What is America?

Whenever I tell people that I’m moving to Cyprus to be with my boyfriend and oh yeah, we’re probably going to get married, they want to know what’s next. How long will I be in Cyprus? Where will we go afterwards? Of course my boyfriend and I have vaguely talked about all that. And I know that he wants to move to America when he finishes school because he wants the passport. (But then he wants to move back to a Muslim country after he gets it.) And while I see the value in him having the same passport as I do, I loathe the idea of living in America again.

America has so many negative connotations in my mind. I went into Chicago proper yesterday (my hometown is half an hour from the city and I rarely go to it) and I was truly afraid when my friend and I were out and about. I had searched the restaurant we were meeting at, and as I did so, an article about a shooting in that neighborhood the day before popped up, laying a groundwork for fear. Then at one point when we were walking to go buy liquor, we saw a black woman yelling on her phone trying to give directions and carrying a sign that showed that she had been at the Black Lives Matter rally earlier. And there was an unnecessarily large gathering of police on a corner nearby. And she was angry, and she walked right through the group of cops, and I felt my body tense as she did it, waiting for the worst to happen. Nothing happened of course, but my mind-frame had been formed to feel only anxiety and fear for her.

And then my car got towed this morning because of the difficulty in paying for parking and my unfamiliarity with the city. And I’m so used to Abu Dhabi where they just fine you; they would never be so awful as to tow your car for a few hours unpaid parking. How ridiculous to walk into a parking lot 14 hours after I parked a car and paid for parking, but find the car completely gone. And then I was talking to my brother about a recent DUI and how insane the penalty is. They’re supposed to suspend your license for six months; the suburbs are very reliant on cars and there is no public transportation, so how is that meant to work out? And he was barely over the BAC limit and passed all the roadside tests before the breathalyzer, so how is that fair? And apparently the only way to avoid all that is to not comply with doing the breathalyzer, which is so counter-intuitive. Everything about this country seems so counter-intuitive when you’ve been away for a long time.

The idea of living in it for three years (or more considering bureaucracy) makes me very depressed. I’m flying to New York in two days, and hopefully that will be a more pleasant experience than Chicagoland has been. But I think it’s also something in the topics of conversation. Catching up with people encourages highlights and lowlights, perhaps. Snapshots to fit all that’s happened in a year into a few hours conversation. And it’s exhausting to constantly be empathizing with these extremes, the promotions and the illnesses, the breakups and the marriages &c.

At least I have the amusement of bringing up Pokemon Go. Hearing about that game and finding out who plays it has definitely been a highlight of my trip thus far.

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2 Responses to What is America?

  1. Pauline says:

    I’m sorry you feel like that in America. Having never visited or gone to the states before, I always look at it positively because I feel like that’s where opportunities lie (especially in New York) but after the news and shootings, I always question policies in America and there is that negative connotations attached sometimes, I understand that. I think I would have felt the same in that situations especially after the news. What happened was awful!

    I’m sorry that you’re unhappy with the idea of living there for 3 years, hopefully New York cheers you up!

    Haha, Pokemon Go videos, tweets and other things related has been so fun for me. I can’t play it unfortunately in the UK yet but it’s so funny!

  2. Amy says:

    I’ve never been to America. I can’t believe they two your car if you park in the wrong place. I think cars only get towed in the UK if they’ve been on the roadside for months, but I’m not sure. I know it’s just a fine if you leave your car somewhere though.

    Hope it all works out well, I’m sure you’ll get used to it eventually!

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