I believe Japanese people are quiet and peaceful, I am typical Japanese in this sense, but I am a fighter in the United States. The reason why I am fighting is because it is hard for me to convey to people what exactly I am thinking. I appreciate the great tolerance and warm consideration most Americans provide me. However, when I ask a questions, they usually can not understand what I mean.
It happens at a bank, dealing with payments related to credit cards, or asking how to use a computer accessory which I bought. Especially, when I call the customer service to ask something, I feel very stressful. I take time, maybe ten to fifteen minutes, to explain my problems. However, the person I talk with is not the right person to talk to. Often, I am forwarded to another section, and I have to explain from the beginning again. At first, I try to be VERY friendly, but gradually, I become upset, and then they get upset, too. Struggling, I have to continue this conversation until I get a result. Sometimes, a customer service suddenly and probably on purpose cut off the line when he/she gives up to listening to me. I wish I could speak English fluently. I feel so sad, but I take this as practice for me to improve my English.
About two weeks ago, I had a terrible toothache. I called a dentist whom I heard charges reasonably for patients who are without insurance. (Actually, I worried about how much I need to pay for just treating one tooth since I heard medical fee in America is incredibly expensive. The receptionist who talked with me sounded kind. She said I need to visit the clinic first to fill out an application form, and then they could talk about making an appointment. I said, since I live far from the clinic (about one hour), I’d rather do it over the phone. (It is not a good idea to visit the clinic just for application.)Then she said she would send me an application form by mail and advised me to send it back as soon as I fill it out. I am glad because this is one of the rare successful conversation cases that I had experienced. Two hours later, a strong pain came back, so I called the dentist again. I had the chance to talk with the lady whom I talked previously, and I asked about the “emergency case.” She answered they accept only three patients a day from 7:30am, but they can not accept me if I would be the fourth patient. OK, I understand although I don’t think it is called emergency if there is no guarantee for patient to have a chance to see the dentist. I didn’t want to bet, so I gave up going there as an emergency. Additionally, I tried to ask some to get information about the clinic, but she sounded like she was tired of listening to my poor English; she did not sound friendly any longer. About a week has passed, but I haven’t received the application form from the clinic yet. I am not sure whether she remembers the promise she made, or not. I am not sure if we misunderstood each other. I am hesitant to call her again and ask about the application because I do not want to spend too much energy to fight. So I will continue to take “ADVIL” to reduce pain until I will go see my dentist in Tokyo next February.
Living in America is not easy for foreigners. I cry and struggle everyday. I fight everyday to survive in this country. Fighting everyday helps me to become better adapted to the environment. I know it will take some time to become fully adapted, but I truly feel that I will someday make it