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Six things for which I adore America

Against the background of the Golden Gate Bridge in his 79 birthday. Photo from the personal archive of the author.

Against the background of the Golden Gate Bridge in his 79-th birthday. Photo from the personal archive of the author

When I moved to the United States, all my friends unanimously repeated that my husband and I would not want to go back, because it’s soooo cool there. I still could not understand what is so cool in this America, which is not in my beloved St. Petersburg.

Now two years have passed since the moment of moving, but I tasted all the delights of life in California much earlier. And now I can also say with confidence that it is “so cool!”. Why? Read below.

People

I'm sure you are familiar with the phrase that all Americans have fake smiles. Have you heard this opinion? So do I. As for me, complete garbage. What does fake smile mean? Do they need to put needles under their nails every time so that they smile? Of course not. Or do you expect that friendship to the grave should be behind this smile? Or maybe, after a smile, a random passer-by will immediately give you a safe key on a silver platter? A smile is just a smile.

And I love those smiles! And all these “hello, how are you?”, “You look great,” “have a nice day!”. Seemingly meaningless words, sometimes thrown on the run, but how nice it is to receive them in your address. And it is even more pleasant to say it myself, from the heart, without a gram of any falsehood. I have become so brave here that I can compliment any person and not worry that he will look askance at me or call the police.

In general, in my opinion, it is in the United States that the most affable and benevolent people live. Frowning beeches are also found here, but there are very few of them. Or I'm lucky. Somehow I walk in the winter with a stroller along Lake Tahoe. I was about to cross the road, but the carriage took and got stuck in the snow. I do not go this way and that. And then a black jeep stops in front of me, a man runs out of it and helps me get the stroller out. Am I stunned? Sure!

Or I somehow walk along a deserted street. I hear someone shouting something to someone. I go on, but the cry does not stop. I turn my head to the sidewalk across the street and suddenly realize that they are shouting at me. A woman admires my skirt and shouts compliments at me. Can you imagine that? I had to shout “thank you” to her and tell her that I sewed the skirt myself.

And how many compliments and good wishes my children receive! It's generally something with something. A hundred times a day they hear in their address “oh, how pretty”, “wow, what huge eyes!” etc. By their ten months they are already swimming in the ocean of praises.

All for these very people

In California, the feeling that no matter where I came, everything was taken care of me.

I come to the park, there is parking, and a free toilet with toilet paper, and fountains with drinking water. Do you want to make a barbecue? Here we already have a barbecue - public and free, just have time to put meat on it. Forgot firewood? It doesn't matter, even in the most remote place of the national park there will be a mountain of firewood and a box next to it, in which you will need to put money for firewood.

Redding County National Park. Photo from the personal archive of the author.

Redding County National Park. Photo from the personal archive of the author

Do you want to refinance a car loan? No problem - you don't need to go anywhere, just send us scans of all the papers by e-mail, and the reduced percentage is in your pocket.

And if suddenly, on the road from the next trip, a stone hit your windshield, just call us and we will come to you to fix it. Yes, yes, again you do not need to go anywhere and waste your time. We will change the glass right in the parking lot at your office while you eat lunch.

Car repair at the office parking. Photo from the personal archive of the author.

Car repair at the office parking. Photo from the personal archive of the author

Have you heard about ATMs that you don’t need to get out of the car? Not only is it super-easy, it is also safe. And if you are a mother with two children and you urgently need cash? Yes, on such ATMs need to pray.

Auto ATM. Photo from the personal archive of the author.

Auto ATM. Photo from the personal archive of the author

Service level

I really love St. Petersburg, where I lived, but I got the strong impression that every cashier in it considers himself to be the most important person on the planet. Not to mention the cleaning ladies, who are sure that customers only come to the store to trample. Here, in any supermarket or cafe, in a hospital and a car dealership, they are ready to lick you from head to toe. And although I don't like other people's drooling, getting quality service for honestly earned money is the norm in the United States, not an exception.

Take a simple example. In the shoe store you decided to try on shoes. Summer is in the yard, and you do not have any nylon socks with you. What will happen in Russia? They will indicate to you in a barking tone that it is impossible to measure without marks. Here, at the places of fitting, there is simply a special box with the tracks.

Returning goods is generally the easiest procedure, for which you do not need a passport and a written application. You just come and give it up. And you can do this in most stores within 90 days.

