๐Ÿ‘ Some Do's & Don'ts For The USA ๐Ÿ‘Ž Mentally Preparing To Adapt To Potential 'Merican Life ๐Ÿคฏ

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(Edited)

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A possible interview date for immigration to the USA is on the horizon, and it has me pondering how my Khmer family and I will interact with 'Mericans.

โ˜๏ธ Keep The Conversation Light

ย  ย  ย This video is quite a ramble, but I think there are two core things that I want to convey in this video. The first big thing I am always reminded after returning to the USA for visits from abroad is that conversation must be kept very light and casual.

ย  ย  ย Even with close friends and family members, it's best to just talk about very simple things while watching them watch television. Conversation with most Americans must be kept very light, and it's best to talk about the following three things: sports, the weather, and movies/television shows.

๐Ÿ™…โ€โ™‚๏ธ Americans Aren't Socially/Emotionally Available

ย  ย  ย The other thing that always shocks me when I visit the USA is how emotionally and socially unavailable most Americans are. In Cambodia it's common for a total stranger to spark up a conversation about some serious stuff with little foreplay, and I love and miss this directness. If you look a little sad when you walk down the street to grab an ice cold coconut, your village coconut hawker might ask you what's wrong and try to offer some kind of assistance.

ย  ย  ย I am always shocked that I can't be "as real" with my former hometown highschool friends as I can be with my local coconut lady in Cambodia, whose name I don't even know. I think it's the lack of a "village attitude" in the USA that cause many Americans to never even know the names of neighbors they've lived next to for 30 years.

ย  ย  ย Well....that's the best summary I can provide about this cultural ramble, and I hope I do get see some hilarious Cambodian-American interactions at the local Wal-Mart.

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21 comments
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Reverse culture shock I call it. I have to get my mind right every-time I go to JA. Your fam will probably get used to the American vibes as a lot of it is "as seen on Tv" LOL.


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Japan to Jamaica is about one of the most extreme shifts I can imagine. I think the most important one-liner they might need in the USA is just "'Merica!" If they get lost in conversation or don't understand what they've been asked, I think shouting out "'Merica" might get them through most situations.

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It is amazing that you have the opportunity to move with your family because no matter the culture shocks and differences, you would still have people to relate with.

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Yes, it will be like seeing my own country through foreign eyes, although I must admit it's already felt that way to me for over 10 years. I feel very disconnected with most of my fellow 'Mericans. I can already imagine how difficult it will be to make most people in my town understand that my family is not Mexican. There will certainly be lots of awkward and funny moments.

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I like your hat it reminds me of a character that I really liked when I was a kid

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Oh, I need to know the name, I am thinking it might be "Ali Baba." A lot of Khmer people call me by that name.

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(Edited)

In the past few years, so many things have become "politicized" that safe topics of conversation have dwindled dramatically.

A deli employee at my local market apologized to a customer recently for having to wait a few minutes to be served since they were understaffed. What should have been a simple acknowledgement of the apology turned, instead, into a long diatribe from the customer about how "every business is short-staffed nowadays because the idiotic officials in the government provided extra unemployment benefits during the COVID pandemic, and now the lazy bums don't want to work anymore, blah, blah, blah..." ๐Ÿ™„

So, now even the simplest of statements about almost any topic are twisted and turned into political rants. It's ridiculous.

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There is another perfect example, and that's all the more reason to stick to sports, weather, and reality television, unless it's with the closest of friends, and maybe not even in those circumstances too.

I think this politicization is by design, but that's another thing probably not to talk about. Anyways, "You been gettin' a lot of rain?" "How 'bout those Bulls this year?" See, I'm nearly ready.

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Food is also a safe topic, too, in general, as long as one doesn't get too-deep into discussions of veganism and such: "Only my grandma could make cornbread as good as this!" ๐Ÿ˜

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This is quite fascinating. I can understand what you say about Cambodians because we Venezuelans have the same approach toward strangers, we can strike a beautiful conversation with basically anyone. Since I've never actually left the country for prolonged periods of time, I'm mostly unaware of how that's perceived elsewhere, but now that you mention all of those issues with communication in the U.S., I have a clearer idea of why so many interactions that I've had with Americans have been so frustrating. I think you nailed the feel with those descriptors, emotional and social unavailability.

May your path back to the U.S. and then to Cambodia be clear of all hurdles so that you and your family can be free of the burden of anxiety once and for all!

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I would've never had these realizations unless I had worked and hung out with Haitian, Mexican, and Dominican immigrants in the USA. They were the ones who made look at my own country and culture from an outside perspective. With this info in mind, I have become an expert weather chatter. Just yesterday we got a notification stating that my wife's birth certificate and criminal background check aren't valid documents, so our path to the USA is likely over now, but we have nowhere else to go.

Right now we're trying to make a plan for how we will split and hopefully reunite in the future once bureaucracy is conquered. So far it looks like it'll be possible for me to return to Cambodia later this year. Give thanks for the positive words my friend.

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Can't you extend a passport at any American embassy? I did it overseas before. I think you can do it 6 months before it expires too. I think in some situations you can even do it by mail, though not sure about that.

I like using our secret languages too, though it's not uncommon to run into Mandarin speakers everywhere.

I don't know your hometown obviously, but I was surprised by how much things have changed. Not saying people are gonna know a ton about Cambodia, but perhaps it'll be more than it was last time you were there.

Hope you can have fun with it. I always make a game out of trying to stay calm when faced with silly stuff and trying to turn unlikely situations into fun ones, trying to turn serious conversations into silly ones. You have way more power over the conversation than you think, you just gotta avoid pushing the wrong buttons. I totally get where you are coming from, I avoid American circles here and going back is a challenge but it's actually really fun to challenge yourself.

For those of us who didn't really feel home in our home country, it's really easy to see the negative in everything, like a final boss to be able to feel chill there, though I wouldn't relocate there for good!

I want to master the art of changing topics and getting people playful. TOUCHDOWNS!!! GO TOUCHDOWNS!!!!!

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Most American Embassies will renew passports, it's easy-peasy. But in my daughter's case, she's Cambodian-only nationality. and her passport is expiring soon. It's nothing short of impossible to try and renew it via the Cambodian Embassy in Havana, Cuba. We need to get her moving soon before she gets stuck here without representation which would render almost stateless.

Last night I got a notification stating that my wife's birth certificate and criminal check were denied by the USCIS, so it looks this has all been in vane. We are now trying to figure out a path to Cambodia, minus the $12k in savings that took us 6 years to save that the US government now has.

Looks like I won't have to worry about 'Merican conversations after all. BLUE! 42! Hut, Hut, HIKE!

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I was watching this video the other day, actually broke it down to several portion since I was

  1. brushing up

  2. breakfast

  3. walking my way to my car and started driving

And after the video was done, and totally swiped left until today manage to find back and comment.

There's only one thing I would like to put my comment in, which is the grass at the other side are greener. I have friends that migrated to Dallas and have absolutely no problem there. It's like they're born to be American. And these friends is like, c'mon Dave, you know you're a freakin Merikan. Which I still don't have the confident to deny ๐Ÿคฃ

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I think just like some of your friends were born to 'Merican, I was perhaps born to be Cambodian. The only problem with the grass being greener on the other side is when you spent 10 years on the other side, and you know how delicious the grass, but you can't go.

Well, anyhow, it looks like there will be a chance for us to go to Thailand or Vietnam if Cambodia doesn't flesh out.

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