The article has been automatically translated into English by Google Translate from Russian and has not been edited.
Переклад цього матеріалу українською мовою з російської було автоматично здійснено сервісом Google Translate, без подальшого редагування тексту.
Bu məqalə Google Translate servisi vasitəsi ilə avtomatik olaraq rus dilindən azərbaycan dilinə tərcümə olunmuşdur. Bundan sonra mətn redaktə edilməmişdir.

Why, after five years in the USA, I am returning to Russia

New York, photo by Irina Khozyainova

A year ago, I did not even think about returning. They say that the first few years are the most difficult, and then you start to rebuild. I was waiting for it to happen to me, everything was trying to somehow explain my rejection, tried to notice and appreciate the dignity of American life. And six months ago, she refused. She stopped fighting with herself. That's why.

I moved to the USA in 2012, enrolling in one of the film schools in California. By this time, I already had the experience of living abroad in several European countries - albeit a short one, but allowing me to consider myself a completely experienced immigrant. I was sure that I had a good idea of ​​the difficulties that were to be faced, that I had enough strength and perseverance, that I was even ready to be a little disappointed when meeting reality. I was sure that, unlike many immigrants, I did not wear rose-colored glasses.

And she was mistaken. Of course she wore them, huge ones with thick glasses. Only they were directed only partly to America. Mostly through glasses I looked at myself, my desires and needs, my strength. Therefore, my most important achievement in 5 years of my life in the USA is that I got to know and understand myself better.

The change took place gradually: the usual emigrant difficulties provoked crises, and thanks to them I learned to tell myself the truth, no matter how unpleasant it might be.

At some point it became clear that what I came for, I really do not need. What can I cope with is not all that I am not so smart and not so experienced. As the euphoria passed, hopes were not justified, the goals changed. At the same time, I learned more about the country and related its capabilities to my new needs.

And about half a year ago came the “X moment”. I realized that it was time to stop torturing myself, accept the country and look for my place in it. Or not accept - and then return.

For the next few months, I doubted, compared, weighed, estimated. And then suddenly I began to tell my friends and acquaintances that I was returning. Probably it was then decided finally.

It will not be easy to refuse some American joys ...

Roads, Toilets, Sinks, Grinding Debris

Living in America is convenient and comfortable even for a minimal income. In Russia, at least for the first time, I will not have half of what I now perceive as a given. And the fireplace is electric, oh ...

Santa Cruz (California), photo by Irina Khozyainova

T-shirts and shorts all year round, ocean, parks, beaches

Over the years, 5 I have seen snow only once, being a tourist in New York. Despite the fact that I was born and raised in Siberia (well, that is why), I didn't miss a single day in the seasons, winter wardrobe and snowmen. Just as in slush, mud, rain, gray skies, wind and ice, spring pop-up “souvenirs” and garbage, garbage, garbage in forests and parks, everywhere. Hmm ...

Hawaii, oh. Oahu. Photo by Irina Khozyainova

A beer with a professor, a beer with a boss, a beer with anyone at all (I'm not drinking ????

It was not easy to get used to communication on equal terms and indifference to ranks and titles, but it will be even harder to break the habit. Now Russian kneeling seems even more hypocritical and humiliating. At a minimum, you will have to learn again to use the form of the personal pronoun “You”, but at the most ... I hope that it will not be necessary.


A sense of security. It is a sensation, because the real situation is ambiguous, because in 5 years in the USA, 2 was robbed by me, 1 was threatened with physical violence, and 1 was deceived for money. And the law could not do anything. And the fact that every madman in his pocket can have a gun does not add to peace of mind.

But despite this, the confidence that you can always turn to this law and rely on a more or less fair attitude creates an illusion of security. It turns out that in order to sleep, this is quite enough.

Shooting of the film “Things that were not told to him”. Photo from the archive of Irina Khozyainova

Now that is more important and what I could not accept ...

Without a piece of paper, you are a bug

Coveted green card. As for many, the residence permit has been my main pain all 5 years. There are few options: win the lottery, become an invaluable specialist, get married or get political asylum. I am not in any of these groups of lucky ones. And look for (significant coughing) “Options”, to live in uncertainty for years, work for lawyers and not be able to travel to Russia…. An American passport is a piece of paper, of course, useful, but in my opinion such sacrifices are not worth it.


At first, the absurdity of prices for elementary medical care provoked an angry protest in me. Apparently, also because in the USA I have neither close friends, nor relatives, and in the “Emergence Contact” column I have to write a non-existent telephone number. Therefore, even with a normal migraine or food poisoning panic covers, and what if “suddenly” .. and stay here in the room until another rent comes.

But after 2, I got used to it, having decided that the insurance was worth it, and expensive, but good medicine is better than free, but bad.

Until I happened to experience it myself and be disappointed again. Medicine in the United States, like everything else, is primarily a business where you need to sell and make a profit. Moreover, it is a fast food business. The goal, in my experience, is not to cure the disease, but to get the person back “on line” as quickly as possible and get more money from the insurance company. Antibiotics are a common measure and they are prescribed, like vitamins, to everyone and everything.

