Living in a different country is hard. Not being part of the normal, even if you're from that country, is hard too. There are so many people who deal with prejudices and stereotypes every day, and sometimes, all they want is someone to understand them. This is a new series on my blog, called Living in the United States, where I talk to people about what it's like to be in the minority.
Today, our first interviewee is Kenny, my wonderful hubby who was willing to be my guinea pig.
Let’s start out with, where are you from?
Hi people, this is Kenny. I’m from Santa Cruz, Bolivia
How long have you been in the United States?
Well, let me tell you. I’m been in the United States for about, close to be 7 years.
What brought you to the United States?
What did you think it would be like, living here?
I don’t know. You see something in the TVs and you see big houses and stuff, but nothing appeared to my imagination.
Do you feel different when you’re around a whole bunch of Americans?
Do you think so? I have a dark colored skin, so that’s something, right?
Do you think they treat you differently?
Yeah, of course. There are some things I don’t understand. It depends on the person, actually.
What do you miss most about your country?
Just the food.
What’s your favorite Bolivian Food?
Salteñas, because I can get it here.
What do you wish people from the US knew about Bolivians or your country?
I’m not Mexican, so they need to figure out that all the south is not Mexico.
Do you think you’re treated like a Mexican, or that people think you know everything about Mexico?
Both. Because I look different, and people assume I’m from Mexico, but it’s not true. Some people get offended when you assume, there are a lot of countries that are not Mexico.
Do you feel like you make more friends with Americans or Non-Americans?
You need to notice that you usually get along with people that are the same as you. So in my case, I go for the Latinos, or people who are not from the US, because it’s easy to get along, I guess, because someone is from different country, I understand you better, how to be an immigrant here, and you will share some experiences.
Do you feel like Americans don’t understand you?
They don’t need to understand me, I mean, if they’re Americans, they’re in a bubble, usually, and sometimes you need to burst the bubble to get into the environment, otherwise they won’t’ care about you.
Do you think you have burst the bubble?
For so many people, yes, but that’s… for Americans, you have a conversation with someone, and they’re not even polite. Someone comes, and they don’t introduce, they start talking to you, and then the person they were talking to before is by themselves.
What did you find most unusual about living in the United States?
One is that they don’t introduce friends to other friends. Because, when someone comes that I know, I introduce to the other one, and I make a big circle so everyone knows to each other. But here, they have a bubble, and this is my bubble, and you don’t touch my bubble. This is my personal space, and you cannot be like this, very close, and breathe on my neck.
What do you like about Americans?
They are givers. That’s how they are. If you notice, in the internet everywhere, if something happens, and someone does a collections, everyone runs to help that person, it doesn’t matter what color they are, you can have help even if you’re a stranger.
Is there any advice you would give to Americans if they’re interacting with someone from a different culture?
Be patient when they’re talking, because so many people struggle with talking. If you’re not interested, go away. It’s true. Sometimes, you try to talk, when your English is not good enough, but if you’re not interested why are you wasting your time?
Is there anything else you want to say?
Thank you people.