Lost in translation
In a different country
When I decided to come to Chicago for the first time, I had a lot of thoughts. I thought I was going to be fluent in English in just six months. I thought I was going to meet people from different countries, but principally Americans. I also thought that everything was going to be easier than in Brazil. Now it is my second time living in the United States and I already know that living in another culture is not as easy as it seems. It is impossible to be fluent in English in a couple months. I have been studying English for almost two years, and I still have things that need to work on. I have met amazing people. Some of them became great friends, but none of them were Americans. Yes, maybe things in the land of opportunity are easier than back home, but staying away from my family and friends was the hardest decision I have ever made. I have changed since the first time I came to U.S. Consequently, it is difficult for me to make friends in Chicago, not because of the people, but because of myself. My thoughts and I have changed.
The first reason it is difficult to make friends is because I am more mature. In Brazil, most people tend to live with their parents until they get married. The mother washes clothes, cleans the house and cooks. The father works to pay the bills. Young Brazilians are apathetic because if something happens they don't need to worry. They have their parents to give them everything. On the other hand, some Americans tend to leave home at age sixteen/seventeen. They create early independence and responsibilities. I left my parents’ house at the age of seventeen. I matured faster than my friends in Brazil. I want to make my dreams possible and be independent. That’s why it has been difficult to make friends.
Secondly, I changed my goals. My goals were different at the first time I came here. I wanted to make friends, and that is it. Maybe I was selfish, but this time I didn’t come here to make friends. I came here to have a better education and future. My first day in the college I talked with other people and to my surprise they thought the same way as me. Of course, we end up meeting people in the college, but it seems like people don’t have enough time to make real friends in this country. Everybody came here to study and work, so they don’t have time for fun. These things happened with me. I have to study and do my assignments. I have to work. I have to be worried if I will have any money at the end of the month. I have to be worry about my future because I want to give a better life to my parents. I think I have a lot of responsibilities for my age. I don't blame it. In fact, I love to have them.
The third reason is Chicago is not my home. I know the world because of the Internet, but the only country that I visited was the United States. I visited a couple of cities, but the most beautiful for me was Chicago. For me, everything is perfect. Although I love this place, I don’t feel at home. I feel that I will live here until I graduate from college and then I will go back to Brazil. For this reason, it is difficult to make friends because I know that I don’t want to live here. I don’t want to suffer because I will not see them as often as I want, and it is not easy to keep in touching with people who live far from my country. I already know how hard it was to leave my friends in my city. It can be difficult and crazy to understand, but It is how I feel living in another country and learning another culture.
As a final point, I know that there are people who make friends easily. I’m not this kind of person. I also know that it is not easy to start a new life, but I should try to change. Everybody needs friends to make their lives better. Maybe the reason that I don’t feel Chicago is my home is because I don’t have close friends. Normally people try to connect with people who have tastes and passions in common. There is a reason for that, to have a common taste with someone automatically opens up many possibilities for conversation and activities. I should find people who like the same things as me, so I can make this city feel like a temporary home.