It’s the first day of September which means I am back with another post from the “Stories from the West” project which I am doing with Dixie! Each month we are writing 1 post about the same topic, to give you a glimpse of our lives as new immigrants (Me in the US, Dixie in Sweden). This month’s topic is about the things we learned from our adopted countries. Read mine below and Dixie’s here 🙂 Enjoy!
I learned to live more sustainably
Actually, life here in general is far from sustainable, but somehow it drove me to live my life more sustainably. Let me explain. When I got here, I was quite surprised to see how common the takeout culture is, and the amount of waste that came with it! They made me realize that I needed to do something. You see, whenever you eat out here, you would get enormous portion (especially coming from Indonesia). Obviously not every time you could finish that portion, so the option is to bring it home. And when you ask your server to bring home your leftovers, you would get it boxed in plastic containers, with plastic cutleries, and plastic bag. And it happens so much that I started to feel uneasy about it. At the same time, I was made aware of recycling (something that I never do in Indonesia), so I did some baby steps by starting to separate my recyclables and trash at home. Then I went on with minimising the use of single-use plastic. A couple months after, I’m still far from being completely sustainable (To be honest I don’t know what the world actually means), but I am doing baby steps!
I learned to work hard(er)
Hard work is nothing new in my dictionary but here I got to see how hard work can get you places. If I could one choose one thing that I learned about this country, I would definitely choose hard work! Despite only living here for a short time, I was able to meet a lot of people from different backgrounds already and they all showed me how hard work can be valued in this country. I guess it is true that this is the land of opportunity so it’s up to us to work as hard as we can to grab as many opportunities as possible!
I learned to celebrate individuality
Coming from a country which culture put a high emphasis on conformity, at first I found it surprising to see how much individuality are valued in this country. I learned that individuality does not mean a bad thing nor that it means you are selfish, but in the age of #selfcare, it is important to put yourself first and learn to accept yourself, in whatever condition. It’s okay to be different and it’s also okay to celebrate it.
To sum up, I know that my life here is just starting, I have this long road ahead of me. But I’m glad that I get this second chance of learning new things and expanding my horizons by moving to America. These are just the three things that I learned from this country, I might share more in the future, as I am adjusting myself more to the life here. Thanks for reading, and if you are also an immigrant, what are the things that you learned from your adopted country? I would love to hear your story! 🙂
9 thoughts on “In America, I…”
Being mindful to my surroundings, doing my best not to disturb people, being as polite as i can be and never hesitate to say sorry first 😂
Oh, and dress as decent as normal japanese women which means saying goodbye to shorts and flip-flops! 😝
Thanks for sharing phiii 🙂 Btw aku kebayang nya gaya kayak Marie Kondo gitu ya kalau perempuan di Jepang pada umumnya? Rapih selaluuu dan konservatif hehehe
In the Netherlands, I learn to be more mindful of what I eat, I learn to be more conscious with what comes out of my mouth regarding race and difference, and I learn to integrate more by learning Dutch and using it in daily life.
Thanks for sharing Tal! Ah, I too learned to be more conscious with things I want to say…
Great that you are enjoying your new life in the States. I was born in Indonesia but I had trouble on conformity as I embrace individuality since young.
Takes time and effort to change for sure but glad you are enjoying the process. My learning comes more from my husband, reading and traveling.
Currently in Hong Kong, I always separate my rubbish accordingly, bring my own reusable cup & straw (out & overseas). Minimalist for clothes, shoes & almost everything. Exercise 5 times a week and eat balanced diet but I do have IndoMee once in a while.
Hope you keep enjoying your new life in the States. Good luck! =)
Hi Jessica, thanks for sharing 🙂 I imagine live in Hong Kong is efficient and busy, this came from an observation I made during my 5-day visit in 2016.. I was quite surprised to see how everything is so busy! Is that true?
Yes, it is true. People walk really fast here. Basically, everything is fast. Even the sound of the traffic lights for pedestrians to walk are fast pace.
Overall it is quite similar with how life here Chris, minus the hard work part a little bit. On this note, I see that people here value more the work-life balance. Hard work is okay, of course, but only within certain limit as you should use the time “beyond” that limit for yourself, to take care of yourself (be for pursuing your own interest, to spend time with family/loved-ones, etc).
Thanks for sharing Ko, in general I think the US is better than Indonesia when it comes to work-life balance buuuuut I still think we’re still behind Europe!