Aug 9, 2010

My American Journey. Summer 2010. A Travel Diary - The Retrospective Reflection. Emotions, Memories, Still Hot and Frenzied

Back home again. I had a head-on come back the past week, continuing the hippie-style hanging out with friends, along with some clubbing and drinking lots of wine and beer, yeah. Lol. I went up to some very refreshing mountain hiking, climbing to
Mt. Vitosha’s ‘Kamen del’ summit at the northern side of the mountain, steeply overlooking the city. One of my favorite spots, good for contemplation and experience one of those abstract moments when you step out and feel as one with the mystery of creation. Me and mom went up to Musala summit on Mt. Rila this weekend. It was her first time there. The views were mesmerizing, as always, and the weather not so bad with just a few lightnings here and there behind the distant ridges, some fog that came and went blown by the wind and a little precipitation. The beginning of every trek is the hardest, I have established. You set up your mindset and adjust your body to the physical demands of the environment. Then gradually you settle up your pace and this moment comes when I feel that the more i walk the more I can walk, with some relaxing brakes in between of course. The experience one gains on the mountain trails is so enriching, so powerful and sometimes altering. Just like meeting with new cultures in unexplored cities, although the experience one gains from Nature is mostly one about oneSelf. While new cultures teach you a lot of exterior knowledge, about history and traditions, about peoples and social evolution. You can’t compare exploring mountain trails and exploring new cities, they are both different and both so awesome. I love it. I love my country too, the plains, the mountains, the waters, it’s beauty.

This summer has been quite a cloudy and rainy one here with a lot of thunderstorms. Strange, early spring or fall-like weather conditions. It’s hot and slightly dampy, though it is nothing like in NYC, lol. Last summer was the same. The weather is going crazy alright. Heat waves and excessive water bring misery to communities all over the globe. Last winter snow fell on the beaches of Spain and this summer Russia is being scourged in heat. Seems like the weather swings more and more to the extremes. Surely all this is a part of a pattern that spans much more than the history of human civilization in time. The weather is a complex thing, just like about everything in this world, even though its’ seeming simplicity. Of course, the most complex things many times prove to be of the most simple nature, but that is a matter of perspectives. Anyway, there is the Sun, Earth’s orbit around it and the axes of those two cosmic bodies, then there are magnetic fields, ocean currents and movements of air masses, atmospheric pressures and all the local weather systems that play role.

Wait, why I am talking about the weather? Lol, i may expand on this topic at another time, Global Warming and stuff is a trendy topic nowadays. A major change in technology is imminent, however, and the vibe of the buzz is filling the air. The dead of oil-based technology draws near, however the resistance of big corporations and along this change, another change in minds is also very strong as unfolding potential. A lot of changes, so much potential. But may be that’s how it always has been. After all, human history is one of constant change, the air has always been filled with potential. It is just that the more knowledge we gain collectively in history, the more we progress in it and with the lots of much more humans alive in the past half a century than any other time in history, the less time between great discoveries, advancements and major changes in different aspects and even global ones. So that is why every following century is filled with even more action, progressions of events and historical excitement than the one before. Of course, this progression of human history may turn out in a very different and unexpected way. Imagine it is not all constant advancement that we are facing in this route, I mean, in the cosmos things are made up to follow a rather sharp parabolic curve in their existence, that is a slower beginning, then accelerating peak, then sharp drop down and gradual deceleration towards an existential end or more like a transformation of energies. Either way, it is end for one form of existence, which is the one we are concerned with right now. Left? (wink)

So anyway, back to Earth. It’s good to have Euronews and the documentary channels again and 3in1 instant coffee, lol. There is no Monster energy drinks here though and all the smart and superfoods loaded with a bunch of vitamins so plentiful in US grocery venues. So sad. We definitely need to import these, I’m sure they will have a lot of fans here, along myself.

