Life Update. American facts Europeans have no knowledge of. Or I had no knowledge of.
I seem to always draw an excuse from thin air on as why I post a lot for a couple of days and then stop as if somebody shot me in the fingers. Well, I can assure you it was because life decided to deal me an extra bad hand and soak my entire laptop in water (out of literally nowhere) without having any money saved up for either backing up my data or buying a new one. Take it from me, do not water damage your Macbooks, they cost just as much as brand new one. So yes, I have learned a lot in the past month. More than I bargained for. I have 7 weeks left, give or take, until I touch down back home and Lord, have I ever wanted to go back home as much as now!
A lot of people will render me a spoiled brat who takes for granted the one-in-a-lifetime opportunity I received from Wellesley. The thing is, I learned a lot about my spot here in the past weeks. My scholarship, my place in the statistics, and anything in between. Every time I tell a professor I have a 96% scholarship, their jaw drops on the ground. It’s always met with “You must be really special,” or “Wellesley only wants wealthy international students. They must have really wanted you.”
Ok, I get it, I am poor according to American standards (and I am reminded of that every. single. time I go out grocery shopping) and I am here because there is something Wellesley saw in me. I will probably never know exactly what that was/is/whatever, but I will have to live with a burden hovering my head for the rest of my four years here. I haven’t really pondered over it this semester, because of truly not being interested in my grades, but getting accommodated to the lifestyle, the people, and the USA in general. A lot of times, I get the sheer impression that I am on another planet, even though my country is just an ocean away. But it is not improbable. I gathered some strange facts about some of my encounters with American students (both male and female, as a surprise to my mother too) and I have hastily reached certain conclusions. It is to my best of knowledge the tiny amount of time I spent on American soil and I have yet to make a decision on how to judge people, but I am afraid my friends back home are impatient and want to know. “How are the people there treating you?” must be the #1 question I get in every Romanian conversation nowadays.
The strangest fact that I still cannot put my finger on it is they can’t read 24-clocks. As in, I texted my friend the other day saying we should meet at 22. Their reply? “What’s that?” They had to calculate. Not a woman of generalizations, I asked some other American fellows if they didn’t know how to read the 24-analog. Their answer was spurt through chuckles: “Why would we?” So these days, I only use AM or PM to actually meet up with my friends. If they haven’t come up to any of our meetings, it is because they are still trying to calculate the time.
Everybody fucking flosses. I bought two dental floss machineries from CVS and I am still having a hard time trying to understand how to use it. Of course, I am trying, but the bathroom floor is currently drowning in spilled dental flosses from somebody who probably got just as angry as me and threw them in the air. While I was trying for the 10th time to use mine, I voiced my complaints about this issue in the bathroom. A girl simply said: “Yeah, we know Europeans have bad teeth.” I felt so ashamed I think I brushed my teeth twice that night.
If 10 people wear the same thing, expect 70% of the population to wear the exact same thing. In all frankness, I am stupidly scared to write a lot of the things I witness here because of how feisty people get when they feel offended about something you say or endorse. Hear me out and for Heaven’s sakes, not just because I am European. Why is everybody wearing crocs with over the knee socks in leggings? Why is everybody wearing Hunter boots? Literally every girl at Wellesley owns a pair of Hunter boots. And if they don’t, they have a high chance of wearing those hideous L.L. Beans ones. I know that saying in Romanian and it applies internationally too, but I having a hard time understanding where is the diversity. When I go shopping, I am still amazed of how much freedom of choice I have in clothing compared to what I had back home, where going into the capital and buying new clothes is deemed out of the ordinary and cool. Everybody has 1 to 10 different water bottles and caps/headbands and a Patagonia sweater or jacket. Uhm, ok?
Yes, it feels like rehab here. I quit smoking and I drink maybe once a month if I have the chance. And to this point, I don’t know if it is something I do voluntarily or out of necessity. This is a longer story that I think needs to be said. Maybe later, though, I talked too much about my smoking habit.
Talking to my mother the other day about how people actually behave here, this is what I told her:
“You know mom, it seems to me I have a completely different education from the girls here. I mean, you gave me a completely different education from top to bottom. And I don’t mean cleaning up after myself or flossing (chuckles), but about my behavior in relation to others. You didn’t always tell me I had to win even if I didn’t. You didn’t always endorse my ideas just because I had to stand out from the crowd. You told on me when I was wrong. We fought. I wasn’t always right and I knew it, but I still fought. I get the feeling girls here believe they are always right, they need to always win at the expense of everything else and if they don’t, to hell with the rest of us. I get it, let’s hide behind the fact that it is Wellesley and everybody here is indulging in a fairly competitive behavior for the sake of being the best in a crowd of people who consider themselves superior to the average. Yeah, mom, I think I prefer the education I received. How shocking will it be when all these fantastic four years of constantly being told you can conquer the world come to an end and these girls actually face reality? I mean, I don’t know, I’ve barely been here for a semester.”
I’ve been told multiple times by upper-class men that this is the exact case and kudos to me for nailing it from the first time. Oh well, I am guessing that is what will keep me going. Hating on my neighbor for being better than me and having a hell of a hard time recognizing this. At the end of the (Wellesley) day this is what it matters, right?
I am going to stop now and continue my actual life here. I am trying to keep everyone who cares as updated as I possibly can, but you have to remember, I am at an elitist school, I barely have time to wash my hair! If the voice inside your head used a very ironic tone, then I assume my writing got better in time.
I miss home. I miss it much more than I thought I would. But, if I am being completely honest, do I miss home or do I miss what I had back there? Let me ponder on that for a bit.