As I remember it, the first day that I came to U.S. was June 26, 2006. My first day in U.S. was both exciting and upsetting, I was exciting about was seeing my mom for the first time over a year, the upsetting part is I had to leave my good memories in my hometown. I had to left all of that behind friends, family and schools. However, life moves on, things need to be done.
When I got out of the terminal in LAX, I saw the smile on my mother’s face that was the happiest smile I hadn’t seen in a long time. She waved at me and she was wearing a white T-shirt and blue jeans. As we were walking towards the car in the parking lot, she asked me “how do you feel, are you happy to be here?” Then I answered “the weather is pretty good and the people seem nice.”
As we headed to dinner from LAX, I noticed there are a lot of open roads in California that are well taken care of, and people tend to drive a lot faster here in California than in China. I said to my mom, “The roads here seems to be in better condition then in China.” My mom answered “Well, yes, the road construction in the United States has a higher quality than China, however, it takes more time to complete Highways here. Normally, in the United States it takes around 4-5 years to build a bridge. In China, as you know, it only take one year or two years tops, which that might be the reason why the roads here are a better quality than in China.”
As we went along, I also noticed California drivers tend to be more aggressive than Chinese drivers, often changing lanes without using their turn signals. Californians also tend to drive a lot faster than those in China, might be because the roads are in better conditions.
It only took us about an hour to the restaurant where we had dinner. It was called “The Hat”, in Victoria Gardens. I noticed along the road parking patterns in the United States are much more regulated. People in China park either way and either direction on the road, while people in United States park based on the direction of the road (i.e. if someone is driving on the right side of the road they just park on the right side of the curb).
Inside the diner, we ordered a pastrami dip sandwich, and a tuna sandwich. They were both was tasty. The chili cheese fries were enormous. We didn’t even finish it all, but I loved “The Hat” from that moment on. However, as we waiting for the food, I saw on the menu, almost all the food is stylized around individual servings. Such as steak sandwich , french fries, pastrami dip sandwiches and soups. They are all served as separate courses (appetizers, main course, etc). Back in China, in my mind, I thought all of the food from every “individual” course is served together.
As we were eating, I looked at the kitchen where they are making sandwiches, it seems that the kitchens of American style food are more peaceful. People tend to buy only things like lumps of fish that can’t be distinguished from other fish without a label or crabs that may have already been boiled. All you have to do is put them into the oven or the pan and cook them. In China, however, the kitchens seem very violent and active. All of the chicken, duck and fish are freshly cut in the kitchen. The kitchen is full of glimmering kitchen knives. I feel as if it is like a battle field.
The atmosphere of American and Chinese food differ greatly. A lot of good American restaurants are generally built in beautiful scenic or metropolitan areas, so I sometimes feel as if American food is about “Eating the scenery” rather than “Enjoying the taste”.
Time flies, I have been in the U.S. for more than six years. There are some more things that I didn’t notice on the first day I arrived in California. There are many cultural differences between the U.S. and China. In China, one of them is people think about ideas in a collective sense, often considering how their actions will affect their friends and families. Chinese people tend to collaborate before making a decision. Decisions are made for the greater good as opposed to personal choice. In America, prioritizing individual goals and motives over the group is considered the norm.
The number one reason I came to U.S. was because my mother wanted me to. I had to leave all my friends and family behind. It was the hardest decision that I ever had to make because I didn’t want to disappoint my mother.
Students in California are not as stressful as the students in China. There are be many actives available in California, because of more freedom to young people then would be in China. At last, to be in the U.S. is just like a new adventure, I learned many things that I could never learn in China. I met a lot of interesting people that I probably could never have met if I am still in China. Overall, looking back to the first day, I was like a country’s boy that just came into the city.