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Expectations and Reality: the story of a Russian woman who moved to Seattle

Photo: @karina_kudinova

In the framework of the cycle of Russians who went abroad "Tape»Tells the story of Karina, who settled in the city of the asleep - Seattle.

First experience

I am from St. Petersburg, lived there until 23 years, graduated from the Baltic University. After that, she worked as a marketer in a large Russian digitalAgency, was the head of the department. In 23, I got married, and we decided to go on a honeymoon in America.

Were in my head some ideas about what it is, America. Probably a bit cinema, a little bit romantic. Most of the time we spent in Los Angeles, this is a very controversial and contrasting city. Now I love him, but many people dislike him the first time, and I did not become an exception. It is rather dirty, there are many dysfunctional people, there are tent cities right in the center. Avenue of stars - I only then realized that I had never actually seen her, all the time I only heard about her, that I had opened a star. And when you arrive there - there are half of the stars in the hollows, not sober people walk on the streets, around this avenue of stars a lot of souvenir shops where they almost grab you, ask to buy ten T-shirts for five dollars. Recalled Egypt, it was a strange feeling.

After the honeymoon, I decided that I would never go to this country for anything. We return to St. Petersburg, and literally the next day, my husband is told that we are transferred to Seattle to live and work.

My husband is a programmer. A lot of Russian programmers in the USA work, and he also works in a large company as a developer, in a high position.

Dad was glad - he adores America. Mom was not happy, my grandmother is not even more pleased. The parents of her husband still can not forgive. My dad comes to us all the time, mom enjoys gifts from America, parents of her husband too.

It was difficult at first to live here without friends. In principle, I didn’t really want to move, I had an internal rebellion. I did not want to look for any friends - I am an adult, where will I get them now? You need to go to some online groups like "Russians in America." I had to overpower myself, meet, meet. However, in the end, I found friends not in such groups.

Photo: @karina_kudinova

Organizational issues

In terms of visas, we are very lucky, because the best way to move to America is if the company deals with all these issues. And IT companies in this regard are among the best, because they have done everything. The only thing that we did when we moved was to poke a finger, what to pick up, when the guys came to ship our things. The company paid for everything, provided everything for the first time. Car, apartment rented. By the way, everyone usually asks if the company pays for an apartment. No, they give money for the first month, and then you live on the same rights as other employees of the company - no bonuses.

Work visas are of two types. When you are hired to work in a company for the first time and are being taken abroad - this is not the best option. Such a visa does not give my wife almost any rights at all; she cannot work. And there is a visa that is given when you are already working for this company in another country and you are transferred to the USA - this is our case. My husband already worked for this company in Russia, and he was transferred within the company. So I had a visa that allowed me to apply for a work permit. The company also made a green card for us.

But since I did not wait for the green card, I made the work permit separately. A couple of months came and the green card. This visa is called l-1 for the husband and l-2 for the wife. This, as I understand it, is one of the best options.

The company first gives a choice of several apartments, something like an apartment hotel. We lived there for a month, then moved to a similar plan apart-hotel. Here they all surrender empty, you have to buy the furniture yourself. It can only be removed from a private person, but this is rarely done.

Photo: @karina_kudinova

Profession - marketer

The biggest problem at first was the lack of work. I have always worked, got used to active work. You think that if you are a great specialist, you will be useful everywhere. But, having moved, you understand that nobody needs you here. I thought to go to the same industry - digital-marketing - and, of course, first of all I made a list and wrote to several companies - they say, let me come to you, ready to work for cookies. But no one answers you at all, not even a refusal. And I realized that this is a normal story; everyone except programmers is faced with this. And in marketing, the competition for a place is unreal, especially in Seattle, so they do not respond to emails. They are very polite when you are a client, but when you ask for something you will not interrogate. And until you pick up the courage and do not call - no one will answer. And as long as you do not have local experience, no one writes you and no one will answer.

