Author Topic: What would turn you off the US in LA?  (Read 18614 times)

deborah

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What would turn you off the US in LA?
« on: July 20, 2015, 04:45:17 AM »
My 15 year old niece is in love with the US - and has always wanted to live there. It has SHOPPING, and all these wonderful things. I am traveling with her to LA for one week. What should we do there that will put some reality back into her expectations of the US? I have given her homework to look into the difference between the safety-nets in Australia and the US (minimum wages, health care, unemployment benefits...). She already knows about guns.

HairyUpperLip

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2015, 05:52:28 AM »
My 15 year old niece is in love with the US - and has always wanted to live there. It has SHOPPING, and all these wonderful things. I am traveling with her to LA for one week. What should we do there that will put some reality back into her expectations of the US? I have given her homework to look into the difference between the safety-nets in Australia and the US (minimum wages, health care, unemployment benefits...). She already knows about guns.

Take her to Skid Row in LA. Tell her that is what the rest of America is like.

Book next flight back to Australia. I'll take a koala bear or a Subaru as a thank you.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2015, 05:55:59 AM by HairyUpperLip »

fa

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2015, 05:58:18 AM »
I am puzzled as well.  The US is awesome, and I have been all over the world as well.  Your niece is correct.  There are tremendous opportunities in the US and that is appealing for any excited young person.  Few places offer this.   Why travel so far for such a silly purpose?  I don't get it.  If you travel that far I would just enjoy the trip.  Southern CA has so many wonderful things to offer.  just make the most of it.  Have fun there.

boarder42

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2015, 06:05:43 AM »
Just b/c she likes the US for an unmustacians reason doesnt make the US the bad guy here.  I'd go with the upbringing in Australia that makes her think SHOPPING is something she needs. 

use2betrix

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2015, 06:57:22 AM »
No idea why someone from Australia would be so focused on visiting a state like Louisiana?

There's no one place that makes the United States great, what's great is there are places for most everyone, just depending what you're looking for.

Also, what do you mean "she already knows about guns"?

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2015, 07:36:52 AM »
You want to fly all the way to the US and then have a bad time on purpose?

matchewed

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2015, 07:42:11 AM »
So you want to customize a bad experience for your niece...

Why again?

EngineerMum

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2015, 07:51:04 AM »
I can't give any useful advice for the OP, but for the people saying "why would you go on a trip to have a bad time" I think you need to re-read the post. Deborah isn't asking to have a horrible trip, just to give her niece a reality check. I read that as "teenager has unrealistic expectations of everything being perfect if only she could move to the other side of the world, and therefore won't put in any effort at school or set goals (because all she has to do is go there to be happy) / complains about everything here (because it isn't there) / parents are ruining her life because they won't fund her moving there / some other negative consequence. Helpful aunt wants to help her realise that for all it's advantages, it's still the real world.

matchewed

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2015, 07:54:47 AM »
I can't give any useful advice for the OP, but for the people saying "why would you go on a trip to have a bad time" I think you need to re-read the post. Deborah isn't asking to have a horrible trip, just to give her niece a reality check. I read that as "teenager has unrealistic expectations of everything being perfect if only she could move to the other side of the world, and therefore won't put in any effort at school or set goals (because all she has to do is go there to be happy) / complains about everything here (because it isn't there) / parents are ruining her life because they won't fund her moving there / some other negative consequence. Helpful aunt wants to help her realise that for all it's advantages, it's still the real world.

I think you're reading into the why's way more than the people are reading into the what's.

MDM

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2015, 08:06:41 AM »
I am traveling with her to LA for one week. What should we do there that will put some reality back into her expectations of the US?

Not sure that it is possible to get an accurate read on any place - even a neighborhood, let alone a country - in one week.  One could have a "good place to visit but wouldn't want to live there," or a "good place to live but wouldn't want to visit there," etc.

Other than shopping - which, yes, one can do in the US just as one can do elsewhere - what expectations does she have?

JLee

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2015, 08:10:27 AM »
My 15 year old niece is in love with the US - and has always wanted to live there. It has SHOPPING, and all these wonderful things. I am traveling with her to LA for one week. What should we do there that will put some reality back into her expectations of the US? I have given her homework to look into the difference between the safety-nets in Australia and the US (minimum wages, health care, unemployment benefits...). She already knows about guns.
You say this like guns are a bad thing.  You also can't get a picture of the US from visiting Los Angeles. That's a snapshot of a huge city in California, and is far from representative of the other 3.75 million square miles in this country.

EngineerMum

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2015, 08:23:17 AM »


I think you're reading into the why's way more than the people are reading into the what's.

