In my first months in the USA I was terrified to be alone with an American. Not alone like being in the elevator with someone. But alone like in the car with someone or alone getting lunch with a colleague. I was always afraid to not being able to understand that someone, not being able to keep a conversation going or just afraid of talking weird english. I was equally terrified to meet new people.
I don’t know when it happened, but this week I realized that I haven’t felt like this in a long time. If I get to drive one of my colleagues home after work, I actually enjoy the conversation and don’t even think about how my english might sound. Also meeting new people is no longer a stressful situation, but a really nice and exciting thing to do.
I actually believe that this kind of makes the US more home to me than a comfortable apartment for example can. Because without feeling comfortable speaking a new language and without being comfortable talking to the people that surround you, I don’t think you can call a place home! At least to me the fact that my panic mode is no longer turned on means the world! And it also makes me feel proud. Proud of being able to say I let my guard down and through that not even gained a whole lot of confidence, but also new friends!