Looking back now and comparing, I come to see and appreciate the whole of my experience with American culture better, much better even, clearer the details, the knowledge and impressions gained. It is interesting that in order to gain objectivity in your outlook, you have to step out, sometimes literally, but always, this is a rule. Actually, that is why it is easier to judge others than yourself, and be critical to other cultures than your own. Because of human mind being subjective by default and thus all of its experience and the interpretation of this experience. But if you step out you begin to see, when you step out and soar above or position yourself at a center, not at any side.

Speaking of energy drinks, one peculiar difference element is the can size I wondered at much earlier, though haven’t mentioned it so far. In NYC there where three different sizes from which one could choose, that is a medium and big, apart from the standard small size. Like the drinks in fast food chains. I haven’t seen other sizes of cans here in my country, just the standard ones, whether energy drink or soda.

It is a small detail that speaks something on its own about the interesting mechanism of the commercial aspect of American society. The buy-more-pay-less rule is always valid, whether on consumer or industrial scale. The more you produce, the less the cost of every individual production unit and the more you buy, the less you pay per liter or Kg. It is a weird presumption of economics really. I’m sure the whole system can be much more productive and less burdening. After all, economic theory and practice does need a major update after a couple of centuries in use, don’t you think? Anyway, the buy-more-pay-less deal is all prevailing in USA. The up-side is for the businesses that sell more and profit more and consumers get more for less money, however there is a subtle trickstery attached to this market strategy. That is, people are lured to consume more, which leads to other negative effects like obesity and lack of appreciation, which leads to food-fights popular in US culture.

This is just one element in the precarious imbalance of global economy, of course. The buy-more strategy has more up-turns for businesses in the end and overall it seems that US economy favors businesses more than consumers. Corporations over individuals from the general population. The ultimate capitalism, where social ideals are not recognized as anything profitable and thus desirable, even though the warm sentiments of the US Constitution. Anyway, there are a lot of opportunities for making profit in USA, this is true, and it is a great place to do business and trade.

Oh yeah, the black spots all over the streets that I roamed in NYC I told you about in previous posts, I saw the same on public walkways in my city here too. It is a strange thing I never really noticed these before. However, their quantity is way less here and they are absent on many other streets and pavements around the downtown area, where most people converge. Samantha suggested they are old, covered with a thick layer of street dust chewing gums and said that in her city, Rio de Janeiro, the streets also have them and that at places like bus stops they were really a lot.

Peculiar element indeed, I think it has something to do with cultural habits. The bus stops here are not littered with black spots and the streets are rather clean in comparison really, however there is no air condition in public transport. So inconvenient, mostly during the summer that is, at winter there are air heaters on, though sometimes this is annoying when your clothes are warm enough for outside and you don’t want to remove your jacket, hat and everything while riding the bus.

Another small peculiarity I stumbled upon while in the US that came to explanation here were the cigarettes that always lit off when left in the ashtray to burn. My uncle told me this was probably a precaution measure to prevent forest fires, for example. Hmm, interesting suggestion. Instead of relying on people’s conscience and awareness, just make the tobacco fire-proof. You simply can’t rely on people’s conscious behavior, that is why laws, automated mechanisms and bio-engineered tobacco are needed to keep things smooth and safe in check. It will not be too long until cars become fully automated, similar to the scenario showed in Minority Report in this regard, I’m sure.

It is so strange really that people always needed to impose upon themselves social orders and systems in order to attain collective self-control. That’s probably because the individual self-control and awareness have been always missing. So sad. It turned out that we still live at the end of the Middle Ages. Even societies from industrially developed countries still bear so many elements from the past, too much.

On the whole, having still been ruled by instinctive motivators of greed, selfishness, segregation, aggression, domination, lust and all the primitive behavioral patterns and frames that lead to all the different variations of the intrinsic human behavior. Yes, variations, that’s what makes us different. There is rarely anything new or unique in what’s done, in what humans do. Mostly different ways of doing, different paths and recombinations in an increasingly more complex urban environment.

