Prefix: I shalt be burnt at the stake for putting “‘Murica” in quotation marks.
Well, here I am. It’s almost the end of 2013, marking my one year stay here so far at the US of A. The word “‘Murica” is used as ironically as “420blazeit”, “yolo”, “literally”, “trolling” and “pcgamingmasterace”; in which case I mean nobody knows where to draw the line and it’s just kind of there. Well I’ve heard a lot of America before I came here. They drop a lot of bombs, make a lot of fast food and house a lot of fat people. The image is well deserved, mind you, but shallow at best.
Call me ignorant if you must, but I have no clue as to how varied one place in this country can be to the next. Perhaps because of the 300 million count. Perhaps because the land is wide and the mind is limited. Whichever way, my journey so far in freedom land has come up much more exciting that I have anticipated beforehand. Before arriving, I had little doubt that I would fit just fine with the climate of society in America, much more than where I come from, that’s for a fact. Mostly, that was an accurate presumption. Landing with barely a dollar to my name and tons of luggages, as well as baggages, I set out to figure out just how correct the stereotypes I heard of was. That was a year ago; and as I’m moving in a few days, I feel this should be a good time to wrap up my thoughts of this place so far. There are a lot of things I didn’t know before staying here, naturally. I had no idea how taxes are handled, what attitude my place of living would most likely resembles, the implications of my judgement and actions, forward and backward. Finding out those things were fun, albeit disappointing at times. What I knew of America before was just that, a group. I openly dislike groups, because it’s an umbrella for times of convenience, and a barrier otherwise. As I started a different life here, I got to know people. Living, breathing people with different looks, class, race, gender, sexual orientation, and character. Every single one of them is unique. Some of them I enjoyed socializing with, most of them I didn’t. Still, I questioned myself: if I were to leave right now, what would I remember the US as? Would it be what television, history books and the internet has told me it is or represents, or as a collective whole of those people I’ve seen, talked to and shared a laugh with? I realize that this question could be extended to any country, but I’m not here to educate. I am here to present my answer though: both.
Obviously so, in fact, that while I would no doubt associate the many distinctive faces I’ve come over during the past year with my image of the country, the country itself is also full of entities. I could call them “groups”, as it would fit per definition, at least for now, but that doesn’t dissuade the fact that none of those things are human beings. They are inhuman, taking different forms and jobs, but still a part of the land as a whole. Aspects of culture also crawl up as particularly memorable, as I would no doubt go over them later. Note that all of these statements are based on my personal empirical experience, rather than assumptions and conjectures. They should prove quite obvious to those who are particularly knowledgeable and closely observing, so I doubt there exists many outcries in result of me stating these. The general public holds really poor taste, as exhibited through radio and television, and sports, I suppose. Mass media is a giant joke, as its focus sits upon the numbers and trends rather than news and public service. Materials are general accessible, but all service are overpriced due to low standards (this holds especially true to the internet). Giant greedy entities are free to strip the nation of its earnings without a single care in the world. The constitution, while brilliant and ahead of its times, slowly fade into political speeches and fanfares rather than ideals and actions. Inconsiderate tipping is very much a thing, as I’ve expected, and is one of the most glaring faults that drive me away from restaurants. I know what you’ll say: “but the servers need those money to live”, after which I’d say that the money, which is already unreasonable, that I pay for the meal I just ate should go towards paying the servers as well, like any reasonable business where it’s the employers who’re to provide decent salary to their employers, god forbid. I don’t even dislike tipping, but I do it in a much more discrete manner. It’s treated as the little bit of extra money I give to someone should I feel their service offered deserving. If I see a constant smile, polite language and a helpful attitude, I don’t mind paying a few extra percent. However, no one should get a tip for standing erect and pushing the muffin a little bit to the side. The food here is rather dreadful at many points as well, as everything needs to be soaked in sauce and/or dressing or else people would actually figure what tasteless food they’re eating. Also this is a place where lime beer is an acceptable form of alcohol; and everyone drinks decaf coffee. As far as I’m concerned, they might as well be drinking milk. Many pet peeves exist as well: how biscuits are called “cookies”, football is called “soccer”; how everything is calculated in miles, Fahrenheit and gallons instead of metres, Celsius and litres; how more people play League of Legends than baseball; how nobody ever shows up on time, and how every public opinion is hypocritical.
But I digress.
I haven’t left yet. The country and its people, despite the numerous flaws and twisted views, is still worth exploring. It’s the sheer tenacity of the draw of the dream that keeps me invested. I won’t lie, this past year has been one of the best periods of my life, and I have this country to thank for it. I could spot the hint of something great, of a once proud nation standing atop the pillars of the world, leading the way of freedom and progress. Such greatness can be reclaimed, to pave way for a new generation of leaders and innovators, to create a better world for all. Still, I couldn’t care less. After all, I’m but a mere observer, a single lonely soul swallowed into this giant melting pot of drowned out voices and broken dreams. All around me are the fates of people, no single one alike, but equally meaningless in the grand outlook. Each with their own goal and expectations, looking in at the life they’ve been given, and trying their hardest to brave reality. I, of course, am in the same situation.
The difference is, I look out.
The image is a flag with a caption, you figure who it belongs to.