I moved from Beijing to London with work about seven years ago. I love living in London I have so much more freedom and anonymity then I did in Beijing. No one cares who I am, where I am from, or where I am going. When I lived in Beijing I lived with my parents and there were a lot of cultural expectations placed on me. They really wanted me to be a doctor and they are a bit disappointed that I chose to be a computer programmer.
I recently ran into a former colleague from the Beijing office that now lives in the US. We went to see the play “Let it BE” and then we went for coffee to get caught up on the last seven years of our lives. We spent the first half an hour talking about the play as we both love the Beatles. But soon our conversation turned to the differences between London and the US.
She lived in London for two years before moving to the US with the company. She has been there for about five years now. She is married to an electrical engineer and they live in a small town near Rochester, New York. She works from home most of the time and travels into Manhattan every three months for meetings with the company. She also travels annually to other offices run by the company which is why she is currently in London.
She said one of the biggest differences to get used to in the US was the accents. She had finally grown comfortable using English in London when she left and she said that moving to New York was almost like having to relearn the language. There is a lot of slang used in American English that was different from the jargon she had picked in London.
The other big difference she talked about was that everyone owns guns. Her husband is a member of the National Rifle Association and he owns several guns. He has even taught her how to shoot and they spend an evening a week at the gun range. Most of their friends are also NRA members so it makes sense that guns are such a big part of her life. But she says I would be surprised at how many people in the US own guns.
She has run into so many different people at the gun range. Some people look like ordinary house wives, her professor at a night course she was taking, and even her wedding planner that she used.
They recently went to visit her sister in law in Florida and she said it was even crazier there. She saw a twelve year old boy who lived next door to her family pull out a shotgun when they came home late one night. The sister in law was also always into reloading ammo. She said it was a nice neighbourhood too and it didn’t seem dangerous at all to her.
I have never even seen a gun except on TV, movies, or antiques in the museums I have visited. I can’t imagine living in a place where everyone carries guns.