Countdown Series: 10 Days

Wooow! I can now start counting down on my two hands, craaaazy. And while time seemed to not pass by fast enough after I booked my flight, I am now starting to get a little nervous. Finally I guess, people started to think there was something wrong with me. A year ago, I couldn’t wait to go back, I was all like ONE YEAR IN THE STATES, WOHOOOOOOOOOO LET’S GOOOO. And at the end of every month I did a silent shout-out á la U-S-A! U-S-A aaaaaaand now EVERYBODY: U-S-A!!!! But since last week or so, I am catching myself every once in a while thinking: Holy Shmoly, hang on a sec…one year? As in TWELF MONTHS? Wait, that can’t be…from August till AUGUST?! Moooommmyy! It’s just- when you think back to where you were a year ago, it might seem to you like time past in the speed of light. But if you remember all the little stories that happened to you within each and every month, all the studying you did, flirts, relationships, forming life plans, you begin to realize how much can happen within one year. Your whole life can change- I know mine has- and it’s both a little frightening and exciting to think about going through this alone…but maybe those kind of things are the ones worth pursuing? But don’t get me wrong, I am an optimist and even if this year might not turn out as imagined, I could easily twist it into something with lots of life lessons. So, here’s to:

10 DaysAmericans

Now, this one might seem a little confusing and too obvious to be worth a blog post. In the past years I had thought a lot and often about Americans, the American culture and the country. After all, it is always being sold to you as the land of the free, the land that makes any of your dreams possible. Then, I went to an international university where I met all sorts of nationalities- and opinions. While talking about Americanism there altered that glorified picture a little bit, going to New York last year made me realize something important: No country is perfect, not Germany or France or South Africa or the UK and not the US either. If you went into a debate about US politics with me, I’d probably agree that it’s questionable in many aspects. But to me, what makes a country, are its people. And I have never been anywhere with such a great number of strangers that were so open-minded, friendly and helpful as the people I encountered during my travels. ‘Whaaat‘, you may think, ‘Is she talking about New Yorkers?!‘ Yes, I am. I ran into strangers on the street, men as women, giving me compliments on my clothing style, without any hidden agenda, it was just a genuine compliment. I was cheered up by a street musician in a subway car, who could see I had a bad day and who dedicated a little melody to me. Vice versa, I caught myself consoling a cashier at my supermarket who had just gotten a rant from her boss and couldn’t hold back her tears. No matter whether people in the subway, on the park bench next to me, Baristas or homeless people, all kinds of personalities started chit-chatting with me throughout the months. And I had interesting talks. Men offer women of all ages their seat in the bus or subway. And when asking people on the street for directions, they would do their utmost to help me and if that meant putting all their shopping bags down and delay their errands to wait for the map app to load, they’d do it.

The US seems close to my own culture, with both countries being classified as the “Modern Western world” and yet, there are so many differences on various levels. I know that the US is not the only country with people who are welcoming and warm- hearted and I don’t generalize by putting Americans on the top of the food chain and everyone else below that. It’s a personal affection, I guess. While this constant “Hi, how are you?” “Good, how are you?” “Good, thanks” might feel superficial and empty to some, it works just fine for me. And I am missing this…interaction, maybe? And the hope that, although you might have a bad day, there is a high chance that a complete stranger could turn it around at any minute, anywhere in the city. I love my Germans, but at this point in my life, I want to be with Americans…which doesn’t make me sound like an Anthropologist aaaat all, I apologize. Thing is, while writing this post, I realized that I was writing away my nervousness and got back my sheer happiness to go to SAN FRANCISCOOOO! 10 Days!!

Cheers and go spread some love,

Ari

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