The way I was looking for a job is a whole epic. Started from the very beginning. At first, she volunteered for the library, then she was a volunteer at one museum, then she became a volunteer at the Academy of Arts. I draw well, took painting classes from them and started to volunteer from them. And then I saw that they had an intern position.

Of course, it’s not very good when in Russia you were the head of the marketing department, and here you become a marketing intern, but I asked for them - and they went to meet me.

They took me when my documents were only made out, which in principle is not entirely legal. That is, here even the interns have to pay, and when I applied to some commercial organizations, they told me that they could not take me because I had no documents. Then at the academy I was promoted to a specialist, and eventually I became their marketing director. And then left. And now I work remotely in a couple of IT companies, doing marketing with an emphasis on content.

When I was still a volunteer in the central library, I got a rather interesting experience. There, I became one of those who started a program in which we taught English to migrants for free or to Americans who needed to pass certain exams. I have been doing this for about two years. It was even a little scary, her hands were sweating, I thought, now they will ask something, which I do not know. In fact, I was the only person there who taught English and was not a native speaker. And I knew how to teach it as a second language. There are many rules that Americans themselves cannot explain. It was interesting when they started coming to me and asking me to explain to someone the difference between the two times. Because one thing is to speak your native language, another thing is to teach it.

Once In A Seattle (@karina_kudinova) on Oct 1, 2017 at 12: 19am PDT

All amenities

In 2017, Seattle became the first city to grow in America in terms of population growth, because so many programmers come here. Here are the offices Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Uber, Facebook. Therefore, housing prices are very overheated. Aparthotels are like apartment buildings, but on the first floor there is an office where people sit.

They take your parcels, if you forgot to turn off the iron - you write an email to them, and they turn it off, they have the keys to all the apartments. If you need to change a light bulb - leave a request, they will do it.

Apart-hotels have various additional features, depending on how much you pay. For example, almost everywhere there is a gym, rooftop barbecue areas, table tennis, a swimming pool. In general, you can live.

The main thing that breaks the heart and wallet when you move here is medicine. Someone will say that everyone knows that in the USA it is expensive, but you will not understand this fully until you pass through these circles of hell. If you have a normal company, most often they give insurance. But we still partially pay for it every month. And besides the fact that you pay for it, when you already come to the doctor, the insurance does not cover part of the amount. And depending on your insurance plans, the amount of payment varies. Americans themselves are shocked by how they got it. That is, no one knows in advance how much he will pay. If there is no insurance, it’s just a quiet horror. God forbid something happens. Our friend was somehow taken away at night in an ambulance, they gave him one shot, and it cost him 12 thousand dollars. And the girlfriend who had the insurance lay on saving for several weeks, and it went into 200 thousand dollars, but the insurance covered 195 with it. That is, they paid five thousand dollars, and it was just happiness.

Photo: @karina_kudinova

Difference mentalities

To me, the difference between Russians and Americans seems huge. Americans like to say that Russians do not smile. Everybody knows it. And everyone knows that in America people smile a lot, they are friendly, friendly with strangers. But in fact, that someone tried to help you - rarely meet. But we are ready to help even unfamiliar people. Despite the fact that they love to smile and say how happy they are, they have a huge percentage of people suffering from chronic depressions. The same Seattle seems to be ranked first or second in America in the number of suicides.

At work, the biggest difference from Russia is not even in how the work between the employer and the subordinate is built, but in relations between employees. Maybe I was lucky in Russia, but everyone was friends with each other there. Here, even if people are of the same age, it is very rare for someone to call someone to drink coffee after work — every man for himself. And this should be known, because if you want to complain to a colleague about the management, this can really be conveyed. It can be in Russia, but here it is even encouraged, it is not considered bad.

Another interesting moment: in Russia it is believed that someone was added to work by acquaintance - this is bad, people are embarrassed about it. Here, on the contrary, it is good.

