100 Reasons I love America

I admit I am stretching and searching the corners of my mind at this point to complete a 100 reasons to love America as an Immigrant. I did manage to find these reasons, big and small though, that ring true to me:

#71 The Magic of July 4th

Magic is in the air on July 4th. I love how all of America comes together to celebrate the day with parades and spectacular fireworks. Something for the whole family to look forward to and a tradition that becomes more special as memories of watching the magical lights shoot into the dark and endless skies accumulate over the years.

#72 Children’s Public Playgrounds

I was recently at the Magical Bridge Playground in Palo Alto and was amazed at how delightful the playground was even for adults. It was also designed with pleasing colors, a complete feast to the senses! The fact that my kids have access to these beautiful, clean playgrounds is a reason I love this country.

#73 Safety Drills

I wrote about safety earlier but this is especially about the safety drills (fire drills, earth quake drills and so on) in schools and work places and how meticulous and complete they are — something I had not experienced or was even aware of growing up in India!

#74 Realizing Dreams

America is a country that encourages you to dream, work hard and bring to life exactly what you envisioned. In my own repertoire of real life stories I have heard, incidents abound of uncles and aunts coming to America with a few crumpled dollar notes in their pockets and dreaming big and making those dreams come true be it establishing a business, doing a series of start-ups or buying your first home, it is indeed possible to aim and succeed here!

#75 Drawing Boundaries

This relates to a previous note I had written about how much society influences an individual’s decision making process in India. Along those same lines, it can be challenging to draw strict boundaries in India and do whatever it is that you wish to do. Opinions, words of wisdom, incredulous looks and ridicule might follow and sometimes can be strong enough to break down your resolve. I feel I can draw boundaries better here and simply call out people that step over those boundaries.

#76 Living the life you want to lead or Separation of Concerns

Societal pressure is strong enough in India to sometimes become the voice you hear in your head. Whether it be the constant advice your parents give you or what goes for wisdom doled out in generous quantities by relatives and grandparents, sometimes the constant din and repetition replaces some of your own original yearnings and wonderings. Their concerns become entangled with yours and what results is a mishmash of what you want and what others want, leaving everyone and no one completely satisfied with the end result.

#77 Double Standards

I dislike how we Indians (disclaimer, some of us!) claim to belong to an orthodox, traditional society looking down upon things like smoking, alcoholism, drugs and how we believe our women should be the opposite of everything that hints on promiscuity while we (some of the we!) secretly fantasize about indulging in exactly the same things we outwardly despise! America is more open about these and several other topics. Moral pretense is not a requirement here.

#78 Discovering myself

Due to some of the reasons mentioned above and that I have called out in previous posts, I feel like I am going through the journey of discovering myself 10 years later than I should have. My parents’ protective shadows and the various ways I dependended on the services and people around me in India clouded my understanding of who I really was and what I wanted to make out of this life. I don’t have the answers now but I have more clarity of thought when I think about these topics. Threads I can process without entanglement :)

#79 Ability to Experiment

Another related theme is how less I experimented with life as I grew up to be a young adult in India. There are so many more things I should have tried but shied away from because of the limits I imposed on myself and the limits society and people managed to impose on me overtly and otherwise. America lets me freely experiment which brings us to…

#80 Failing

Limited experiments, parents and a society telling you constantly what is right and wrong and entanglement means Indian kids don’t learn to fail well. Failure is looked down upon and a stigma that is hard to shake off. At least that’s what I assumed growing up in India. “Why take the unnecessary risk?” “What if you can’t find another job? Why not adjust with the same job?” “Why quit and launch your own business?” Questions that I have often heard from the country of my birth. America (at least in Silicon Valley) gives me very different messages about failing and I feel compelled to listen and fail and get up, dust off and do something new.

What you just now read are part of my reasons to love America as an Indian immigrant here. Why pen this down ? What is my ulterior motive? What are the other reasons? Read here to find out!