An average European woman perceives the American reality.
I have the privilege to have my closest friend living in America – my sister.
I’ve had the opportunity to visit many times.
I feel the need to share my impressions about the American lifestyle, just because it provoked in me many different and mixed emotions.
I don’t know where to start – with what I loved or what pushed me away.
And which of the two opposites prevailed.
The one thing I know for sure is that you have to go, see it by yourself and create your own opinion.
When I traveled there for the first 20 years ago – I thought I was going to a place where everything is possible. My first disappointment came thanks to my great expectations. For a person who lived at the peak of socialism, I think it was normal. I was in cultural shock.
First – In America, everything is ‘total and grand.’ Both metaphorically and speaking. Roads buildings, cars, shops, consumption, demands, deliverance, pretend kindness, and you start to wonder from where does it all come? Big country, big things.
Simultaneously, one cannot deny that everything is in service to the people. Everything is almost too tidy. Clean, well structured, modern – all kinds of machines installed for the sole purpose of being easier – so that you don’t make a mistake or find yourself in difficulty. You get bored at some point.
But just now, you remember you cannot get bored being surrounded by people from so many different nationalities. It’s so colorful, and you walk the streets and absorb. Colors and cultures. I love sitting on the road and observing people. It’s a habit of mine, especially when I am in a new place. It’s incredible when you have the time to sit still, no hurry, feeling the atmosphere. America is the only place where you can meet an entire world. Especially in big cities like New York or San Francisco. Every person brings something from his culture and unites it with their kind of lifestyle.
In the metro, you can see almost everything. To sum up – people are staring at their phones, but now and then, there is a woman doing her nails, another one eating yogurt, and to top it off, teenagers with a big boom box in hand, dancing like it’s their last dance for a few dollars.
‘I feel like the metro is my second home!’ – My sister says, laughing. And thinking about it – people spend so much time on the train. Americans are efficient, and there is no time to spare without thinking about whether it’s appropriate to eat yogurt there or what other people would say. They ignore people’s opinions – they do not care if you like it or not.
That is what I need to do now in my life, and I am taking notes.
Oddly enough, at the same time, they are used to following rules. If someone says that, this is what has to happen. Exactly what happens, no questions asked. Precisely from here stems my confusion – the blind following of rules. There is no liking or disliking of a particular thing. There is no questioning of authority. No one cares if you want or do not want to do this. You are there so that you will follow the rules; you are a machine.
Where’s the heart? My favorite topic – important to me. Isn’t that what everybody says, ‘you should follow your heart’?
Hearts suffer there; They’re not free. That is why weed is so popular. Weed – crutches for the soul. On the street dispensers for weed. The relief comes from dulling the brain. When you smoke, you dim your rule-following brain and leave your body to simple sensitivity. Your heart is free. It has its freedom to shine and explore.
For that reason, exactly I think America is the best place to practice soul searching and growth. The location is full of gurus and spiritual guides: supply and demand – simple economics.
The second pillar of my confusion – people are obsessed with eating and shopping. We work all day so that we can pay bills and shop. People get pleasure from acquiring something material. No judgment. I admire the people that have to courage to fight for a better life. Isn’t that what every single person on this planet is? Still, every different person has a different definition of success. In America, success is in the form of the material measured things you own.
It doesn’t matter if you are a bad or a right person; it matters what you own.
I get hungry when I start talking about this topic. Just because I am a worldly human being, just because I need many things, just because I always keep wondering which is better – to work to live or to live to work, it depends on the point of you.
From this, an average American draws his power. He doesn’t think. Someone told him that something is good, and he grew up believing that. He works, shopping smokes weed, and believes that this is what life has to offer. He is successful because he believes that this is true.
Except he has no soul. When there is the soul, and it suffers – it is the worst. A ton of crazy people on the streets with their soul is shouting.
But still, it is a matter of personal choice. Whether you give in to what you will, you follow your path—the path your soul and heart point. You can call it whatever you want – inner motivation, the will to live, what is important to you.
America gives you a choice; after all, it’s the land of infinite possibilities.
It is all up to you.