You are much more likely to get to work if you know someone. Here are referral systems: if your friend is hired from your recommendation, you will also be paid money, and good money. If this is a big company, they pay six thousand dollars for bringing a person to work. Therefore, there are constantly held many meetings on specialties - such as a meeting of marketing analysts, and it is necessary to go to these events, meet people, change business cards. In general, it is very difficult to enter the company from the street, everyone tries to do it through friends, and this is normal.

Seattle is a freedom-loving city, there are many feminists here. Some are very aggressive, and often face stereotypes about the relationship between women and men in Russia. They are sure that in Russia it is considered normal to beat women. Last year there was a bill that the Russian police could not accept calls for domestic violence cases. This information flashed in the local publications, and then everyone decided that Russia had legalized domestic violence. I had to explain that with us this is not considered the norm, that men are accountable before the law for beating women.

They are really afraid to go to Russia - many say that they want to see Petersburg, but scary. It is believed that so far we have wild. Americans, in principle, do not travel much, many outside of America have not traveled. God forbid someone will go to Canada, and if you want to warm up - in Mexico or Hawaii. Many do not even have foreign passports. One American asked how to fly abroad at all. Probably need a passport there? They fly in America driving license, so for them a passport is something from the realm of fiction.

Expectations and Reality

In the cinema they always show that there are a lot of high-rises in America, beautiful people in suits go there, they drink coffee. But in the same Los Angeles tiny penny with these skyscrapers, there you can count them on your fingers. That is, there are no gorgeous views of skyscrapers other than New York. America is nothing like what we saw on TV. I was not ready for this.

We also often imagine that there are a lot of fat people in America, but there are very few of them in the cities, many are running around and playing sports. A lot of fat people in wheelchairs. And even the buses "fall on the belly," so that people can drop in on their wheelchairs.

I was truly amazed by the nature of Seattle. I have not been here before and did not know anything about him except the film Sleepless in Seattle. In fact, it turned out that the city is uniquely located: on the one hand, it’s only two hours to go to the ocean, on the other hand, two hours to the mountains. The city is also called emerald because it is green. And once upon a time Seattle was flooded, and it was raised one level up. That is, there is another city under the city, and there even buses go underground.

Throwback to our trip to Whistler, one of the most breathtaking places I've ever been. Meanwhile I caught a cold for the second time this year. For a good snowboarding season I guess. ★ Today's post I will dedicate to two news — finally, I completed a short video about Whistler. After all, it is better to see once than hear a hundred times. But I still recommend that you first read the material about him, which I published in a blog last month, and only then watch the video in order to see with my own eyes how endless this resort is. - Be sure to watch 2.06 for a minute. There I show the Peak To Peak gondola, which connects the two peaks of Blackcomb and Whistler. Very cool happened. I am not afraid of heights, but even I was a little uneasy. The active link is again in the profile header. - And the second news - an interview with me for Lenta Ru, which I gave just while I was in Wister, was published. Of course, it turned out as a result in some places very concisely, and it’s unusual that someone else wrote, and not me. To be honest, I just wrote to the editor with a proposal to write an article about the USA and travel, but they themselves decided to prepare questions ... in general, read what happened. The link is in the story, but also on the Ribbon Roux while on the main page. - I can not resist and add that the comments deserve special attention. From loved ones, that the father-oligarch bought the company, that in America I do not live, and that the article itself paid. Offensively? Of course not. It just surprises me that for the most part men practice the dexterity of the language. Our strong defenders, elder brothers, MEN. For the time being, I am telling local feminists about what wonderful men in our country are. Shrinking man, but what to do? - And a little bit bitterly because I know so many wonderful and interesting people who would never share their experience, positive emotions and emotions in such large venues because of such sofa-applied wits who are offended in the whole wide world. - But! I want to say the greatest, no, not so, HUGE, thanks to all those who are not lazy and wrote good words. Few people share positive comments, so this is doubly valuable. ❤️ - I have everything, hug.

A post shared by Once Upon A Time In Seattle (@karina_kudinova) on Jan 15, 2018 at 3: 18am PST

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