I thought this was quite interesting, and several of the items are related to transportation: http://thoughtcatalog.com/michael-koh/2013/11/16-people-on-things-they-couldnt-believe-about-america-until-they-moved-here/
I’ve had the privilege of getting to know many immigrants, and there are some comments that have stuck with me.
There was a lady I knew who escaped communism during the USSR years, and she said that her most ingrained memory was the first time she was taken to a grocery store. She said “I didn’t know there was that much food in the whole world”.
I was also presiding over a certificate ceremony in a manufacturing company conference room, where we were all sitting at a table having cake and ice cream. Each participant was asked to share something he/she found different about the U.S. One young man from South Africa said “I’m sitting here having cake and ice cream with my supervisor, and in my country if I looked my supervisor in the eyes I’d be beaten”.
I also met a man working on a production line with a MSEE from his home country. He said that if he tried to get a record of his degree he was afraid he’d be tracked down and killed. He was in exile.
We that were born here have no concept of how different our country is from much of the world. Or how blessed we truly are.
Some of the Russian comments are interesting. Even nearly 100 years since the despotic Tsar was overthrown and a “people’s Country” was established, Russians are still blown away by the open, trusting nature of Western society.
I had a personal experience entertaining a Russian delegation and we were dining at the top of the Skylon, a tower overlooking Niagara falls. The restaurant rotates slowly. My Russian table mate had placed his Zenit 35 mm camera (a cheap Russian Knockoff ) on the widow ledge. After a while he wanted to take a picture and found his camera missing. The inside of the restaurant had rotated, and the camera was still on the window ledge some 20 feet away!
He immediately said in a panic that his camera was “stolen”, almost impossible, since the window ledge was hard to reach by anyone not seated at our table.
I told him I would retrieve his camera and promptly did. Although he was an engineer, he finally figures out as to what had happened.
The other comment from a Russian about the president of the USA not automatically being the richest man in the country was interesting as well. In many countries you go into politics to get rich, and steal as much as you can before you retire.
I had a neighbor many years ago that was from Australia. She came to the U.S. after her husband died and her sister became deathly ill. She had lived in the Australian Outback all of her life. She sold her ranch in order to come and see her sister and fell in love with America. When her sister passed she inherited her property and decided to become an American citizen. The thing I remember most about her was the fact that she praised the U.S. on nearly a daily basis.
Some of praises were:
- You never had to drive 500 miles just to get to nowhere.
- She loved running water since she had to carry water from a well all her life.
- The electricity never went off.
- She loved all the TV channels to choose from but sad she couldn’t watch them all.
- She was amazed at all the different fresh and frozen foods in the supermarket all year long.
She really made my wife and I appreciate the little things in life and not to take them for granted. Thank you Mrs. Elliot…for opening our eyes and ears just a little wider in this wonderful country.
What? Texas doesn’t really resemble Monument Valley Utah? Where are all the saguaro cacti? Where are all the cowboys riding horses?
Quote from Docknick’s post: “In many countries you go into politics to get rich, and steal as much as you can before you retire.” Unquote
A little irony there perhaps?
@WhaWho Some years ago, when the US invaded Iraq, some network mentioned that “Bush wanted Iraq’s oil”. A country I was working in, where no civil servant retires poor, took this literally! I had some trouble explaining that, regardless of the reason for invading Iraq, George Bush was not personally getting filthy rich doing it!
I’ve worked with many varieties of Europeans, usually in technical or sales positions. They are surprised to find we aren’t involved in daily shootouts in the cities, flattened by tornadoes and burn to death in our wood houses. They are envious of the house sizes, number of cars (they are getting there, however 2 to a family is no longer strange) and general prosperity. They also find that shooting guns at a range is pretty dang fun and can’t believe they can DO this!
Back in the early 90s a coworker had some Russian relatives visit his modest middle income home. First thing they couldn’t believe was wall to wall carpet. Two cars?? One ornery old gent said they had been told to be skeptical it was all set up for them. My friend takes out a map and says point and we’ll go grocery shopping there. They were astounded at the variety. The old guy sat up all night listening to all the radio stations. The kicker was their daughter had a medical condition they couldn’t get the medicine for it. Friend has his doc call in the script and they went to Walgreens and picked it up 15 minutes later. That made the old guy cry. How could this be??? A lot has changed since then I’m sure but those stories always made me appreciate things here…
Wha who, I think the primary difference is that in communist countries ONLY the politicians get rich.
I met a Russian guy who was suprised that he had to work all the time over here,the part of Russia he came from,he told me you could do alright on 2-3 days a week.During my tenure in the Governors school for the gifted,a lot of Mexicans and Meso-American Guys told me they were going back home-to easy to get in trouble here plus your property was generally yours there,told me you didnt have to keep paying the gov’t for the privilege of owning your own property
(go figure) this is the best country in the world in ways,but like others its far from perfect-Kevin
I remember talking to a Russian who was here in the US when the mandatory recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance was being argued in court. He found it incredulous that the freedom-loving people in the US had to recite loyalty oaths, just like in the USSR.
@mcckune Yes, under the old Soviet Union, workers prestended to work and the government pretended to pay them. Agree that it’s possible to loaf in some of thosec ountries due to a lack of proper organization.
I toured a Russian delegation through a 2000 Megawatt coal fired power station in the Great Lakes area. The station manager apologized for the “mess” since one of the boilers was undergoing mainteance. The head of the Russian group complimented me that the station was so clean, and wondered “where all the people were”, since he saw very few workers. I explained that the station was highly automated and labor was expensive. Even today the term “productivity” means very little there.
That same Russian complimented me on my mint condition 1966 Malibu sedan, then 10 years old with nearly 100,000 miles on it. When heading back to our office I deliberated entered the rear entrance of the parking lot and drove by all the cars of the plant employees, numbering 1800 at that time. The chief asked me if this was a new car storage lot and I had to tell him “These are the WORKERS’ cars”! Cars in those days had a lot of chrome and our guys were well paid.
Every time I go away, I feel very fortunate that I live in the US-with all its issues. Just back from Prague and East Germany, and every guide we had and a couple speakers, talked about how bad it was during the communist years and how good it has been since. Same thing when we were there ten years ago. They want nothing more than the freedom to work and prosper like we have had for 200 years. We just don’t realize how lucky we are and how quickly it can be lost.
There’s nothing like going south of the border into Mexico to remind you that in the U.S. the “poor” drive cars, have cell phones, and throw away food.
I’ve been to South America a few times…and the drivers there make our WORSE drivers look like little old ladies…I would NEVER drive there. They are completely insane.