And my favorite moment is the state post office. Mail plays an important role in the lives of Americans. It is by mail that bank cards, passports, driver's licenses, and car numbers are sent here. And the parcels are simply left at the door to the apartment, without even calling it. At the door to the apartment. You don't need to walk anywhere and stand in kilometer-long lines. Letters and postcards can be sent without leaving your home - the mailboxes have a special “outgoing correspondence” window - just drop a letter there, and it will fly to the addressee. Conveniently? Yes, just brilliant.

In the US, they definitely know what is customer focus and loyalty.

Parcel delivery cost $ 1300. Photo from the personal archive of the author.

Parcel delivery cost $ 1300. Photo from the personal archive of the author

Products

I love local grocery stores and markets. A million different types of vegetables and fruits - all of excellent quality and at reasonable prices. Prices are generally a separate issue. Just recently, I was just thinking about how prices have changed over the two years that we have been living here. It turns out that some products have not changed in any way. Cherry tomatoes cost $ 4.99 two years ago and still cost the same. Cherries, as they sold in the 2014 season at $ 9.99 for two pounds, can be bought this year for the same price.

Local meat, especially beef, deserves special praise. In St. Petersburg, we almost never bought beef - it looked more like rubber soles, no matter how hot it was. Here we eat exclusively beef meat - steaks and steaks are made in five minutes and the result is such that you will lick your fingers. Now we make only barbecues from pork in the Russian manner.

Saturday market in San Mateo, California. Photo from the personal archive of the author.

Saturday Market in San Mateo, California. Photo from the personal archive of the author

Non-barrier environment

For just one attitude towards people with disabilities, I am ready to sing the odes of the United States without stopping. This category of the population does not survive, but lives a full life - walks, goes shopping, uses public transport, can visit cinemas, exhibitions, concerts.

Here, on the parking spaces for disabled people, those who have the corresponding badge on the car really park. Many buildings (shopping centers, hospitals, business centers, restaurants, etc.) are equipped with a button, with the help of which the doors open automatically.

All sidewalks are equipped with a special descent that allows you to move freely along the streets, and the approaches to buildings are equipped with ramps. This moment is also very pleasant if you are a mother whose child is in a stroller. Walking does not become a challenge for you to overcome obstacles. Moreover, as a mother of twins, who has far from the narrowest stroller as a vehicle for children, I can note that for nine months I have never had any difficulties in order to enter a building or an elevator.

Photo from the personal archive of the author.

Photo from the personal archive of the author

The ability to travel

I am very sorry that at the time of my stay in Russia, the level of tourism in the country was in its infancy, and even a trip to the city 300 km from St. Petersburg looked more like a survival quest - to overcome a broken highway, spend the night in a hotel with cockroaches and bedbugs, not to get poisoned in local restaurant. The USA has excellent highways and small roads. And although there is often almost no lighting in the form of lanterns on the highway, the markings on the road are perfect and drive safely even in the middle of the night.

Throughout all the tracks there are recreation areas where there are free clean toilets with toilet paper, free fountains with drinking water, tables with benches for snacking.

A night in a hotel anywhere usually costs $ 100-150 - for this money you can always find a normal hotel with a swimming pool. Bank cards are accepted everywhere - you don't need to think about withdrawing cash; tips are also charged off the card.

And American nature deserves a separate post - in the USA you can find mountains, deserts, steppes, forests, and canyons similar to other planets. We go somewhere every weekend and can't run over.

Monument Valley. Photo from the personal archive of the author.

Monument Valley. Photo from the personal archive of the author

Are there any disadvantages for me in the USA? Sure! Be realistic, there are no ideal countries - each has its own pros and cons. For example, in the Pacific Ocean in Northern California, it is almost impossible to swim. The water here is, on average, 14 degrees. I can't even put my feet into such icy water. And what about the prices for renting or buying real estate? It's just a complete ruin!

But for me and my family there are a lot more advantages here. And no matter how we sometimes missed the family and the spirit of St. Petersburg, now our home is here. And we are here very well.

See also:

From the first person. 7 things that annoy me in the US

From the first person. 6 tips for economical shopping in the US

Personal experience: Russian woman on the work of children's doctors in the United States

How to plan for childbirth in America: step by step instructions

Personal experience. How to avoid mistakes when renting a home in the US

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