Actress, screenwriter and producer Zhenya Tanaeva moved to the United States for her dream more than ten years ago - with two children. Many difficulties awaited her, but she was able to take her place under the Californian sun. "Lenta.ru report»Publishes her story about life in America.
Behind the American Dream
Eleven years ago, when I just divorced my husband, and my daughters were three and five years old, we went to America. What pushed me? There were several reasons, but first of all I was going for a dream - to make a film in Hollywood. And I succeeded - now I am preparing for the world premiere of my debut film “See you soon”.
I also wanted to give my children additional opportunities: good knowledge of English, education and freedom of movement around the world.
Then with a visa was a lot of difficulties. At first I got it for myself - friends helped with the invitation. When my visa was ready, I managed to get it for girls. Initially, we were going to go only for the summer and then decide whether to stay there or go back. I had no idea what awaits me in this country, what the girls will be like, how we will settle down. But having been there for a couple of months, I decided - we stay!
Expectations - Reality
Before moving to America, I have already been there several times, so I had an idea about the country. She seemed clean, comfortable, cool. But, when moving to another country, it is very important to understand - my favorite phrase here is “don't confuse tourism with emigration”. And this is absolutely true. When we come on vacation - we enjoy the sights and enjoy the trip. We lie on the beach, go on excursions, enjoy the flavor of local cuisine, and when we begin to live there, everything is completely different. Therefore, during the first trips, life in America seemed easier and more rosy than it turned out to be in practice.
The very first time in America was easy for me, because everything was new, it was necessary to organize life. I then rented a house, my daughters had to find a kindergarten, get different documents, find out which shops are where. I was absorbed in these matters and enjoyed doing them. And then, when the first wave of joy and anticipation of a miracle was gone, it became more difficult. Various nuances came to the fore ...
Questions concerning medicine have become one of the most difficult. Living in Russia, we can always call the doctor, call him at home, go to the pharmacy and buy medicines. If a child is sick and I know how to treat him, I can go and buy everything I need without a referral or prescription. In America, this is impossible. No doctors come to your home, only if you are ready to die, then an ambulance arrives.
But if you call her, the police car comes with her. According to American law, if you receive such a call, then you are obliged to send the police, who must make sure that no one has caused you any physical harm. If, say, you have a temperature of 39,5 and you want the doctor to see you, write out the correct treatment, then you need to understand that an ambulance will arrive, but first you will deal with the police. They can tell you: “Well, you are being treated,” or they can take you to the hospital, to the emergency room.
There, too, you can get stuck for a long time, because those who are not dying, sit there in a long and long line, while they bring everyone who is in serious condition - after accidents or with heart attacks. And if you just make an appointment with a doctor ... Suppose today is Friday and you call your pediatrician doctor, say: “My child has a temperature of 39, my throat and ear are very sore”. Answer: "Either call an ambulance, or the next entry on Wednesday in 16.30." So it works.
It was also very difficult for me because no medication can be bought without a prescription. For such moments I adapted for a long time. The same with kindergartens. For example, in Russia, a kindergarten is a daytime sleep in cribs, soup, compote, chops for lunch. There is no such thing. Every child brings their own lunch. A sandwich or something else, then they take out the rugs and in the same place where they just ran, they all sleep right on the floor - such a quiet hour. Of course, I was anxious and unusual. But nothing, with time and with this, we also figured out.
What does Hollywood eat?
On the one hand, in America there is a huge choice of products, but not everything is so simple. There are two extremes in the States. The first (unfortunately, most people fall into it) is unhealthy food, and this is not necessarily McDonald’s. Often children are fed very wrongly. For example, a mother gives a child a loaf smeared with peanut butter, from above - jam and another piece of bread. This is a dinner given to children in school or in kindergarten. For us, this is wildness! For example, I will give my children a thermos with a soup with meatballs, some patty, compote, berries in a box. They have no such thing at all. Mom can cook burgers, they rarely eat soups. And the whole thing is washed down with Coca-Cola. As a result of this attitude to nutrition, according to statistics, 75 percent of Americans are obese or overweight, of which 75 percent are children.
