14 January 2007

America Through The Outsiders' Eyes

While we were in Viet Nam, what little exposure we had about the U.S.A. was mostly through U.S. TV shows like Mission:Impossible, Ironside, Wild Wild West, Star Trek, etc. We knew that the Wild West was conquered while Star Trek only showed the future of a conquered universe. It was shows like Mission:Impossible that gave us a view of real life in America, well, real to the Vietnamese anyway, even if it was a bit skewed. We thought that everyone in America walk around the house in dress shoes. That all Americans were large in size. Imagine our surprise when we first met Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, or other Americans who were not gigantic. Perhaps if we were dropped somewhere in the mid-west our misinformation would be confirmed, but not in the melting pot of New York. We arrived on a cold January night, with snow on the ground from an earlier snowfall, so the situation further supported our wrong view that in America it's always cold. In South Viet Nam, the weather is always warm, albeit wet during certain months, so it seemed perfectly logical that in America, cold winter should be all year round.

The accompanied photo is from one of the early snowfalls we experienced. We were living in Elmhurst, Queens at the moment, which was our second home after the apartment in the Bronx. I know it's not the first snowfall because I remember clearly taking the umbrella to the #4 subway station to meet my mother during one heavy snowfall in the Bronx. Coming from a warm region like South Viet Nam, where there has never been snow, the early snowfalls were very interesting to us. I have other photos showing my teen self making snowballs. Nowadays, I still enjoy playing in the snow, with my son, but sometimes I cannot help groan about shoveling the sidewalk.

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