Thursday, June 11, 2009

Archie's Story, Part 1

The touchdown was at 9:30 in the morning. Although my first plane was late, my second, international flight landed in Moscow 30 minutes earlier. I couldn't say I was exhausted due to the long trip, but I know for sure there was a great deal of excitement - I was waiting to see what had happened to my country for the fastest and, perhaps, the best two years in my life.

It took me almost three days of traveling from Moscow to the north of the Asian part of the former USSR, and there I was – back in Kazakhstan! Could I believe myself I was there? Was I hearing people speak Russian?

My mother gave me a great hug and lots of kisses after I rang the doorbell. My stepfather smiled at me, shook my hand, and helped me carry in my humongous, ridiculously heavy pieces of luggage which I, believe
it or not, had managed to bring home safe and clean. The dog - named Bill when President Clinton was elected – started to bark at me. Apparently, he wasn't able to recall who I was. Two years aren't that much of time, but, obviously, it was enough for him to forget the person who once bought him from a woman on the street. His amnesia didn't last that long; he nicely caught a couple of thrown pieces of meat with
his jaw, got some water, and, after having looked at me for half hour, started to wag his tale.

The next day I woke up thinking something like, “I need to call my manager and see if I can come in earlier today...” I opened my eyes, stretched a bit, and... realized that... It would take me a while, approximately 17 to 20 hours by plane, to get to work even if I flew straight from my town to Four Star Pizza in Washington, Pa. So I figured they wouldn't need me by the time I get there.

Yes, I understood I was missing my job right at that moment. It felt unusual to wake up in your parents' house and to have your breakfast ready. However, little did I understand that there were no... sandwiches on the table! My goodness! Where is my triple-mayo BLT hoagie and Ramen noodles? No way...

I tried to hurry up and eat my original Kazakhstani food, because I knew I needed to get online. All of a sudden, my mother said, “Why are you eating so fast?” I explained that I promised to write my American families and friends as soon as I would get home. She replied, “I don't know how you do that at daylight. We can only use the Net after 11 p.m. - it's impossible to dial it up when the traffic is busy.”

TV, the “Soviet” type of people on the street, buses and cars, Russian letters and names of shops everywhere. Wow! Was I really born here, or has my mind made America my permanent country of living? In psychology they call it “the cultural shock.” You are “shocked” when you go to a foreign country, mostly if the country of your visit is of higher quality of living than your native place. You see how well-developed, as in my case, America is, how high the standards are, where people live and work, what they eat, what they do, how much they get paid. “The reverse cultural shock,” as in my case again, takes place when you get back to where you originally came from.

I've been keeping my own journal practically since I landed in America for the first time in my life. It contains as much information so I would write a book or two; also do I possess a huge desire to tell others about my adventure through newspaper articles. My American families and friends deserve lots of thanks for being a great nation on the whole as well as caring about others. I wasn't lucky enough to
inherit millions of dollars, or, let's say, to be born in America, but I received a lucky life ticket to go to America, and understand how to live for others.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

After all that, what would u do, Art? Most of our students try to stay in USA.