American dreams – thoughts from a Thai girl one year after landing in America’s most over the top culture – LA LA Land
What am I doing here? Why did I come here? Do I like America?
These are the questions I’ve been asked over and over the past year since my arrival. My plan to head to America started when I was very young. In Thailand, it’s what brings ‘value’. Parents prefer to send their kids to London or America to study. In Thailand’s materialistic society, people prefer someone who has graduated from an unknown college in London or America than from the most prestigious Bangkok university.
My dad graduated from the University of Miami so he believes in the American education system. He also thought coming to America would help me grow up. He said I was irresponsible. I never had to do anything for myself when I was in Bangkok. Most (well-off) Thai families have maids, gardeners, and drivers, and ours were no different. I guess that’s one of the good things about life in Thailand. You don’t have to be a millionaire to access that lifestyle. He wanted me to go to graduate school but I fought to study fashion so now my ‘fake answer’ to why I came here is, “I came here to study fashion because fashion schools in Bangkok are a joke” but it’s so much more than that and some of the reasons seem lame, almost corny.
My first impression of America has not been so bright. I guess because I landed in L.A. It’s so different from Bangkok. I love a city vibe. I love people. I love seeing the city streets by night – but L.A doesn’t bring me any such joys. The public transportation here is annoying to the max. Where are the taxis? Where are the skytrains? Where is the underground? Why is it is so dirty? The questions never end. However, one thing I like about America is that you can be whatever you are and people will not judge you or put you down.
In Thailand, it’s more close-minded when it comes to self-expression. You can’t be that much different from everybody else; otherwise people will be more than ready to criticize you. Whatever’s ‘in’ is what everybody follows (and i mean EVERYBODY).
But it scares me sometimes when I think about whether I made the right decision. I really don’t know if I did. I do know I didn’t want to look back and say “What If I went to America? What If I took a chance?” At least I did what I wanted to do and followed my heart. I know I will not regret that.
A lot of my friends have asked if I would go back after I graduate. I said YES with no hesitation. I said, I do not like it here. I can’t wait to go back. I can’t wait to party, get drunk, be irresponsible, and be lazy, is what I thought. But now, after one year in this sunny city, there is something that tells me I am going to miss L.A when I go back. And MAY BE someday I will realize L.A is not so bad after all.
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