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I just read with great interest the article entitled "Holocaust Survivor Leaving US" and have a comment.
Just two weeks ago I made a short trip to San Diego CA accompanying my husband who was attending there an international conference. It was the first time I was going back to the US after ten years of living in Europe: I am Romanian and live in Switzerland. Between 1992-1995 I studied and lived in Washington DC.
When coming from Europe, visiting the US seems like letting sunshine coming in your heart. People are open, nice, genuine helpful and friendly, always ready to look without fear or suspicion into your eyes and tell you something that brings a smile on your face. I love traveling in the US. "Yes, but you know, they are superficial" sounds the European stereotype answer when I speak enthusiastically about Americans. "So what?" I reply crankily, "I don't need to marry them! I just enjoy a smile and a good mood for a few seconds and that's enough to make me feel happy. In Europe this is rare."
Compared to the US neither Switzerland nor Romania offer to a traveler so many spontaneous smiles, the lightness of being, the simple care for a general pleasant atmosphere in any public space be it the street, a lobby, a shop, a restaurant or even a public restroom. In Switzerland people are mostly distant and reserved. In Romania they are often frustrated, sad or mad and they show it to spoil the ambiance. In the US people see and treat each other with a sort of disinterested kindness, which is neither intruding someone's privacy, nor does it look for gossip. It is just an attitude which tries to make the best of the present moment - here and now. I like it.