Personal experience. How America changed me
Soon it will be 3 years since I moved to California. In a past life, I lived in a city with a population of one million, worked in a managerial position in 2 jobs at the same time and thought about how my husband and I could go on a trip to Asia for several months. Since then, my life has changed a lot. I live in a small town in Silicon Valley in the role of a housewife raising 2 year old children and wondering if it is not dangerous for us to go to Brazil with the whole crowd. My life has changed a lot. And America "had a hand in this."
At first I fell in love with small talk
In our St. Petersburg 12-storey building, it was not customary to communicate with neighbors. But I was always the first to greet each other in the elevator and wondered why people were embarrassed by elementary politeness. Now I chat with my neighbors to the right and to the left - about children, wallets lost in the corridor and the upcoming events that are outlined in our "central square". I can easily compliment a complete stranger and exchange impressions of the last movie I watched with the cashier in the supermarket.
Small talk culture has become a habit, and it's definitely a useful skill. And very pleasant: wishing each other a “good day” is like exchanging positive vibes. And yes, I'm the type of person who doesn't believe that all American smiles are fake.
And got used to answering machines
Although at first I was terribly mad when I heard "leave your message after the dial tone." And she never left anything. Because if I call a person, I want to talk to him. I want to discuss something and maybe make a decision right away. And talking with emptiness is somehow not very good.
But now I appreciate all the convenience of this function. Because it really saves time on empty talk. For example, I handed over the camera for repair and when they called me to inform that it was ready, I could not answer the phone. And I saw the missed call after the working day of the repair shop was over. And now, if there was no answering machine, I would have sat and wondered why they called me - to say that the camera was repaired or that the parts needed for repair did not come. And so I listened to their message that the repair was completed and the camera could be taken away, and was able to plan the next day the day before.
Became an exemplary driver
In St. Petersburg, I was a very aggressive driver. Every day, traveling on the road, I understood that I, or me. Therefore, I did not hesitate to press the horn as often as I wanted, and screamed curses at those who, in my opinion, were behaving inappropriately on the road. Not that I violated the rules of the road, but in big cities the rules for survival on the road are slightly different from official sources.
And literally 2 a month after moving to California, I stopped waiting on the roads for situations in which I would have to fight. I relaxed, leaned back on the seat, stopped squeezing the steering wheel to white knuckles and loved driving along (mostly) ideal roads even more.
I, too, like everyone else, skip cars ahead of myself, without thinking “where are you going, dear?”. In fact, they also let me through if I suddenly gape or did not orientate myself on the new road.
I became more relaxed
I have always taken life very lightly and, probably, with this attitude I deserved the opportunity to live in another very cool country. I easily packed 2 suitcases and crossed the ocean. I didn't feel any “withdrawal” and just started living my life. I am not bothered by the public washing machines in the residential complex, and I am glad to the huge number of people from different countries gathered in California.
I am happy that the dog lovers here are cleaning up their pets on the streets, and therefore my children and I can flop on the first lawn.
We walk along the streets past the houses of local residents, writing stories about who among them is doing what, and at the same time we admire houses rather than tall fences. Some of the tenants of these houses, seeing us, throw their affairs in the garage and are suitable to chat, mainly about children. I am not ashamed to ask me to wrap the leftovers with me, worrying about what they think of me. We, like the locals, have learned to sit on the ground and wherever it pleases. And yes, the local lawns in the parks are designed for this purpose.
I got a credit card. Several credit cards
I have never had a credit card in my life.
And I have always believed that credit cards are for those who do not know how to handle money correctly. But the financial culture of another country left no choice, and the first credit card settled in my wallet. Then the second. And another one. And even a credit card that was issued to me in a clothing store.
Well, here I am guilty myself, because I could not understand that it is exactly the credit card I am offered to issue, I thought they give me a regular customer card. But experience is experience. Thank God that we track the balance on all these cards is the husband, and he also set up automatic payments.
I started going to the library again.
Ooooh, local libraries are something with something, and they can be devoted to a separate post. I started going there when my children were about 8 months old. In the children's room, they could play with the toys available there, look at books for the little ones, plus I read them the books I wanted myself.
The library saved us a lot on rainy days, we always “walked” there in such cases. Plus, sometimes they got to local entertainment events - children's free music lessons.
And for adults, the library is a place where it is pleasant to go both for books and for lectures. This is a culture long forgotten by me, which I remember with great pleasure.
I'm starting to forget what cats look like.
And I'm kidding that my kids won't know that. Because in 2,5 years of my life here I have seen cats on the street 3 times, and my children in 16 months - only once. Yes, I believe. But we meet deer at least once a week.
You know, it seems to me that someone up there knows better than us where we need to be. Now I am happy as ever to live in a small town. Of course, I miss Petersburg and its seething life, but now I feel too good here, and I don’t want to return to the stone jungle for anything. I want to live in an apartment on the highest 3 floor and know that my parking space is always free. I want to go when I want to go to the pool in the courtyard and spend only 30 minutes on the way to the ocean. And who knows how much I will change for another year so through 3.
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