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A Little Taste of My Extraordinary Experiences in the U.S.

David Velich

Moving from one country to another country frequently brings a variety of fruitful experiences and memories. However, it can occasionally result in a bizarre adventure that will be remembered for rest of one's life. Even though my experiences moving from the Czech Republic to the United States of America were not shocking, they still were interesting in three characteristic ways.


First, finding out that sports are generally organized through high school and college, unlike in the Czech Republic, was surprising. Honestly, I felt like someone was making fun of me, mainly due to language barriers. At age fifteen, I received a great opportunity to continue my studies and to play ice hockey in America, even though I thought representing high school or college in a given sport was only attainable in my dreams. Such an education system in Europe is extremely limited. Athletes cannot manage performing their sport in college since the Czech educational system does not offer similar opportunities. As a matter of fact, it is almost impossible to combine both at once. It is well known in society that any type of "pro" sport is enormously time consuming. The athletes are consequently forced to decide whether to continue studying or practicing their sport professionally. Therefore, being able to combine hockey and education at the same time made my dreams come true.


Second, noticing the friendly and welcoming nature of people in America has, plainly said, made me shed tears. I was indeed aware from my brother Jan's narratives about people's friendliness and willingness to talk in the States. However, having a stranger chat with me about the baseball team on my t-shirt was more than surprising; it was horrifying. So horrifying, that I was considering flying back home in a short period of time. The fact that I was scared does not mean that people in the Czech Republic, or generally in Europe, are closed to friendly conversation. Yet, talking about teams on clothing would rarely occur. Personalities of people, especially in the Czech Republic, are rather private if one is not familiar with another person. Thus, imagine a young boy, who does not even know how to speak English, reacting when a stranger comes up and immediately starts conversing to this, I have been more than pleased by people's curiosity in the States about my home country and their sociability.

Finally, the third characteristic of my surprising experi­ences was caused by a rushing lifestyle and change of food. This may not seem unusual or not serious, but coming from an outlying part of the world where traditional food and consumption of beer is connected to culture, this has been the most difficult challenge. For instance, Czechs eat fish along with potato salad on Christmas Eve, duck or rabbit meat with dumplings and sauerkraut on Sundays, and so on. It is our own extraordinary food that is not exactly seen anywhere else around the globe. Nevertheless, the food in America is pretty tasty. It contains a tremendous amount of sugar, salt and fat, thus making the food truly "rich," sometimes too rich. The foods in the Czech Republic do not contain nearly as much of these ingredients, and as a result, getting used to the food in the States was honestly tough.


The rushing lifestyle has overwhelmed me, as well. What I have figured out is that almost everyone is in a rush. In Europe, and especially in the Czech Republic, time goes at a slower pace; people take their time while eating, walking, and simply doing almost anything that takes time. This change was, therefore, disturbing because the first few weeks I was late for class and hockey practice on a daily basis.


Depending on the country I am in, I will always have to adjust to that country's customs. Though some experiences may not be pleasant, they will surely be remembered for the rest of my life. Although my experiences moving from the Czech Republic to the United States were exciting in three characteristic ways, they were still intense and especially surprising. 

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