There are, in this beautiful language I love, so many expression that confuse me and remind me I have ways to go and so much to learn and there are also many cultural differences between us that after eight years living here still keep popping up. Here are a few examples:
- “How about them apples?” Always a sure way to make me feel out of place. What about the apples? What is going on with the apples that we need to ask about them? And shouldn’t it be “these apples?” or “those apples?” What is going on with the apples? Fuck it! I don’t even like apples anyway!
- “Ain’t no thing but a chicken wing” Need I say more?
- Every New Year’s Eve and the “watching the ball drop” deal. What the Fuck? Who sits at home to see a ball drop? I mean there are no words to explain how bewildered I am by this! What is in that precious ball that everyone wants to watch it fall? Is that really how you want to welcome the New Year? In your sweats and watching a bunch of drunk people in New York waiting for the imminent drop of the ball? You people celebrate the Super Bowl with more earnest and it’s just football! I rest my case with the conclusion that America has a ball obsession.
- Why do all commercials have jingles? Is there really a need to sing about hemorrhoid’s cream?
- Why is it called a “world” series if is only American’s states playing?
- Is it just to be difficult that the metric system is not applied here? Why pounds? Why miles? Why Fahrenheit? Only Burma, Liberia and the U.S. are the ones in the world not using the metric system.
- Why soccer? Is football! And everywhere else is American Football and yet you make the distinction between rugby and Australian Rugby?
- Why is the drinking age 21 but you can marry at 16 in some states?
- If there is a separation between church and state why is gay marriage illegal?
- Why was an unfaithful president impeached but an incompetent one allowed a second term?
- Why do people say they are Irish, or Scottish, or a third Polish and 1/16th Native American? If you are born in America doesn’t that make you simply American?
- Where did the whole black person and watermelon-fried chicken come from?
- PB&Js and Mac&Cheese? Really? How about some real food?
- And why in the Lord’s name would you put ketchup on your eggs? Eeeeek!
Yes. The U.S. is a puzzle, is intriguing and contrary and confusing. But I have been here for eight years as a McDonald’s worker, a glorified secretary and an H.R. Assistant and I was still making more money than all my relatives back home that had a profession. More money than all the lawyers, teachers, doctors that were my friends and family. So yeah it is hard being here, away from everything familiar, away from family and friends. But, I have money in my bank account; money that I didn’t have to ask my father for. Money I can spend at my discretion. Money I earned, imagine that! Me earning money! Ha-ha! I am independent. I am free.
So what if my dad comes visit and see how hard we work and goes shopping for expensive stuff for his other family and doesn’t buy me a birthday present? What if?! I have money and is mine, all mine, mine, mine, mine! (Insert evil Machiavellian laughter here).
The few bucks I am making are better than any money I had been handed before. I am still far away from my American Dream. But each earned dollar, every step toward maturity, every right move, every time I woke up in the middle of the night at 4:00 am to go to work, every turn has taken me farther and farther away from that spoiled girl I was and brought me closer to the woman I want to be.
I am every day so much closer to my American dream, so how about them apples?!