The article has been automatically translated into English by Google Translate from Russian and has not been edited.

"As if she got into the USSR": Ukrainian woman told about her life in the USA


Source: Today.Lifestyle

A year and a half ago, a Ukrainian from Lutsk, Nastya Boen, traveled to Anchorage (USA) for a few months under a program of cultural exchanges. But the temporary journey unexpectedly changed the whole life of the girl: over the ocean, she found her love. Ukrainka in an interview with the site Today.Lifestyle spoke about her experience of living in America. We publish an abbreviated version of the material.

Ukrainian in the USA. Photo:

- How did you get to the USA?

- I got to America thanks to the program Aupair - I went there to work as a nanny. But it so happened that I met a guy, fell in love and got married. With Jace - my future husband - we met on one of the first days of my stay there. I walked around the center of Anchorage, looking for where to sign up for the gym. I wrote out several addresses on the Internet, but one institution did not indicate the prices, so I decided to go and see what was there and what. I come to them, and it is so beautiful there and there are separate rooms only for women ... At first I was “redirected” several times - go there, then here and back. But, in the end, I ended up in an office where new clients are actually registered. There was only one worker there - my future husband Jace Jacob Boen.

We met and started talking. He says: "You have such an interesting accent, where are you from?" I say that from Ukraine. He knew that there was such a country in the world, but nothing else. Then he asked about the national currency. I showed him 50 hryvnia. I don't know why, but he wanted to buy them from me. I asked about the course ... and then it was about two dollars, but he gave me five. I thought so: for a long time the course was not so profitable. In short, we spent a total of five hours talking that day. Then we exchanged business cards, and I left. Already at home I thought about everything, counted the money and decided that this gym was too expensive for me. I called to cancel the subscription. Well, he said "ok", and then a week later he wrote to me: they say, let's go to coffee somehow. So we started walking, dating. And after a few months they got married.

- What struck you in America?

- Huge distances. With us, if you go somewhere, there are always people around, minibuses go. That is, you can drive up at any time if you are tired. There is no such thing here - in some directions transport does not travel at all or travels very rarely. Sometimes even in the city you have to go through the forest. I was also struck by the fact that each business has its own building: a bank - separately, a cafe - separately, a store - separately. That is, there are few such complexes where everything is together.

- Are there really ideal roads and services in the USA?

- Service industry - yes. It happened that she brought torn jeans to the store. The sellers allowed me to choose another product for this amount (the cost of jeans) ... But there is a problem with the roads in Alaska. When I was in Houston, there is still nothing. And here the snow is melting and with it the road. Maybe they just do not have time to repair because of the huge areas. I saw that in the summer there was a large-scale reconstruction - all the roads were being repaired at a rapid pace. They pay high taxes for this. But right now there are big holes on the highways, and this is bad: you drive at speed and you cannot stop, because there are many cars behind you, but you risk falling into some kind of puddle.

- Are the products tasty there or not?

- Very tasteless! They add various additives and emulsifiers to the dishes for flavor. Because of this, you constantly want to eat. Although when you buy food yourself, they are not at all: vegetables, fruits, even potatoes are tasteless. Kiwi, for example, is not sour and juicy, very large in size. Bread is like a sponge: you can squeeze it in your fist, and after a few seconds it takes on the desired shape again. Of course, there are special bakeries where the bread is good, but few people go there, because it takes a lot of time.

- Did you say that it reminds you of the Soviet Union?

- There is such an impression! Everything is the same - food and even clothing. As if I got to the Soviet Union. And although I have never lived there, I seem to have moved in now.

“You said that it’s always better to smile there. Why?

- First, because everyone is smiling at you. And this, you must admit, looks a little strange when you walk gloomy.

It is allowed to carry guns here, and everyone is alarmed if you do not smile. They might think that you thought of something there. Therefore, it is better to smile - nothing bad will happen to you.

- Is it true that moose and bears walk around the city in Alaska?

- Yes, but not around the city, but on the outskirts. At least that's the case in Anchorage, the largest city in Alaska. And already in smaller cities of the state, bears can climb into the house. There are a lot of moose, so in the evenings it is scary to walk alone.

- And what if you meet a bear on the street?

- We need to raise our hands and sing loudly - to show that you are also a predator, not a prey. But usually bears attack only if it is necessary to protect the offspring, but moose can. In general, there is no point in running away from bears. They run very fast. Also, you do not need to climb trees or anywhere else, because they will reach anyway. We must stamp our feet and pray ...

- Are people living in Alaska paid extra?

- Yes, but these are not really additional payments, but dividends for the Americans who live here permanently - at least three years. They are paid once a year from one to two thousand dollars. That is, if there are five children in a family, everyone will receive money.

- What is the average salary there?

- Seems like the minimum wage is $ 9,5 an hour. It turns out somewhere around $ 1600 a month. While you can easily get $ 15 an hour, then you get more in a month.

- What do you spend the most money on?

- A little over a thousand dollars is spent on renting an apartment.

- How much do you pay for a communal apartment?

- Communal is relatively inexpensive. We have electric heating - we pay 70 dollars. Phone connection costs, for example, 60 dollars - the first number, the second - 35, the third - 25. If you want high-quality Internet - pay extra. In general, almost all Americans live on loans. It's safer and easier for them to do this than ours.

- Is it realistic to save money from your salary?

- Realistically, especially if the husband and wife work in the family. Although a lot also depends on what you eat, what you buy. I think $ 500 can be put aside.

- What myths about America and Americans can you refute?

- I heard that Americans are all very rich. In fact, this is not the case. There are many beggars here. But if a person tries, wants to achieve something in life, then you can earn both for an apartment and for a car. For example, my husband's grandfather worked at a construction site. He had such a contract that he worked for six months, but not for six months. But a person lives comfortably for himself and does not deny himself anything. I recently flew to Mexico. That is, whoever wants, he earns. It seems to me that it is the same in any country ... I know that people who clean snow are paid quite well - $ 40 / hour. Although there is not always snow - this is the first, and secondly, such work is designed for a certain number of hours - two or three a day, then that's it - look for another part-time job.

- Is it true that you can buy a car from one salary?

- I think yes. You can buy a used car, because few people take new ones here. There are very cheap cars, but they need to be repaired. You can find budget options even for $ 20-40. Well, yes, it will be "killed tarandeyka", but still. Already for 400 dollars you can buy an absolutely normal car, and for two thousand - a "peach".

- What else surprised you there?

- Yes, every day something surprises. Sometimes I say a phrase, for example, “you are like Don Quixote,” but they don’t know who it is. They don't read. And even those who study literature at the university know only a separate period - French literature of the 17th century, for example. Americans do not know their classics, the same Dreiser ... It’s a little strange for me, we all start from the sixth grade. That is, in this regard, they are less educated and very narrow-profile. If you are an anesthesiologist, then you know nothing else. And suddenly someone has a broken arm, then such a specialist will not even be able to tell you what happened. As for me, this is strange.

- Are ordinary Americans sincere people?

- They will always help. If you are crying, they will come up and ask if you are doing well. It happens with us that they just pass by.

I remember I once had a flat tire in my car. The man who was driving behind me, signaled, I stopped, and he helped me to remount everything.

In addition, they are very open to other people. They are really interested in what is happening in your life. Although the people there are different, as elsewhere.

- What advice can you give to a person who travels to the USA for the first time?

- Just enjoy! Don't be afraid to speak English. I was very worried about my accent. I thought they wouldn't understand me, but on the contrary, they love it. If you don't know something - ask. They will always prompt and help you. They will even give money - I've had such things!

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