United States of America – An Introduction To The Country With No Singular Specific Cultural Identity
Yeah I know the title was not that good. A lot of people may raise their eye brows on me and looking at me like “How dare you to say that?”.
I didn’t mean bad thing when I made that title, I didn’t even think a negative about it. I know that the time I spent in USA was not enough to observe the overall culture, ethics, beliefs and even its politics to say about one country.
We usually heard that USA is “Land of the Free”. That’s why the Statue of Liberty in New York represents USA as a country because it symbolises what’s the real thing going on inside this one of the powerful country in the world.
As I traveled to not so many countries and observed the cultural identities of each country that I visited. It emanates the heritage and culture so much in-depth that even we live now in modern times of our days, it still reflects in our way of living, way of our thinking and belief.
Because USA is one of the country that opens its door to the world at earlier times where it allows any color or race to accept in their country. Yes there are countries that automatically can come without visa and there are countries that they are very strict but they still give you a chance to be fair in each citizen from all over the world (if not 100%) to migrate. With that part of their history, cultures from different countries brought to this huge continent like country and these culture identities are spread in different states and cities that no one can really identify if USA has been more influence of specific culture. One culture identity maybe noticeable in one place but cannot be said that its noticeable to the whole country. I looked at USA as a country with multi-cultural identity. The foreign cultural influence in this country from outside maybe observed from different places but in totality the effect is not a whole wide country as we see this huge country is so big that the impact will be really widespread and so deep. Because of mix culture influence, there are times that people or even myself make mistakes where the culture, norms or ethics may come from. I hope that for 10 years visa that was given to me, I will be able to explore more and learn more this country being called “Land of the Free”.
USA is a country that impossible for me to reach. The first time that I applied for US Visa last 2011 had been denied, the reason given to me was I don’t have strong family ties to come back to Philippines. I was sad at that time because my chance to travel to USA was gone. At that time that I applied for business visa was through personal or individual application because the company that sponsoring my visa application is not qualified for PIP (priority interview program) due to not meeting the required employee headcount (which for what I know must be at least a hundred employee before able to pass that program) and the company that I was affiliated with just have around 50 employees.
Because of the experienced of my first time application was bad, I removed USA in my bucket list that I plan to travel in the near future.
Unexpected happened in the company and never thought nor dream that it will happen. My boss at work talked to me that I may engage with the project in USA though it was not sure yet at that time. The project is engaging USA client. That thought in mind I still never think that I will be going to USA. Few weeks passed and the local manager in the project pushed me to process my visa application. This time it’s different because the company that I’m currently working is in PIP (Priority Interview Program). At least in this second time of visa application there’s a bit of help from the company. My interview was set and I was oriented by my company to be able to pass the consul officer interview. I went in US Embassy (which located at Roxas Boulevard) at least more than half an hour of my assigned schedule. Like no other embassies that I visited, USA always overwhelmed me. Long queue of schedule interview is noticeable. I adjusted myself in the queue that goes inside the embassy. I followed the usual protocol inside the embassy.
When it was my turn to stand in one of the window to speak with Consulate Officers, I was asked for questions and answered promptly. There’s a question that I haven’t finished answering as the officer and he followed another question. He asked me which countries that I already visited and mentioned, Japan, South Korea and Australia. When I mentioned Australia, he checked my passport. Then, the officer checked my documents, he noticed about something in my guaranteed letter. The officer told me that he didn’t recognize the person signed my guaranteed letter. I was thinking what he’s trying to relay to me until I realized that there are only 3 people who are authorized to sign guaranteed letter and remembered the one signed in my document was not included in the three names that I know. I haven’t learned this until the officer gave me a green paper and advised me to submit it again. I thought my visa application will be denied again and thankful that there’s still chance.
I received the green paper and left the embassy. The next day I process the submission of the documents and included my passport. After a week, the passport sent to me and I got 10 years multiple entries for B1/B2 visa. I was really ecstatic that my visa application was approved for second time.
After few days that I received my visa, I was scheduled to fly to USA at the last day of October. I was planned to work in the client starting the 2nd of November and will work within 3 weeks.
My inbound flight was through Narita International Airport in Japan and Los Angeles International Airport in California USA. This means that my port of entry to USA is in LA. One thing to note as important facts about my entry in the said airport was because of the custom and immigration officer that I saw while I was on queue for passport check. At first, I did not notice how cute he was, but because it seems he’s in charge with people who speaks a different language, it seems he speaks Mexican-Spanish language. Until I looked at him and I realized that he’s not just cute but a handsome one. Because of him I never felt that my waiting time in the line was a bit long but I just enjoyed simply watching what he’s doing. I tried my best not to be obvious while I was sneaking a glance on him. He’s not a typical white American, I can guess he’s Mexican or Spanish-American. I wished that I will be standing in his front to check my passport but unfortunately someone went into him instead of me, it was not my luck to see him up close.
After passing the immigration officer, I have to take care of my luggage and work my way to transfer for domestic flight to Atlanta Georgia. All my flight booking were all Delta Airlines.
I arrived at Saturday night in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. And it’s been raining in Atlanta. I took the cab to the hotel that I was booked. Once I arrived at the hotel, I immediately checked-in, had dinner and concluded the day.
The next day was Sunday which was good for me so I can rest for another day. I was having trouble to properly sleep. I knew what it meant, it was a jet lag. I came from a country with 12-hours difference that day and will be switching to 13-hours difference as day light saving time had been ended. Because of rain and gloomy weather, though I wanted go outside to take an opportunity to see more about Altanta, but I wasn’t able to do. That time I haven’t figured out how I will use public transportation.
From the past 22 days of staying Atlanta, I wasn’t really able enjoy much of my days in the city because from the time that I arrived in Atlanta, it never stopped raining up to my 10th days in the city. The first weekend was spent in the hotel after I arrived, the second weekend was the same as still raining and drizzling around the city.
I only able to see some part of Atlanta during my last weekend before I come back to my country.
Here are some places that I got a chance to visit.
1. World of Coca Cola
2. Center for Civil and Human Rights Museum
3. Georgia Aquarium
4. Fox Theatre
5. Peachtree Street
6. Pemberton Place
7. Centennial Olympic Park
8. Underground Atlanta
9. Margaret Mitchell House