The first time I went to an American beach, I experienced something called culture shock. I was hanging with my family and they proposed a beach day. I was so excited, it had been a while. I put in my amazing bathing suit and and pull on some shorts and got ready to go. I’ve never seen what I know now is a boardwalk before. There was so much to see, different foods, different restaurants, different stores selling wondrous gems, clothing and smoking apparatus. And the smell of the ocean hit me. It was nice but it was… different. As we came closer, I noticed that something was off. The sand was… not sandy. I’ve never seen sand this color before. It was some type of grey and it felts weird under my feet. It wasn’t warm, it wasn’t soft, it wasn’t anything I’ve experienced before. And then I looked to the water and I was speechless. While the rest of my family was super excited and racing to get in, I just stood completely confused. This water was also grey. It wasn’t the deep blue that I was used to. I couldn’t see through the water and the waves were too high, way too high. Nevertheless, blindsided by my family’s enthusiasm, I raced into the sea as well and almost lost it. This is where the real shock came in. It was impossibly cold. The water was cold. What? How? When? And why was everyone around me so excited? This was normal? This was enjoyed? I couldn’t comprehend the concept and rushed out as soon as I could. It took me a while to recover from this outing and actually explain what had happened. Or that it fell under the category of culture shock.
Trying something new is always good for you. May I say however that you may also confirm what you actually like after you tried a couple of things. And I can tell you for sure, I do not like cold sea water. I venture from time to time and go to the beach but every time, her beauty betrays me. She is very cold and I prefer my lovers warm bodied.
The fridge… such a great invention. The upgrade to the ice box. And yet, completely misused in my opinion. We only have one at my place. You read it right. Just one. No extra freezer in case things go on sale, no extra in the garage, no extra nothing. I never thought that to be weird until I was told by perplexed visitors why that was the case. I have to say it made me reflect on why I do the things I do.
Where I was born, the electricity factor was quite limited. There were many fortunate days were we “had” electricity and we were able to enjoy the tv, light in each room and all the monsters would disappear. That was however not a common thing. More on that in a future post. Now back to the fridge. In this hot country, the fridge was the ice box and not the upgrade. It is used to store water and keep the ice as long as possible. There was the occasional freshly made juices and some frozen juices if you timed it just right (meaning you knew what your electricity window was). It was not, I repeat, not to store meat, fruits and definitely not cheese. There was no “leftovers” because there was no guarantee that it wouldn’t spoil. This would mean that you wasted your money. And if there is one thing that is a priority along immigrants is never waste anything. You plan out the day, you know what meals you’re cooking, you know how much is needed for everyone in the household, hit the farmer’s market and get your fresh produce. Everything and I mean everything is consumed that day. There is no leftover and definitely no waste.
Guess what I brought back with me? Same concepts but just a couple of tweaks. If we don’t use it, it’s never getting bought again. There is a constant inventory of what is in there and the leftovers are eaten the next day (never later than that). I use the freezer side of the fridge very wisely and always rotating what is in there and making sure at some point, it is purged completely. At some point every two weeks, it looks like a college student on Ramen noodles is living there and I don’t feel one piece of guilt.
This journey started a while ago. I just turned 20 and my parents had worked hard to push me to the next level. The next level meant sending to me to the United States of America to complete my studies. It was a warm day home and the polar opposite when I arrived. Never seen or felt actual snow, I still cannot describe landing and being introduced to this world in that fashion…
Not every immigrant tells their story, most of the time you get the gist. My story is not a bad one and it’s still unfolding. I want to offer a perspective on this blog. An established immigrant that is doing pretty well in this country, having : They came, they worked hard, they succeeded or they were never heard of again. This is not that kind of blog. This is a collection of thoughts, things I find humorous, things that only immigrants get, things that only my brain gets…