Most move to America to get a good education or get a high-paying job. But sometimes the reason for the move is love. What difficulties do Russian women face when moving to the USA, blogger Yana Bononi told for "Gazety.Ru".
I first came to the US in 2015, according to the program Work and Travel. Despite the fact that I did not stay that year, it was he who became the starting point.
Dad always said that I was the first person in our family who grew up under capitalism.
Since childhood I have been fascinated by the American dream.
I watched Disney cartoons, Hollywood movies and always wanted to live in a two-story house with a white fence. Therefore, for me, this first trip to America was filled with high expectations. Before leaving, I decided for myself that I would live on these one hundred months for one hundred percent. Here it is, my chance to taste the dream.
I remember, I fell out with two suitcases from the New York subway in some creepy district of Brooklyn and almost screamed with delight. The place was like a wild ghetto, but everything seemed to me somehow fabulous, just like I had imagined. That night I did not go to bed. I walked around New York until the morning and firmly decided that my fate was determined. USA is a place for me.
At first, it was surprising that local residents have little ownership: people rent houses for thirty years and drive cars that they rent. Moreover, all live on credit and pay with credit cards. That is, they spend their wages before they receive it. Apparently, this is the very "confidence in the future."
That summer I spent in Aspen, Colorado. I did not wash the floors and did not work in the supermarket. I was lucky to get a reception at the hotel. Of course, at first it was scary. Work in a large American company with a serious reputation was very different from studying at university. The situation was further complicated by the fact that American English was very different from English, which we all learned in school. The work implied every second contact with the guests and the solution of endlessly arising problems taking into account the American service standards, where the client is always right, and you only remind him about it with a smile on his face.
My adaptation was a great success. I quickly got used to the local order. To business etiquette. I quickly remembered my number, which every day I had to drive into the system along with a fingerprint, when I came to work, went on a break or home. At first it was wild, but in time I understood that the rules of the game were established, they are clear and in many respects fair.
During this eight-hour working period, you belong to the company, you cannot be late, use the telephone or do other personal matters.
It is surprising that Americans are considered to be people focused primarily on personal success, because when they are at work, their commitment to the common cause causes truly trepidation, as they advocate a common cause. For the business of the company. But work remains at work. After American friendliness, there is no limit. These people are always open to communication, they easily admit you to their circle, sometimes they even actively involve you.
Americans are very respectful of personal space. Both physical and psychological. In the New York subway, you can always be calm that no one will touch your shoulder and step on your foot. Everyone will be neat and attentive even at rush hour. The same thing happens in the process of interpersonal communication. They will not touch personal topics, they will not show excessive curiosity. If you decide to talk about it yourself, they will calmly accept any of your “confessions”, most likely they will try to support you and tell you about their experiences.
The most ridiculous moments of adaptation, as a rule, border on the saddest. For example, I wanted to laugh and cry from the fact that I had to sleep on an inflatable mattress for several months, because apartments here are rented without furniture. Or when I reached the filing of the tax return to the last day, and I had to fill it in at Miami airport for several hours. It was ridiculous and strange to discover that I have been going to work during the winter time for a few days and did not even notice this (in America there still exists summer and winter time). It was a lot of fun and scary to find out that the old Victorian house I lived in Aspen in the past century was the home of tolerance. I also searched for a long time a river called the Hudson in New York and did not understand everything where some Hudson came from. And, of course, I will not forget when at night in Colorado a real bear climbed into our kitchen through an open window, and then the police and firefighters threw him out.
If something went wrong in your rented apartment in America, for example, a tap dripped or the door broke, this is your landlord’s concern. And he pays for repairs too.
In all large cities, as a rule, when renting an apartment, you must arrange insurance for it for the entire rental period. So from fires and floods you are protected too. The only problem for me was sorting trash. On arrival, we were given a container for biodegradable waste, from which then compost is made. I still can not teach myself to him.
At the end of the program my friend and I went on a trip. The first destination was the city in the style of disco - San Francisco. The choice fell on him by chance. The fact was that a year before our trip, my friend had already been to America. Once on the bus, he accidentally found someone's lost rights. The young man in the photo looked like a passenger in front of him. The boy's name was Lucas, he was an American of Argentine descent. My friend, like me, was fluent in Spanish (thanks to the school for in-depth study of the Spanish language), and friendship quickly developed between the guys.
