After the last couple of months and meeting new people from all over the world yet again, the thing that I keep thinking to myself is that on the whole, we Americans are a really angry, bitter, lonely people. Everyone else is talking without shame about their feelings: people that they love, people that they miss, things that they want from life, things that they enjoy.
We can’t do that here—it’s weakness. I could swear that a lot of Americans I’ve known don’t love or enjoy anything in the first place. An American talking about their friends and family is circumspect at best, sarcastic at worst. It’s not just British-style reserve, either. We really do tend to be damaged goods. We really are bitter to the point of comedy, especially in my generation. I suppose that’s a side effect of market economies.
Then, to talk to international students, so full of feeling—it makes you realize just what you’re missing, and just what you’ve missed by growing up here.
Or maybe it’s just people from the western half of the United States. I don’t know. I know we had the disease in Salt Lake City. And it’s as plain as the nose on your face in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Boise, and Seattle. Less so in Chicago. Hard to say in New York, since it’s such a melting pot.
But I really like some of the international students I’ve met. They’re different. More alive. I really like them a lot, and envy them in a way. It makes me want to leave the U.S. and go somewhere where people still care about each other.