October 10, 2003


Since I am going to the US next week, I have started to think about being there versus being here. What I miss from the US against what it is that I don't miss. I don't even know which place is home for me, but I do know that when I went through immigration in the US in May they took an American citizen out of the line and really roughed him up, due to his turban I think (since he was the only one wearing a turban, and the only one roughed up) and I felt sadness and dispair that we are no longer the melting pot.

I get asked a lot about which is better-Sweden or the US. The thing of it is, there are good and bad to both. It's impossible to compare them, it's like comparing men versus women. Sometimes a place is hard but secure, tender and adoring at one moment, aloof and distant the next. Other places can be soft and gentle, nurturing you at once and then scathing and sarcastic the next. Rather like men and women.

What don't I miss from the US?

- Being stuck in typical Dallas rush-hour traffic.
- People looking at me funny whenever I told them that my vacations are used for exploring new countries and getting the inexorable: "Why leave the US? We have it all here!" Yeah, I know. I've seen a lot of it.
- That feeling like no matter where I moved around in the US, no place felt like home.
- Dr. Phil
- All the commercials on TV.
- The paranoia that comes with living in a big city, with big crime.
- The fact that it always feels like a competition-bigger house, better car, greater boyfriend, cuter kids.
- The never-ending barrage of attractive women on ads, replete with their perfect bodies, that always make me realize that I am not the ideal woman.
- Genetically altered food, and the fact that veggies cost so much.

What do I miss from the US? Well, it's the little things, mostly.

- Walking barefoot on the hot pavement in the summer, while eating watermelon and getting sticky on the front porch.
- Listening to the weatherman in the morning.
- Stealing my sister's clothing without her noticing.
- Waiting for the first Christmas commercial in November.
- Twizzlers and Saltines.
- The Super Bowl and the brilliant commercials they have during it.
- Getting in my car and going for a fresh bagel on Sunday mornings, to take back to my bed with the thick Sunday paper for a morning of quiet browsing.
- Watching sparklers on the Fourth of July.
- The people are so. Damn. Nice.
- The fact that anyone can succeed in the US, all they have to do is work hard, dream, and try.
- Walking into a restaurant and speaking the language by default.
- My motherís hugs.
- Saturday morning cartoons.
- Worshipping the Tom Thumb aisle of breakfast cereals.
- Watching my Dallas Stars on ESPN.
- Thanksgiving, and Christmas carols.

There is already a list compiled for Sweden, too. But the fact of the matter is, in one week, I will be back in the US. And I look forward to it not only since I get to see family, friends, and the Gap, but also because it's another chance to remind me how far I have come.

And where I come from.


Posted by Everydaystranger at October 10, 2003 03:36 PM | TrackBack

If you are going to be even anywhere remotely near Dallas, please give me a holler! I'll knit you a nice warm cap to keep your precious brain warm in those cold Scandinavian winters.

Posted by: David at October 11, 2003 06:08 AM

Helen and Clever Tom (of Tom's Nap Room at http://tombux.blogspot.com/) are continuing a discussion on his page (link to my right). I wonder who is winning. Or if, in some discussions, there can be a victor. But I love his cat picture.

Posted by: H at October 10, 2003 10:26 PM

Ooh. My international readers are weighing in. I love that.

I must say I have had very good and very bad experiences with health care in Sweden-I had to wait fucking forever to get some skin cancer issues taken care of, but then when I lost the plot the mental health org here took incredibly great care of me and never dropped me on my head.

Now, in the US, my skin cancer issues (and yes, it is gone, thanks!) were addressed IMMEDIATELY and with swift attention. However, I know that if I went loo-loo there, I would be restricted to 26 visits, then my health care plan would be pulled.

Bottom line-you may die sooner of serious illness in Sweden, but if you go crazy, they got your back.

PS to Jim-does that mean my plush purple velvet turban a la Joan Crawford not a good idea?

Posted by: H at October 10, 2003 07:27 PM

Well Tom, I must say that is a very typically American angle that you have expressed.

Maybe it's time for you to take a short trip out of that American paradise where you live. You could then see for yourself that the rest of the world are not all "commies" and there are, surprisingly, other places in this world where opportunities also exist.

It is precisely your kind of attitude that makes your fellow countrymen the joke of the world and pretty much universally hated.

Get real and get a life!

Posted by: at October 10, 2003 06:40 PM

just so you know..the Turban thing is still "out" in terms of acceptable airport headwear. Have a good trip.

Posted by: jim at October 10, 2003 06:39 PM

I think that one point you made about in the US you can succeed is the difference between the US and other socialiast countries. Where they might have universal health care, and less "poor", they also don't have the ability for upward mobility as much as Americans do. We native born Americans don't realize it, but we are lucky in that regard.

Posted by: Tom at October 10, 2003 05:53 PM

You'll have to look us up at wetwired when you come this way.

Posted by: pylorns at October 10, 2003 04:09 PM
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