Returning to Russia, he said that he had found my soul mate and that we were simply obliged to visit him once in San Francisco.
Then I laughed at his idea, and when he was already in Aspen, offered to go, and almost refused at all. Fortunately, almost. There was no trace of my skepticism as soon as Lucas entered the room. Needless to say, it was love at first sight? A few days flew by like an instant. We could not be separated for one second. However, the date of my departure was near.
Lucas and I then looked at the situation soberly. My parents, friends and university were waiting for me at home. He also had to finish his academy, stand up. We had no doubt that together forever, and that a great bright future awaits us. It just hasn't come yet.
After arrival, I began to look for an opportunity to return. I was eager to go to a new exciting journey, to the big ocean of life and, of course, to see my love again. In the end, I managed to find a program that allowed me to come to the United States for a whole year - Internship... With finding an internship, like in the W&T program, the agency did not help you. I had to do everything myself. The internship had to strictly correspond to the specialty in my diploma - "advertising and public relations". This industry is extremely developed in the USA, there are more than enough vacancies. but
Nobody needed a girl from Russia, with a Russian diploma, albeit a red one, even a MSU. They had a lot of their specialists.
While I was taking the final exams and dealt with the design, Lucas flew to me. We tried to see each other in the winter, but a terrible tragedy occurred in his family. He died dad. After some time, Lucas wrote that he wanted to come to Russia. I remember how I stood at the airport and cried before it exited. From happiness.
Despite all the difficulties, I still managed to find an internship. I flew back to America exactly a year and two weeks after my first visit. This time everything was completely different. It was already real life, not summer holidays.
On my first visit, I managed to earn almost $ 2500 dollars a month. This time, the salary did not even reach $ 1500. Of course, to receive such money from us at twenty-four years can be considered the ultimate dream, but here another living wage, other prices for food and housing. Medicine is also fully paid. And paid with three zeros at the end.
A couple of months after my arrival, I began a wild melancholy. I wanted to go home to relatives and friends. At some point, I finally stopped understanding why I came, why I left Moscow’s comfortable life. But the world has salvation, and that is love. Lucas quickly moved to me in Colorado. Slowly life began to improve. I changed my internship place, I was promoted to supervisor. In the spring, my parents flew in and Lucas asked for my hands. We got married in the fall in the city where we first met - in San Francisco.
Our dream was New York, the conquest of which we set off right after the wedding. Compared to Colorado, the rent there was transcendental.
For a tiny studio in Long Island City, we had to pay $ 1600 per month, excluding utilities.
Also increased the cost of food and public transport.
Oddly enough, moving to New York was a big shock for Lukas than for me. He was born and raised on the west coast, there are other people, a different atmosphere. I, on the contrary, felt closer to home, and not only because the airspace was reduced by four and a half hours, but also because New York reminded me of the house. And the point is not that there is a large Russian-speaking diaspora. It is difficult to explain, but there is something in it from Moscow.
New York is the center of the world, our friends constantly come here from all over the world. Our social circle is very diverse, in it you can find a representative of any culture. The usual thing for this city, as for the United States as a whole. This is a country of immigrants, and our family is no exception. My husband has Argentine roots, but he was born and raised in Los Angeles. I'm from Russia. We speak each other in Spanish. We are trying to celebrate all the national holidays of these three countries, prepare different dishes and listen to tango and romances. It’s hard for me to take Catholic Christmas seriously, but Lucas doesn’t understand my obsession with New Year celebrations, but all this is trivia that gives us an extra reason to laugh.
My husband is an artist by profession. We often go to the opening of exhibitions in galleries or simply in museums. There is no better place for this than the Big Apple. I myself am crazy about cinema, but the tickets here cost an average of $ 15, so I don’t often go so far. But most of all I like to walk the streets. Sometimes in the evening we take pizza and just walk along Fifth Avenue, look at the beautiful shop windows, people or sit in the park. This is my favorite time when there is only us and this magical city.
In my blog, I often write about funny situations that I have to face in everyday American life. Yes, it is unusual to go to laundries, sort garbage, fill out tax returns, write checks. Unusual to see trees thrown on the street on the twenty-sixth of December. Unusually choose between organic and inorganic products. Unusually for everything to constantly apologize and smile politely. Unusually indicate the first month, and then the date and count the week from Sunday. And even drain on the toilet cistern on their left. But I take it with humor. This country gave me invaluable experience and a loved one, can I be offended at it for such trifles?