The most interesting thing for me being here is to observe how people act. Is there something I should learn from them or something that I should avoid in my path? The United States of America is so colorful that learning here is just fruitful! So, I would like to share some observations about the differences I see here from my Baltic States eyes.
Americans are meeting us like we have known each other for a long time: they welcome us in the shops and restaurants with showing that they care about our feelings in so happy “how are you?” Sometimes we are joking that when we come back to the Baltic States, nobody will care how we feel and nobody will smile as the only Americans can. I assume that this is the thing that Baltic countries miss and I have a goal to root that friendliness within me and bring back to my community. But the deeper question here comes: what are the reasons for being so friendly? I still considering: is it the reflection of their kindness or it is just a marketing tool to make people feel cared in a shop? Well, I think it is because the Americans have any restrictions and any fears about being misunderstood, they are free from assumptions. This is the huge lesson of every person that should be learned.
Also, I feel a great unity here in America: there are flags in every corner and people are meeting each other like it is their brother or sister. Isn’t it a utopia of the great community where people feel proud of their roots and make everyone feel accepted and cared? On the other hand, it might be a marketing tool and all the sincerity ends here. In this way, I wouldn’t feel where is true and where is an attempt to influence me, also it will make me have protection and do not let trust people the way they are.
In the Baltic States, if you are a stranger, you will never be asked how are you going and people will be skeptical if you go too close with them because of the personal space which is kind of vital thing. This leads to other questions: what is the size of personal space here? where are the limits of being friendly to strangers? Is that kindness for strangers shows the loneliness of Americans, the inability to concentrate on yourself or it is just an amazing feature of self-confident, open-minded and friendly American people? So interesting questions in this our differences!
Also, almost each of us noticed that food here is not very light and healthy. More and more participants are talking about how to stop eating that junk food that cafeterias are full of. The junk food culture causes a lot of deep questions for me as well. What does the body mean for Americans: is it a temple for a soul or just a channel for pleasures, both at once or just nothing at all? Can this abundance of food say something about Americans priorities and their attitude to health or it is just what the market suggests and it is no way related to the lifestyle of people here?
So many questions after just 10 days! I am so excited about the differences because I feel the opportunities to get to know people as so unique and different human beings. I believe that there is no correct way to live life, to behave, or to talk. Everything Americans do is amazing, everything Lithuanians, Latvians, and Estonians do is amazing, too. But with recognizing the differences both of the sides and asking yourself the questions, each of us can rethink their life philosophy and improve a lot.
Written by Agne Staupelyte