I now confirm to myself that people are pretty much the same. No matter where in the world. No matter whether they belong to a society from the East or from the West. Religions and traditions can make societies quite different from one another, yet the basic human behavior, their aspirations, needs, strives, emotions and relationships are very much the same. People are not that different, at all.

And American society, especially the cosmopolitan one that is found in NYC, is a really interesting experiment, a phenomenon even. Consisting of so many different peoples coming from different cultures, religions and traditions that are kept alive and practiced by all the ethnic groups living together there and yet all the groups are collectively unified under their American Dream and its cultural identifiers. Like a prototype of the future unified global human society. Though, a very unpolished and undeveloped prototype, as I don’t think an economic capitalism with this strong feudal elements is anything peacefully sustainable and positive for a healthy and well balanced society. Of course, there is time for the future humanity and right now things are the way they are, hardly changeable “overnight”.

So, we have to enjoy, since we are here now anyway and lay the foundations for a renewed humanity today, plant the seed, so it can grow and bloom in generations to follow.

I miss Samantha, I sincerely hope she finds her way and accomplishes what she came in New York city for, enroll in professional photography course and find an artistic job in this field, that will grow her from within and bring her a lot of experience. I contemplate on Michael too, it was a strange meeting, and all the intrigues that entangled on the job during this month working for Evelyn Hill, and all the craziness that followed after I decided to leave it and go freelance. Man, I had an awesome summer, just wicked.

Well, I didn’t really made any money, apart from those spent there. And now I have a loan of a couple-o-thousand dollar to return here to my employer-partner with whom we work in eBay, which should be cleared in an year or so worth of monthly bonuses, provided sales are good and better. I’m thinking on proposing an expansion of our e-commerce venture to other trade networks as well, maybe even creating a commercial website on our own, along with our eBay activity, all to boost profits and return money faster.

So there, something positive out of it, a sort of business expansion with willingness to invest more time into, which was something I was trying to avoid previously, because I needed a good part-time job, you know, to have time for study and writing and everything. And this eBay opportunity that popped-up was the perfect thing, considering the very little developed e-commerce and online services fields here in Bulgaria. Anyway, all will be good, I’m sure.

I kind of miss New York now, that city charmed me really, though it feels good to be home after all. Even though I do appreciate that it is a lot easier to start a business or make decent money in NYC than it is here in my city, Sophia. However, the real estate here is much more reasonable on the other hand, of course, not if you are on the average salary.

USA may be a weird place, but it is not so bad place to be after all, at least New York city, has a lot of vibe and possibilities.

Anyway, right now I have to readjust my mindset and do some study for the exams that are due at the beginning of September and then I have to pull all my thoughts together and organize them, concentrate and put all my creativity into completing my book by the end of the year. And next summer I have to graduate my BA. In between all this I must, absolutely must think out a way to establish a good and sustainable income, did some brainstorming today, but all I can think up so far is e-shop with a touch of unconventionality. I have no idea how and where I can supply the inventory, so far. A very basic draft idea that I’ve been having lurking in the back of my mind for some months now. We shall see.

On the photos: Upwards Musala summit. The first photo: a bad photo from Kamen del summit overlooking Sofia city.

p e a c e ;}


Anonymous said...

Man proposes, God disposes..................................................................

Ateviel Al Bulgari said...

Indeed, my friend, indeed. God disposes to the most persistent, usually, of curse, there is the luck of the beginner, though you can't count on it

Anonymous said...

睇完之後覺得有d頓悟..感謝大大分享..˙ 3˙............................................................

Ateviel Al Bulgari said...

You are welcome. Enlightment by itself is a sequence of sudden enlightments, those deep moments of "perfect clarification" as spontaneous connections are made b/w pieces of your knowledge. Moments like this in a chain in the process of realization that takes place in your mind over time.... over the length of your entire life .. Enlightment, wisdom, understanding.. on many levels

士文婷文婷松 said...