After 2 years we are about to move back from the USA to Sweden. It was enough time to get to know the country closer and for that I am really grateful. Within 2 years you have the chance to settle and find out what really matters – what makes up a society. It is also enough time to realize that you will miss certain things. I asked my family what they will miss the most. My husband said, he will miss moments and meetings with people. Our kids stated the overwhelming national parks, the power and color of the ocean and their friends. One thing we all stated and come to appreciate the most is the openness and friendliness of the people. USA is a place where everyone is an immigrant, where everyone comes from everywhere and everyone and no one are foreigners. It is a place where you say Happy holiday instead of Merry Christmas. It is a place where you still can receive hand written greeting cards, invitations and thank you notes in the mail box.
It is a place with a spirit that everything is possible, that no idea is stupid enough to at least give it a try – I have seldom come across so many start-up companies. It is a place where people dare to be different, dare to speak up, dare to make failures and start all over again.
Imagine this way of living existing all over the world – possibility to speak up for injustice, to live in harmony, respect and accept each other no matter of sex, ethnic, cultural and religious background. From everyone you’ll meet, the mail man, the neighbors, the bypassing stranger in the street or a cashier in the store, you will be greeted “Hi how are you?” and if you start a conversation you will hear a “It was nice talking to you!” or “It was nice meeting you!”. I think that this behavior is really nice and makes you feel appreciated.
What we also come to find out is that charity is really important and that you already in early age get aware about the fact that not all people are healthy and wealthy. Thus, it is seen as natural to spend a considerable amount of your income for a good purpose and both we and our kids were confronted with this. In our kids school they organized several fundraisings and served soup and prepared sandwiches to homeless people, or at my husband’s work they e.g. collected money for the cleaning guy when his father passed away and he could not afford a ticket to fly to the funeral.
Here is a pretty impressive story about a fundraiser
Coming from Europe you sometimes do not reflect about these things as you are so confident and take for granted that the state is taking care of it. Surely, there is charity in Europe too but not in the same extent as in the US. We noticed that our kids started to questioning injustice and the consequences when not everyone gets the same conditions from early on. Thus, they come to appreciate their own life and become to realize that nothing is for granted. It really touched us, when our son a wanted to prepare care package filled with warm blankets and food to hand out to homeless in the street. We rarely took the offer for a doggie bag when we ate in a restaurant but now we take it, not for ourselves but for someone in the street. When we mention this in the restaurants they even add some extra food.
Our stay in America has definitely had an impact on all of us and we are happy for the new perspectives and experiences that we have gained.
Do you live or have you lived in the USA? What are the things you appreciate most with the country? Please share it with me.