I Love Americans

I came to a new cafe for breakfast yesterday and liked it so much that I came back today. As I said down with my food, the young black cashier approached me.

“I’m sorry,” she said, “but I wanted to ask. Do you speak another language?”

I told her I speak a bunch.

“Oh, wow!” she said. “How long did it take you to learn?”

I explained that I started learning English as a kid but other languages later on.

“Were you born someplace else, too?” asked the cashier with a breathless excitement usually reserved for people coming from Hollywood and not Ukraine.

“I always wanted to learn another language,” she said, “but it seems impossible because of… you know, my dialect.”

I assured her we have many students with the same dialect at my school, and they are learning Spanish very well.

People are really excited about languages. It’s funny because I’m quite indifferent, probably because I’ve always spoken several, so it’s not a big deal to me. I don’t even know anybody closely who is monolingual.

But I will never get over how nice and kind everybody is in this country. Everybody is so nice that it puts even the grumpy individuals like me into a kind, giving mood. I even signed up to be a publication mentor to a grad student in Wisconsin.

This is a good country, folks.

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3 thoughts on “I Love Americans”

  1. “Everybody is so nice that it puts even the grumpy individuals like me into a kind, giving mood. ”

    I want to second this. I am also really grumpy by nature and nurture, but the folks around here have mostly mellowed by dark, stony heart. It’s nice to be surrounded by kind, good-natured people. It’s nice not to be surrounded by doom and gloom.

    I also love the US because I feel at home here the way I never did where I grew up. I was never tough-skinned enough for my home country. I always felt I was too naive, too trusting, no easily hurt back there. Things that I valued most — hard work, breadth and depth of knowledge, curiosity — were never highly regarded there; instead, hustling, getting away with as little work and as much money as possible, bonus for tricking or humiliating others — those were the values of my surroundings growing up and still are. In the US, I am positively shrewd; some probably think borderline paranoid (because I still often see/assume the worst in people).

    Americans are considered naive by many abroad, but it’s only because they have the good fortune of living in an efficient, functioning society, where hard work and following the rules are generally valued. It is indeed a very good country.

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    1. God, this is identical to my experience. In my country, I’m too sensitive to survive. I’m a tender flower who is constantly repelled by everybody’s thick-skinness. It’s like being a little daffodil in a field full of stomping hippopotamuses. But here I’m the thick-skinned hippo. It’s like I’m bathing in a sea of kindness in this country. My father says it’s not the Americans’ accomplishment. They are simply lucky they didn’t experience totalitarianism. But I don’t care what made them this way. I simply enjoy.

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