For those who haven't read what I've been up to before, here is the story. I'm going to the CR from the first of Jan. to the 14th. My girlfriend, a Czech national, has been there since the 8th of this month, and we coorespond through Skype. The past three times I've talked to her she has been bummed out. She has always been so excited to go home after being gone 2 years, but now that she is there she is seeing it in a whole new way. Here are her positive and negative reactions: Negative: "Prague is so gray and dirty..." "People dress in wierd fashions that don't work, and their clothing looks 'worker.'" "There is no customer service and people are rude." "I'd never drive here! They are crazier than in Las Vegas!" "My father got on my case for buying clothes and presents here. He complains that I don't spend my money well even though this money is for material stuff. 20 dollars doesn't mean much to me anymore I guess." "People's faces are so... I don't know... worn and old. They don't smile that much." Positive: "I love the food! It's so great to not have to worry about preservatives or bad food!" "The air is so clean! It's nice to have humidity and fresh air." "It's great to see my family. The relatives always ask me "so what," about my stay in the states and I don't know how to answer." "Everything is so cheap!" "We actually have a garden out back now, and it's beautiful!" "Everyone is excited to talk to me about America!" *** I think my little Czech girlfriend has been Americanized. She said to me over Skype the other day that after we graduate from UNLV, she wants to stay in America, or work in Western Europe somewhere. She says that there would be no hope for us career wise in the CR, and that she doesn't want to end up with one of those drawn faces. Before her trip, she loved the idea of moving back home after college, but I guess she just got a reality check. She has lived in the U.S. for 3 years in all since she was 16, and she probably has yet to realize how much our culture has effected her. Here are some factors that I think she struggles with: 1. Americans often smile to greet even passerbys, or in stores or resturaunts. Just about anywhere. Grimaces are frowned upon... get it? lol... anyhow... 2. Americans often have a lot of money for cars, phones, computers, and clothes compared to Czechs. Her idea of the necissities of life has changed since she was younger. 3. America offers more educational and occupational oppurtunity. Here, when we graduate (MA history, and BA Italian/French), we both will make around 45,000 a year at least. That's 90,000 a year! In Czech, as I've seen, we would make around 24,000 together at the most! *taxes would butcher that number a lot too.* 4. America is such a blend of fashions and peoples that you can really fit in most anywhere you go. Perhaps she stands out like a sore thumb with her American clothes in the CR. 5. Drivers are awful anywhere in the world, so no comment there. Just looking for reactions. I was just thinking about it all and thought you all might find it interesting. I'm still excited to visit and will draw my own conclussions... I still think I'll rather like it ;-), but it's compelling to think that my little Czech has changed her views so quickly.