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Saturday, October 21, 2017

In America

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So I found this old blog entry that I wrote about a year ago about my discoveries of the United States of America. I have lived here for three years now and though I have gotten the hang of most things like self-service coffee dispensers and gasoline stations, I am still discovering a lot more from time to time. This is my attempt of describing what it’s like to live here but before I begin, I have some disclaimer. First of all, when I describe certain things, I am usually contextualizing it to Rhode Island, the smallest state where I currently live with my husband and two year old son. I am aware of the pre-conceived notion that stay-at-home moms don’t have a life outside of the home but honestly, I do. I do other things besides deal with dishes, laundry, meals and a lot of poop – my son’s, the dog’s, the chickens’ and what have you. I do volunteer work. I meet regularly with friends or those I want to be friends with. I attend conferences and seminars in line with my interests. I sometimes do crafts. I read. I listen. And this is where most of my discoveries come from. Realize also that I come from the Philippines, a tropical, developing country from the other side of the world. If we drill a hole in Rhode Island, the other end would probably pop out in one of the islands in the Philippines. As has been mentioned, these are only my observations – not meant to criticize or imply negative things or target a specific group.

I will start by describing the American attitude towards work. I didn’t realize how hardworking most Americans are until I came here. Many of them would work even through a winter storm. You would think life should be difficult with all the annoying snow that falls on the roads but no. Somehow, they have figured out a way to manage the different problems that come with winter so that life can go on and it is business as usual. Speaking of winter – oh, there is so much to say about it. But let me just say that so far, it is not that bad. People just get ready for it months before it arrives. Some people like my husband and I begin to chop some wood and stack them at certain places around the house once fall comes. In relation to that, we clean our chimneys. He climbs our roof (which I find dangerous, by the way) with this huge brush and scrubs the soot off the pipe. Some people have other sources of heat like electric heaters, a furnace – and believe it or not, some fire places have fake wood in them and instead of gathering wood and a few kindlings, they just push a button.

Time is very important in America. Most people will call when they are running 5 minutes late to an appointment. Every minute seems to count which is why we multitask a lot and we have to think of creative ways to be efficient in terms of time – mainly because there’s a lot to be done. I guess this is okay because doing the laundry is not a whole day affair. People have driers. They have dish washers, lawn mowers, weed wackers, snow blowers and most fabric are machine washable. America is a country of tools. There is even a paint can opener! And if you go to shop for one, there is like a million choices and if you still can’t find what you want, you can always buy it online. The postal service is very systematic and reliable. Even important documents like passports, green cards, social security card are delivered through regular postal service and are left in mailboxes. When I arrived here, the postal service was one of the things that amazed me a lot. If you are a normal citizen, you get mail 98 % of the time. People mail just about anything. And yes, many people here still send greeting cards.

I could be wrong but I think 98 % of the population here are crazy about dogs. There are dogs everywhere – in people’s cars, in their bedrooms, in stores and I could only think of two people right now who are not very fond of them and I feel like many of those who don’t like dogs are afraid to admit it and would just come up with certain excuses like “I’m allergic” or “I have no time to care for one”. Like winter, there is a lot to be said about dogs. I am going to try my best, though. They sleep with their dogs. They talk about their dogs all the time. They eat, bathe, go swimming with their dogs. Name it, at least one person has probably done it. Some people even prefer them to having babies.

(to be continued)

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