The Good, The Bad and The Ugly or Welcome to America!

Whoever reads my blog knows that this is my 20th anniversary in USA.
I decided to go back and to see how Americanized I have become. What are the good, the bad and the ugly habits I’ve picked up over the years living here
January 6th 1991 I was very scared, very naïve mother of one,  married to the one, who was maybe less naïve and less scared. No word of English , except for: Hi, Bye and Thank you!  WELCOME TO AMERICA!!!!

I never forget my shock when for the first time I saw a women in a grocery store wearing curlers in her head. I made a promise to myself that I would never, never allow my self to wear that in public. 

 I am ashamed to admit I broke that promise a year ago. I had a very similar situation: I was at the hair salon having my hair colored, when my son called me with an”emergency”. My hairdresser was nice enough to let me go with instructions what to do when I get home. During my drive I had to stop at McDs to get my son his beloved french fries (how American is that?!). Poor clerk at a window counter was mortified when he saw me with color “RED” running all over my face. I actually had to explain to him that I am not hurt and it’s not my blood.

Back in USSR I would not be caught dead going out without  makeup or high heels let alone with wet die on my hair. The truth was, the appearance was always so important to us, that a little task like grocery shopping required full makeup.

Now, don’t take me wrong, I am against sweatpants in public and I am against curlers on your head in public, but I am all for Comfort! WELCOME TO AMERICA!!!

So I think I will consider this is the “UGLY” that I’ve picked on my American Journey. From that moment, I vowed to turn my cellphone on silent and ignore all the “emergency” phone calls from my family while I am getting beautified.

Back in USSR I did not know what is Retail Therapy was. Of course we had stores, but you would not want to buy anything there. The assortment of clothing was not how should put this politely, very wearable.

 Also, both my mom and my dad worked as engineers and they had minimum salary, if they were able to save a little money we would go to Moscow or Leningrad for shopping, stores there had better selection.

 Now, here in US I am in retail “heaven”! Every time I felt bad about myself, or anything at all I would hit the stores. First there were Dollars stores, then Big Lots, then K-Mart and slowly but surely I found myself in malls, soon enough I have discovered Macy, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus. WELCOME TO AMERICA!!  Horrible, horrible habit, that I almost bit…..did I say almost. Well I am trying very hard.
Another “great opportunity” (I am being sarcastic here) opened up when we figure out what Credit Cards were. See, back in USSR everything was CASH!!!!

If you need to buy something you need cash to do so – not here. We went crazy, anything we needed let’s charge it, anything we didn’t need, but we wanted let’s charge it again, and before we knew it we had $$$ on our CC. WELCOME TO AMERICA!!!

Well it’s been a challenge for 20 years and this one is very hard  to conquer, but we are doing the  best we could.

I guess these 2 stories will be the part of the BAD I’ve picked up.
Now to the GOOD part. I love it, love it, love it here!!!!!

Back in USSR in schools we had to give a definition of MOTHERLAND. We had to explain how we love our country  how lucky we should be to live free, where everything and everybody  are equal. … well you get the idea… You now know that  it did not workout for them either.

This is my MotherLand, where I and my kids feel FREE, where we can travel around the world without explaining why a Jewish person should be allowed to live the country,  where my kids could attend any university they wish and not because we were able to bribe someone, but because they deserve to be there.

I don’t mean to go all emotional on you and I am sure some of you would tell me that Russians  now are free and they are traveling as well, and they have credit cards and they have the most amazing shopping…. not everywhere,  and not everyone….

I love my GOOD, my BAD and my UGLY  it has been an amazing learning experience!!!!


About Ariana

I came to USA about 20 years from former USSR. I am an American Citizen with a heavy Russian Accent. My two boys always make fun of my English. I love to write, I usually do it for me, but if you would like to stop and leave a comment it would be great! I ‘d love to share with you my American World with the hint of my Russian Personality.
This entry was posted in culture, Family, humor, motherhood, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly or Welcome to America!

  1. Leah says:

    I really love this post because I so enjoy reading your love for America. I grew up here, so I know I don’t have the same appreciation for this country the way you do. Don’t get me wrong; I never bash America. But I’ve never known anything different either. That is why I really do try – nearly every day – to remind myself how good we really do have it. Especially as a Jewish person to know that I’ll never be rounded up because of my faith. And by the way, I think my mother has your Russian mindset. She NEVER leaves the house without make-up and decent clothes. Even if it’s the afternoon or it’s just her family visiting. She must be perfect. I don’t have that sentiment.

  2. This was beautiful. It’s a wonderful reminder of what we, as Americans, take for granted. And, it’s nice to be reminded how we look when others view us and our ‘customs’ from that of visitor or new resident.

    Thank you so much for sharing!


  3. V.V. Denman says:

    I love this post. Especially your sense of humor. Thank you for sharing your story/stories. I’m so glad you’re here now. WELCOME TO AMERICA!

  4. Olga SE says:

    Great post, Ariana! I could feel the lack of such a story on your blog and I’m glad it is here now. Is it to be continued? I would be very much interested in reading how it all started for you. It was a very brave step of yours and I don’t think leaving Russia (or was it USSR at that time?) back in 1991 was common practice.

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