U.S.- Utterly Speechless | TeenInk

U.S.- Utterly Speechless

August 7, 2015
By ana_chan BRONZE, Oradea, Other
ana_chan BRONZE, Oradea, Other
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
You know nothing, Jon Snow.

''America, the country where dreams come true and opportunities are boundless'' that is the vision that most of the teenagers that have never been there, guide themselves by. I was almost verbally beaten and mentally chased after coming back from the U.S. and answering to the unmatchable welcome-back questions: ''How was it? Did you like it?''.
In the first week back home I was called and messaged by many people (which was to be expected) but surprisingly I only knew less than half of them. Each and every one of them had the same questions for me, questions that I still have no defined answer for. And for the ones that found out on the way, the first thing you could hear was an envious giggle followed by a sight of terror in which they throw imaginary fireballs at me-it is in human nature after all. As if the context in which I traveled was not enough they continued asking mercilessly. I presumed it would be enough to say 'It was an unforgettable experience', but oh, was I wrong! 
After different trials with saying the truth, I created a mesmerizing technique that I am kindly going to share now. Make long phrases with short pauses and be sure to include unimportant details, always use neutral words when describing a feeling or experience you've had and never even think of any insulting word, just do it with as much subtlety as possible. And now, as an example I will share the pitch tone I used in every friendly discussion I had about myself: 'Oh, it was quite an experience! Imagining it, was something, but seeing and feeling, it was the other way around! The flight killed my enthusiasm, but it all went well after arriving. Just think that even the highways were an attraction at the beginning. And not to say about the food, such a diversity gained me some extra kilos, but wait until i tell you about the sights! Also, the shops, they look like in the movies, they had an individual shop for any unimportant thing you could ever want. After accommodating we went to the beach, oh was it nice!'' And so I said nothing while making everyone feel good and not make them throw rocks at me for sharing my half-unpleasant journey.
Only after pleasing everyone with countless and unimportant words have I realised that it was so big of an experience that the people around would live it through me, mostly the ones that know it is just an untouchable dream for them. Cleaning up my thoughts it made me think of all the good and bad times I had there and that understanding is the most important thing I should've used there.
I had a big cultural shock when I stepped on American ground and there was no one to help me through it and that might also have been a factor of my unsatisfied self. Also, I realised through this journey how misleading can be some words, as were mine to the giggling girls that only wanted to hear the good parts. But then meeting all kinds of people and sharing my experience I had part of some understanding and was asked at some point about the bad sides of Great America. Those kind of questions left me speechless at first, I was not satisfied with my trip yet I did not know why. Looking back and trying to flashback all the moments that stole my confidence and my smile I realised they were all centered around people that I met, friends that I made, not places I visited and meals I've eaten or money I spent.
It is much true that when you visit the country you encounter its people and they would not stop you from enjoying the trip, but as you live in a family and deal with the people from the moment you wake up til your bedtime it is indeed unpleasant to not have a good company. You change meaningfully or you change gracefully, there is no state in which you remain the same as you become frustrated and you fall, and that is a cultural shock that scars you instead of marking you. A cultural shock defines the person you are and gives you the understanding you need to embrace and not to hold on to.
Think of the process of 'cultural shock' as a step for the change. Imagine you have your yellow sunglasses and your backpack that contains every tradition you assimilated from your country, the language you speak and the shapes you see. You are thrown into this culture and you see everyone else wearing blue sunglasses and different backpacks, at first it is hard for you to see it, but for them their blue eyeglasses are normal and your yellow ones are different which may be a factor of your shock. The way that you change gracefully is actually how slow and with attention you put things in your backpack, without taking out anything or making it too hard to carry.
And as for your glasses, do not worry, you will gradually be able to reach a green-yellow and leaning for the green you see the harmony and the true understanding. Experiencing cultural shock is life-changing so stop thinking of it as a hindrance, embrace what you see and make it part of you.

The author's comments:

What are the mistakes you could do when experimenting a cultural shock?

One way or another you have an inside break-out, either with small and unconcious changes or big and emotional ones, they are always present and sooner or later you feel the marks spreading and defining you. I am not much into story telling here, but mostly on the after effects and how to deal with them.

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