And when it happened to me to watch, as one friend struggled with breast cancer and slightly delve into the “oncological business,” it became altogether terrible. Man is man, of course, a beast, but it is quite some kind of jungle. If I were Beckett, I would have written a play.


DOCTOR (smiles) Sir, how glad I am to see you! How are you?

A PATIENT (in a trembling voice) Doctor, I'm dying.

DOCTOR (smiles) Congratulations sir, you've come to the right place! We have a great offer right now: when buying chemotherapy - a comfortable coffin with a corporate logo - as a gift! (smiles, holds out a booklet).

In fairness, I will say that I leave my chiropractor sorry. Probably a large selection of alternative medicine balances the absurdity of conventional medicine. But in general, it seems to me that in Russia it is easier, faster and cheaper to get to a good specialist. And that such a specialist will treat the disease, and not to sell and not drown out the symptoms.

Non-american dream

Having got acquainted closer with myself, I realized that my vision of self-realization and success and the significance of this measure of happiness in my life is very different from the American one.

America is the land of the rat race. The goal is to acquire the generally accepted symbols of success. Position, million, house, bentley, own business. And better all together. Formally, of course, you can not run - a free country. But in fact, those who do not share the American dream live on the streets, or are saddled runners, barely having time to pay taxes, insurance, rent, loans. So-so freedom, I must say.

Las Vegas. Photo by Irina Khozyainova

In general, capitalism is not close to me. I would very much like to hope that Russia will never become a capitalist country. Money is a necessary thing, it is better to have it. But self-realization is more important to me. My goal is to allow myself lack of purpose.

Creativity, joy from the process, the opportunity to live in their own rhythm and not to run anywhere. And for this I agree never to be a millionaire and not to have many products of civilization, but at the same time I do not agree to live on the street. In Russia, such a balance is easier to arrange, in this respect there is more freedom there than in America.

My dream was not American at all, but I discovered it here.

Great, mighty ...

The word is one of the tools of my creativity and profession. I realized that no matter how fluent I was, English would never be my family. But the worst thing is that for another 5-10 years in emigration, Russian will not be native either. After all, the language lives, changes, it, like a person, needs constant nourishment. Otherwise, it degrades and turns into the familiar "zabukay me appointing pliz". I do not want.

Of course, there are Brodsky, Dovlatov, and other more or less famous authors who have successfully written and are writing in emigration. You can use the services of translators - there are options. Then the only stubborn argument remains: the banal and nostalgic: "oh great, mighty, truthful and free ...".

And Pushkin, and Chekhov, and Tolstoy ...

What incredible national parks in the USA! Their abundance, and how carefully and responsibly Americans treat them, as well as nature in general, is admirable.

But just as America is rich in natural monuments, so is its cultural life. Not quantitatively, but qualitatively. And by quality I mean not the dollar equivalent and entertainment, but the ability to ask questions, reflect, get to the bottom of the matter. Reflection is not common in American culture. This is both good and bad - rather bad for me.

I have not been to many large American cities, such as Chicago, Boston, Washington, where, probably, real cultural life exists. But the fact of the matter is that in the USA it is a luxury, something insignificant, additional, accessible and interesting to a very small circle.

And also in Russia - its own, understandable, close, therefore more interesting. As much as I love jazz, I need a break from it, but not from Russian theater, even modern, decadent.

Smile, this is really annoying to everyone!

No, a smile is much more pleasant than a sullen grin, and its conventionality in American culture does not bother me at all. Both self-confidence and positivity are wonderful traits. Their extreme manifestations, which are more common than I would like, cause a protest in me.

America has all the traits of a teenager: openness, impetuosity, fearlessness, the ability to act - on the one hand, and naivety, idealism, superficiality and, forgive the banality, stupidity - on the other. And although the first qualities are very attractive to me, it is impossible not to pay attention to the second ones.

Hawaii, oh. Oahu. Photos from the archive of Irina Khozyainova

Nostalgia and not only

Yet these causes are just symptoms. America does not suit me in its essence, in its worldview. I just had no idea how important it was before.

America is extroverted, and I am an avid introvert. I have met compatriots who fit perfectly into American culture, and I even envy them a little. I saw those who fit in “not perfectly”, but managed to get used to it and find their place.

But this did not happen to me at all. And I’m sure that if adoption has not happened in 5 years, it will never happen. Well, or let us, as in an unlucky marriage, beat plates and walk to the side, not having the courage to part.

It turns out that the main reason for my return is simple and coincides with the one that 5 led me to move to the US years ago: I just knew that want leave, and now that is right. And despite the difficulties, I don’t regret the decision for a minute. Thanks to America, I met myself and I hope that this acquaintance will grow into something ... big and beautiful :).

The main reason is that I just want come back and feel it right.

Of course, I’m scared to go to a greatly changed country, which for me is not exactly nostalgic, and in 33, I’d start a lot from the beginning. It is terrible to make a mistake and regret.

And reading the news is just scary.

But “I want” inexorably, and it always wins for me.

And then, I still wear glasses. The colors are uncertain and the glass is thinner, but I wear ...

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