 to 100 hours a week for this, it was difficult to regain a sense of reality. Roughly speaking, you sleep for seven hours, and you give the rest of the time to work. At the same time, my general taxes were 42 percent plus sales tax (about 9 percent) - as a result, you give half of the income to the state.
Of course, I sometimes get tired of such employment, but it is saved by the fact that you are not alone in this boat. Here everyone is working so hard, a culture is built on this. True, in recent years, the number of working hours has been reduced to 50-60 hours per week.
In the US, a very strong stratification of society. For example, all schools, teachers' salaries, equipment are supported by the parents of students and the real estate tax. It becomes clear that everything else depends on the average standard of living in the area. Children from safe places go to good schools, then go to the appropriate universities, and so on. If you are from a disadvantaged area, it is extremely difficult for you to get out of there.
When you start earning money in the United States, you realize that a certain standard of living requires you to spend and think about the quality of the place and your environment. I can call it natural segregation.
Of course, this also affects children. They understand very clearly how the social elevator works. Among my acquaintances there are people who, being “coming from” disadvantaged families, were able to break through: they studied well and entered the relevant universities. But this is rather an exception to the rule. As I already said, the problem of the ghetto is tied precisely to the fact that it is very difficult to leave there. In Russia, moving to the upper social class is also difficult, but more achievable.
Recently I saw statistics on which more than 50 percent of children from public schools (private educational institutions are very developed here) are below the poverty line. One way or another, they get state aid. Over time, this only intensifies and affects the overall social mobility.
There are no free kindergartens, the price tag starts from a thousand dollars a month, and this is not the most expensive place. So, not all children go to kindergartens. This also affects the future life of children and forms the environment.
The reality is very different from what people imagine. The same Mark Zuckerberg (founder of the social networking site Facebook) for many is a regular guy in a t-shirt and jeans who has managed to make a fortune. But we must not forget that he is from a wealthy family, went to the most expensive private school in the USA and studied at Harvard.
USA, Russia and the ROC
The main “Russian” center for our family here is the Russian Orthodox Church. Thanks to her, we have formed a circle of acquaintances with whom we constantly communicate: we celebrate the New Year together, celebrate May 9 and so on. So, we try to maintain relations with the Russian-speaking diaspora. And we try to help ours whenever possible.
In my environment there are several examples when a person who came here gets a job as a waiter, works in two places, goes to college - in general, is activated. When you do not have a life buoy at sea, you have to swim. I know people who have had serious problems with language, documents, money and secondary education, but who, having come here, achieve a lot. Why they could not do this in their own country is a mystery to me. You only need to work a lot and in good faith - and everything will turn out.
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