I have spent almost half a year in America, and to think of it, it looks like just yesterday, when I landed here.
It was not my dream to come here, yes I am being honest. I have passed on many such opportunities, when I was offered to go to another country for work related assignments. Reasons for not doing so were always personal. Never wanted to leave the people I loved behind. To be frank there is no point in going anywhere, be it the best place on earth, if you don’t have the company of your loved ones.
But, this time was different. I am here with my family, and this is what matters.
We all have some preconceived notions about the foreign countries and the people there. I had some too. Western country meant western influences, fast paced busy lifestyle, no family values, less warmth in relations, racism, no respect for elders and blah blah…. It’s a general notion about western countries, that we people from east of the world has. At least I had. Partially have to blame Manoj Bharat Kumar, for making films like “Purab aur Paschim”, etc…. (You can blame anything on media J )
So, I was talking about the preconceived notions. Some of them I feared seems coming true, when I saw the stiff crew of British Airways. Very British. But, that was just the flight or maybe my disturbed sleep in the long flight.
As soon as we changed to American Airlines, we felt the warmth of smiles around us. Since then, I have happy and smiling faces around me. Coming from a country that boast of its friendly culture, I was surprised to see that Americans seems to be much friendlier. Wherever we are, on the road, in a mall, gym, pool, just anywhere, passerby strangers were greeting us with a short Hi and a broad smile. It does feel welcomed, when people are so gracious.
They are not only courteous but helpful too. From our hotel staff who cleaned our room numerous times (courtesy my three messy kids), with a smile on their face. A friend who despite our first meeting helped us out, and drove us to our hotel when we didn’t find any taxi. She even called her daughter, who was actually sleeping peacefully in her home at that time, to help us. Our neighbor, who volunteered to help us in moving our furniture. The gorgeous ladies in the pool, who helped me in my swimming lessons. Even helped me with one of the swim supports and water goggles. Staff at the gym nursery, who look after my kids, changing them, feeding them, singing and playing with them. My old neighbor who gave a parting gift, a beautiful dressing table, to my daughter Tisha. Everyone that I have met here, seems like a friend.
Recently, one of my friend shared her ordeal. She belonged to south of India and thus had hard time making friends here in USA with the north Indians, Punjabis and Gujaratis living here. She told me that non Indians are more friendlier to her then we people who discriminate based on caste and color. It’s sad but true. I could never have realized it, If I won’t have left my country and came to a foreign land, to experience a new culture.
Another thing that I have noticed, is the ease with which you can be just yourself without ever bothering about what others would think of you. Being a girl, I feel good when no one is ogling at me, no matter what I am wearing. I can walk without any passerby making lewd comments at me, or trying to disrobe me with their eyes. It’s a good feeling. Good to feel respected as a girl.
It feels good when people hold doors for you and your kids, even when you have never seen them before. Good to see cars driving slow in the neighborhood. Or people in cars stopping for pedestrians to cross the road, waiting patiently, smiling and waving a friendly hello. Feels good when people ask you, if you gave candies to your kids, before actually sharing them with kids. Feels good, when your neighbors greets every time they saw you, but never impose themselves or intrude in your household matters.
There are so many small things which have made my stay here, wonderful. Surprisingly, most of them had nothing to do with where I am, but with whom I am.
It could be that I have met only good people here or maybe people are really good here, but I am surrounded by nice souls and I am happy about it. 🙂
About, my preconceived notions. Well, now I don’t prefer to go by any kind of notion, am just trying to have my own experiences.
- Letting go of preconceived notions (sageintuition.org)
- Guest Post: Dealing with Stereotypes While Living Abroad (moxacity.com)
- People Dividing People (trangworks.wordpress.com)