Ariel Ky

Ariel Ky
Oakland, California, U.S.
October 11
ESL Teacher
The English Center
I consider myself a generalist, a dreamer, a visionary, an idealist. I walk both worlds, the inner world of spirit and this outer world we all share in.


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JULY 16, 2011 12:46PM

Return to U.S.

Rate: 1 Flag

I've returned to the U.S. after seeing the world the past five years, so that I could spend some time with my mother in Oceanside.

I'm still assimilating the great experience of having lived in China for nearly four years (save six months in Mongolia). 

 And I'm going through culture shock at returning to the U.S., liking it more than I ever thought I would, but also having trouble coming back into this culture.

It doesn't help that I've always kind of rebelled against authority figures, and they are, well, more authoritarian than ever.

 But we're having lovely weather here in Oceanside and being by the Pacific is pretty wonderful.   I'm getting to know my mom better, and maybe even understanding and accepting her better, although I'm not sure  that is happening vice versa, but you can't expect too much from someone who is 80 and rather set in her ways.

 However, she's also amazing resilient and continues to surprise me.  Although I sometimes question my decision to return, I'm also glad to be discovering my mother again.  I'm not sure that I can successfully reenter my family again.  I've always been the "other".  But for the first time, I can see that I'm needed. 

And also needed by my country, which is in a sore state.  I have the vision to turn things around.  Whether other people are open to finding out how that can be done remains to be seen.  It does mean changing our ways.  I guess when people see how doing that will bring prosperity and peace, they might just be willing to let go of the old paradigm.

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Great! A big "welcome home" hug from someone that is far away and not on your own home soil and all the very best.
Curious to hear more about the culture shocks :) what things do you now find different and difficult to adjust to? I can understand why you say you like the US better than ever though. I think I know. But maybe I do not. So it would be worthwhile reading you. Would wait for more. Rated.
Thanks, Rolling, for the welcome home hug. Where are you, by the way? The most pleasing surprise on coming back to the U.S. was arriving at LAX and taking the bus to Union Station in downtown LA. The skies were clear! And in the summer, from my experience in the past, this was rarely the case. People have told me that LA has done a lot to clean up air pollution. Also, we were in rush hour traffic, but the traffic wasn't that bad. I was amazed! But apparently people have staggered times to go into work and get off from work, so there isn't the frustrating stop and go traffic all the way at rush hour that I remember from the past.

However, at the international terminal at LAX, I had to wait nearly an hour in a long line after picking up my bags, to go through yet another security check, after having already gone through customs. Now that was never the case before, and was an unpleasant reminder of what a security state we live in now. However, LA was clean everywhere I went, unlike the past when the downtown streets were filled with trash and unsafe to venture out on. So I actually appreciated better security. The harshest part of returning is finding our society more class conscious than ever, and that I don't fit in any better than I ever did. People's attitudes have hardened and there's a lot of harsh judgment and China bashing... but I already knew there was a lot of China bashing. In fact, I've done my share of China bashing because I had some pretty harsh experiences there. I still love China, though, even though I bash it. And I find that I still love the U.S., even though I bash it a lot, too. What I'm finding is that I'm needed here. People still can't seem to see beyond their own survival needs, and the people with money are less and less able to have compassion for less fortunate ones, it would seem. There is more mind control than ever before, both overt and covert. The homeless, the people who are hungry, the people losing their homes, the people without jobs, give everything in lovely Southern California a marine layer of despair... and the successful, well-dressed people I travel on the Coaster train to San Diego who I've been traveling with to get to work as a substitute teacher at a language school really put me off for the most part. I've gotten into quite a few discussions with people who have no awareness of how hateful some of their views are towards other people. I can see the insular nature of a people who isolate themselves from those less fortunate, the hubris, the arrogance, the harshness, the fear... that they might lose what they have. I see Americans around me who are still enmeshed in believing that the democratic system of government we have is still viable, and that if they just get enough people involved, we can resist the intolerable inroads the wealthy elite are making towards greater inequity between people.

If I say to Americans that we must break out of our isolation and reach out in friendship to people from China and other countries in Asia and the world, instead of seeing China as a rising enemy and threat to our way of life, and to stop seeing other people who have different cultures as lesser than, and to start seeing that we are all one family, all connected with each other, more alike than we are different, can I be heard? I'm not sure. We must engage in self-examination and begin to see that we don't need to have a mighty military, we don't need to be #1 in the world, that we don't need to dictate to other countries what kind of economy they should have, that we don't need to claim the resources of other countries for ourselves, that we don't need to denounce people who have different religions than we do, that we don't need to cut ourselves off from travel for fear of terrorists, that we don't need to try to control everyone and everything in the world and act as the policemen of the world... that in fact, our prosperity and peace depend on doing the opposite.

I can see this clearly because I have lived in three countries in the past five years outside the U.S.: tiny Andorra in Europe, a mountain country between France and Spain, China, a developing country that is becoming a major power, and Mongolia, a developing country whose people are poor, but that is rich in mineral resources that other countries are trying to exploit.

All that said, I am still amazed by how friendly my fellow Americans are in general. I am dumbfounded by how my own family is now in pretty good communication with each other through Facebook, and it's just nice to be back in a place with good restaurants from many different countries and among people who come from many different countries.