The American Nightmare in Houston, TX

*Note: I do not hate America or Americans. This is an opinion piece and based solely on my personal experiences.

As travel avid as I am, I’ve never been a fan of the U.S. With all the Vegas glamor, the Hollywood glitz, and the Southern hospitality, it somehow never appealed to me. Alright, maybe I’m a little bias because I’ve grown up in a country where I’ve seen George Bush scarecrows burnt and stomped into the pavement, but still. As a media content creator and circulator, America takes a toll on my social media timelines which should influence me to indulge in the American Dream in The Big Apple or LA or Disney. But Toronto is already a combination of all the above and I’m lucky enough to call it home.

The difference, if not physically, hits like running into a glass door when you cross the U.S. customs at Pearson International or speak with border security at Niagara Falls. The air is a little denser, thank yous are left unwelcomed, and everything is upsized before you can make the choice. However, I think the biggest difference I’ve seen so far is the segregation in the workforce. I have yet to deal with a white person in a bus or hotels or labor or service jobs. I did, however, see their glimpses in aviators shades behind tinted windows of shiny cars on the highways. Tall flags of stripes and stars are also a big thing even beside the smallest of buildings.

With all the differences, I realize we do share some popular culture with our neighbor and I’ve come to understand that that’s the exact reason why I can’t tolerate being here- a lot of the things are the same. Roads and highways that fit into the generic “Western” feel, fast food just has a bigger portion with a spicy option (which I cannot complain about), and people are busy making money. When I travel, I want to be put out of my comfort zone fully and completely. I feel like I’m not challenged here. Speaking English is too easy, there is no struggle in ordering my food or getting my taxi. I’m trying to make the most of Texas, but Houston is definitely not my rodeo.

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