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stories poetry writings by Asvoria1

DD DLD Lit by Blacksand459


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August 28, 2011
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America alienates me.
From touchdown in Atlanta it is obvious I am, so to speak, no longer in Kansas.
I am asked what I am doing here. Repeatedly, and not always in a nice way. I want to answer with the obvious, that I am queuing endlessly for the privilege of being cross examined by an unfriendly customs officer who wants to know all kind of private details my best friend doesn't even know, but I swallow it back and smile meekly, while trying to act like I am not nervous, frustrated and insulted.
Procedures, waiting lines, probing questions, stamps and signatures, and then, finally, the liberating "Enjoy the United States".
I never felt more alien.

Security checks,
passports, fingerprints, eye scans...
I just want my love.

******************************************************************************************

America amuses me.
This first meeting scratches only at the surface. I encounter all the clichés and smile inwardly: the food portions, the convenience stores, the SUVs.
I see the tanned blonde valley girls driving a block to continue shopping in another part of American suburbia, which seems to my European eyes to be one big conglomerate of malls, fast food chains and churches. I lose my balance every time I enter a building and am hit by fierce air conditioning and I forget to tip – all these little weird Americana that just seem funny to me.
I take pictures of people's ordinary lives, as if they were monkeys in the zoo.

Cliché on cliché.
My mind is too overwhelmed
to see deeper yet.

******************************************************************************************

America welcomes me.
I blend in here. I know the words to say, the things I am expected to do. I know how society functions, here. I do not look like I'm out of place, here.
Sometimes I feel like I'm setting foot in a cherished childhood place I haven't been to in years. I feel like finding back memories I believed long lost.
I look around and I feel I have come home.
But that cannot be true. I have never been here.
Yet - the drive ins, the burgers and shakes, the travel coffee cups from Starbucks, the numbered streets - it is all so comfortably familiar.

Recognition time.
Mailbox, marquee and school bus:
saw them on tv.

******************************************************************************************

America worries me.
How can a civilized country be so backwards at times?
This thought I keep to myself. I shut my mouth tight when the conversation has the slightest hint of turning to politics.
Secretly I like my socialist Europe, where instead of being an insult or an accusation, that word means first class public education, a functioning transportation system, affordable health care and solidarity between citizens.
In theory at least - for I am not blind to the malfunctions in my homeland, which has been without a government for fifteen months.
But I do not raise the topic. I count the stars on one of the enormous red-blue-white displays of patriotism I come across.

It is different.
Not better and not worse.
I adapt. Slowly.

******************************************************************************************

America fascinates me.
It always has and never ceases to.
Every time I believe I have figured it out, this vast country, its people, their culture and mindsets and beliefs, I turn a corner and I am taken by surprise again by some new, fresh, unexpected side of America.
This land has to live with the knowledge that the eyes of the world are always on it. It is the yardstick whereby everything else is measured. An example either to follow or to avoid, it leaves nobody indifferent. Love it or hate it, there is no in between.
After three weeks, I have come to new insights. I carry this weird and wonderful country in my heart as I leave.
Nobody wants to see my passport on the way out.

I'm not who I was.
I take home more than I brought
in my bag and mind.
A series of five haibun for the Narrow Roads 2011 contest hosted by :iconthe-haiku-club:.

As most of you know I have been to the US for the first time ever this summer, and I am still coming to terms with all I saw and experienced. This is some of that in haibun form.
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Daily Deviation

Given 2013-09-12
:icongdeyke:
GDeyke Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2013   Writer
This is insightful and interesting - I keep coming back to it. Thank you for writing this.
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:iconprettycrazy:
PrettyCrazy Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you and you're welcome!
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:iconwyldhoney:
wyldhoney Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Congratulations on the DD! It's certainly a well-balanced combination of observation and interpretation, and discovering we are countrymates was a nice surprise as well! :D
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:iconprettycrazy:
PrettyCrazy Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks! And not only are we fellow Belgians (where from?) but we seem to share a love for Pratchett, judging by your signature line...
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:iconwyldhoney:
wyldhoney Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I currently live in Beringen, but I originate from the well-unknown village Niel-Bij-As. ;p

And yes, I love Pratchett! :D
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:iconarthisa:
Arthisa Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
This is kind of perfect. Haha... I'm a university student in the US, and this is exactly how it feels to me. America, land of contradictions. So fresh and wonderful and infuriating.
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:iconprettycrazy:
PrettyCrazy Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Indeed! At times I long to go live there, at times it feels like I wouldn't be caught dead there... Enjoy it as much as you can (and enjoy uni too, it's the best time of your life! I speak from experience!) and make it better in every small way you can.
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:iconalecbell:
AlecBell Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2013
Congratulations, An :heart:
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:iconprettycrazy:
PrettyCrazy Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you, Alec. At least when we come to your poetry night I'll have one poem that may be good enough to read. ;)
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:iconalecbell:
AlecBell Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2013
I'm looking forward to your visit!!
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