I remember the enormous anticipation of seeing the "Land of Freedom" for the first time. I had all these images in my head from the numerous movies I had seen.
I imagined it would be something similar, yet bigger and better. The airport in New York was huge and confusing but I found it quite similar to the big city life buzz I was coming from.
I was met by a nice family, quickly put in a car and driven to a charming little house nearby. The family, which I did not personally know, had graciously agreed to welcome me and give me a place to spend the night before my morning flight to Atlanta, GA. I couldn't see the city since it was getting dark but I was glad I had a chance to see a real American family. They were an elderly couple who lived alone in a three bedroom house with a small swimming pool in their backyard. It was a warm August evening. The setting sun, the cool breeze and me drinking coke on the small porch and looking at the pool, was a picture perfect moment. I signed with a deep relief-I had finally made it! It will all be fine from now on..
The next morning the old lady asked me what I would like to eat for breakfast. She offered cereal, a bagel, and a muffin as my options. I hadn't eaten dinner at their house the night before because my flight included a late meal. Now she was offering me breakfast but I had no idea what to choose since all three options were quite unfamiliar to me. I fell stupid for not knowing and a little scared. "What if I chose something that I did not like and I insulted my hosts by not eating it?" Hostility and politeness were extremely important qualities my family had raised me with. I chose the bagel with the cream cheese, (it looked similar to a treat in my country) and headed to the airport again.
I didn't know it then but a new page of my American adventure had just started. It was called the- stage- of- too- many -confusing options. There was nothing wrong with many options...except that for every little thing I had to ask for explanation. EVERYTHING was unfamiliar! I did not feel like a grown up anymore. I felt like a child that constantly needed an assistance. My initial joy and exhilaration was quickly melting away and a permanent state of confusion started to rule my heart and head. My time of honeymoon with the American culture had lasted only an evening. As the airplane from New York to Atlanta was taking off, I realized for the first time that I was going to face a completely different culture with new rules for everything and I was not prepared for it.