It seems to me that this is a very alarming statistic that speaks of unhealthy eating habits; we, it is true, have also been showing up lately. And all the drinks there are drinking with ice. You come to a restaurant: for breakfast and before accepting an order, they put in front of you a big glass with ice and fill it with water. How can I drink it, I do not know. That is, it is filled to the brim with ice - the water is just ice. In restaurants, I saw a child sitting in a highchair and mom and dad having lunch. The child spin the bottle and ask the waiter to bring ice, throw it there. Russian moms, I think, would have had a heart attack, they would have seen that. And they all drink it with ice and teach children to it from an early age.
If we consider the center of America, then there all the food is mostly fried - wings, burgers, a lot of dough, sandwiches ... There are a lot of carbohydrates in their diet and it is all washed down with soda with sugar. Either the other extreme, but it is found only in such advanced cities as New York, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami - extremely healthy food: spirulina juice, various combinations of green juices, and pressed in juicers, where there is no not a single sharp part - it crushes the product, but does not cut it. Many restaurants for raw foodists or vegans. Somewhere only organic food is served.
It seems to me that we in Russia have a certain balance - and healthy, proper nutrition, and not so much. And there is a very large contrast and a very large selection in this regard. But if you want to eat right, for that there is absolutely everything. And everything is much easier arranged in terms of delivery. Anything can be ordered. For example, if you decide to sit on juices for a week, by seven in the morning you will be delivered freshly squeezed juices in bottles directly to the door. The same thing is diet. You order your food - and you get fresh dishes every morning. Of course, regular food can be ordered at any time and place.
As for entertainment: in my opinion, Americans do not really know how to have fun. Our clubs, lounges are much more interesting. Even to take our bars and how cocktails are made there, how everything is served - in the States it is very rare. We have every restaurant will think over the flow. Everyone tries to do beautifully and with the author's handwriting. There's all pretty primitive. In Las Vegas with fun, of course, better, there are amazingly beautiful shows!
In America, everyone basically drives in their cars. In Los Angeles, without your own car is impossible. It is very difficult to get around on buses - there are many homeless and incomprehensible children. Almost everyone has at least some kind of car. There is also a so-called metro - it is such a tram that drives along the ground, periodically diving under it, but it passes very little. There is a subway in New York, it is well developed, but so dirty and unpleasant. In St. Petersburg, in Moscow - I calmly ride the subway, in New York, this is not a very pleasant procedure for me.
To pay the bills
Utilities in America are significantly more expensive than in Russia. For me, this has become a very tangible item of expenditure, and in this regard everything is strict there. If you can not pay for several months and nothing happens, then there, if you don’t pay for water or electricity for the second month, then everything is very quickly disconnected. They are not joking there. Same thing with gas. If you do not pay on time, they send information to a company that deals with credit history. This is the reputation of a person and his solvency in a bank, and if, for example, you want to buy a car or a loan on credit. And these are conditional points that we collect when we pay bills on time, and we lose them very quickly if we delay payment.
C banks and so difficult to negotiate, but if your credit history is below a certain indicator, then you will not give a loan. For example, I have a car borrowed, and this is convenient, because in America there are very low interest rates. On the car - it is 2,5 percent per annum. The same with real estate: four percent per annum. In Russia, this is more difficult, the stakes are much higher.
There are a lot of bright and interesting people in America. Still, the ideology of a country that is associated with the American dream, makes itself felt. The idea that everything is possible and everything can be achieved, in my opinion, is strongly felt - and this is wonderful. But the Americans have a certain detachment in the relationship, they keep a distance. There is no trust in friendship. You speak sincerely to a person, and he will immediately sign a piece of paper, if it cannot be told to others, a non-disclosure agreement. I think this is due to the fact that there is a huge judicial practice related to such cases.
People very often sue each other. For example, a friend came to visit another, fell down the stairs and sued him for having such a ladder that he fell from it. And the other one will pay him. We, of course, do not understand. Therefore, everyone is trying to protect themselves, to lay the straw where it is possible, and not to fall into such situations. There are a lot of lawyers in all matters. Just what's wrong - they connect a lawyer. With us it is not yet so widely spread.