4 years in the USA

arrival

4 years ago  as I stepped out of Washington-Dulles airport it was as hot and humid as it is today. Probably even a bit more –  or at least it felt that way: back in 2012 I was used to summers being cold and rainy  crisp and fresh. I had one suitcase, one carry-on, one absolutely shocked cat in a crate, 42 boxes of shipped stuff stuck somewhere between Helsinki and Virginia, many plans, fewer expectations and one huge desire to make this place my new home.

Well, I succeeded. I know that I belong here. It’s a great feeling – you all who made it home away from home must know this. Have I changed much? I don’t think so, but on the other hand I did.

I learned to have a small talk with literally everyone I meet and I no longer freak out when strangers talk to me in the street or in the store.  I got used to huge stores, huge cars, huge houses and huge packages of paper towels. I learned that people can spend a lot of time cruising on the parking lot to get the spot as close to the entrance as possible. I  learned that 450 miles (725km) in one day does not feel like a trip to another universe – rather a trip to New York to catch a show and go back home.

I learned that they say [aiki:a] when they mean Ikea  – and I cannot stand it. I learned the difference between the meat cuts and can tell rib-eye from new-york strip. I learned to eat my steaks rare for that matter. I ate a lot of new food and loved all of it. I learned that tips are a part of the deal and if you don’t tip, you are considered a douche. I agree with it because I know the federal minimum salary.

I learned that happy hour is an important part of the work life. There are days when it’s the most important part of your work life. I am learning that humbleness at work won’t get you far, as “unknown is unpromoted”(c).  I learned first hand what they mean when they say that Americans work a lot. No, strike that… A LOT.  Is it weekend already?

I learned that not all friendships survive distance, even if you were sure as hell that this one would. I learned to move on. I learned that some friendships do survive distance and only become stronger and more profound. I learned that you can make new friends even when you are an adult and I learned to be grateful for all the new friends that entered my life. I learned that the world is even smaller than I thought and you can still hang out with your friends from all over the world regardless of where you live and where they live.

Sometimes looking back I can hardly believe it’s only been 4 years – feels like 14 to me, in a good way. Hope the trend stays:)

P.S. Cat is doing great. She loves it here too.

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