The reality check is going and seeing for herself. What if the "reality" is she LOVES it?

Matchewed - yes, quite possibly. Just basing my understanding of the OP on the 15 yr olds in my life.

Basenji - Of course she may love the reality, but there is a difference between loving a place with all it's flaws, and having unrealistic expectations about it.

wtjbatman

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2015, 08:51:21 AM »
Turn on a Top 100 radio station.

HairyUpperLip

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2015, 09:07:51 AM »
Take her to Skid Row in LA. Tell her that is what the rest of America is like.

Book next flight back to Australia. I'll take a koala bear or a Subaru as a thank you.

Turn on a Top 100 radio station.

Then take her to see a Nicole Kidman or Portia Di Rossi film and she will really understand America.

:)

Honestly, I just really want my koala bear.

The_path_less_taken

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2015, 09:10:08 AM »
Without leaving home, via the net, you can take her to anyplace you choose practically.

Like many on this thread, I'm only guessing at your motivation....but it sounds to me as though she might think of LA/USA as one long episode of 90210?

Great cars, clothes, parties, where the beautiful people live in McMansions and a 'tough' decision is deciding between Jimmy Choo $8,000 heels, or Manolos?

I recall as a teen thinking that anyone over 30 was so hopelessly outdated that they might as well live in a cave and wear a saber tooth tiger loincloth. Which meant: you couldn't force me to think anything (still can't, alas).

What my (brilliant) Mom would do is talk to me. Ask me questions. Explore what my philosophy was. We really clashed on a lot of things: religion, sex, that all woman should get married and have children....but the fact that we were discussing values and concepts that make up the world and our place in it...it was an eye opener. For both of us. But we had a "we can discuss ANYthing" policy...there were no taboo topics, and it was comfortable knowing that I would always get a straight answer.

Every year Lake Tahoe ski resorts are full of Aussie/Kiwi teens working their way around the USA. They love the scenery, but the lack of health care, prices of things, expensive insurance/vehicles seem pretty surprising to them....maybe find some blogs of people her age who have been here and realize it isn't Munchkin-Land?

There is no Lolipop Guild.

SunshineAZ

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2015, 09:11:29 AM »
Take her to Rodeo Drive, give her $100 and have her find something to buy.  ;)

Potterquilter

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #16 on: July 20, 2015, 09:26:44 AM »
Just sayin.. When I was in China a young man told me his grandmother wanted to move to the U.S.  She thought it would be so exciting to see car chases and shootouts on every corner and she wanted to live on Wisteria lane with the "desperate Housewives".
When we were in Australia twelve years ago young people in campgrounds were hungry for info on the U.S.  We were like celebrities. Most wished they could come here.  What I loved about Australia at that time was the lack of commercialism and simple lifestyle (except for high housing costs). We were there at Christmas and saw a handful of lights. Here in the U.S. I am surprised the Christmas decorations are not in the stores yet.

Maybe the OP could give more info as to what the young person expects life is like here. What pre conceived notions would they like to change or influence? 

sheepstache

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #17 on: July 20, 2015, 09:48:29 AM »
I can't give any useful advice for the OP, but for the people saying "why would you go on a trip to have a bad time" I think you need to re-read the post. Deborah isn't asking to have a horrible trip, just to give her niece a reality check. I read that as "teenager has unrealistic expectations of everything being perfect if only she could move to the other side of the world, and therefore won't put in any effort at school or set goals (because all she has to do is go there to be happy) / complains about everything here (because it isn't there) / parents are ruining her life because they won't fund her moving there / some other negative consequence. Helpful aunt wants to help her realise that for all it's advantages, it's still the real world.

Yeah, from the fact that Deborah emphasizes that the niece is excited about America having more shopping opportunities, I'm assuming the concern is that LA is one of the more anti-mustachian places. She doesn't want the niece to hate America but to understand it doesn't all look like the superficial glamorous Los Angeles.

It's tricky because you don't want the teenager to miss out on the tourist-y stuff she's probably looking forward to and have her resent it, so the "real world" stuff should be geographically close. How you handle transportation might help. LA is highly car-dependent so if you have to wait for the gronky transit system to get you places, that would be a wake-up call. Or if you rent a car, you can easily see many different neighborhoods.

dodojojo

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #18 on: July 20, 2015, 10:10:51 AM »
I'm assuming you won't be living in a bubble while you're in LA for a week.  I'm also assuming your niece isn't an idiot.  Check the city out--you won't have to purposefully find ways to show your niece the underside of LA.  You'll experience both the good and bad of the city. 

I've been visiting Sydney for nearly 30 years--there are great and not so great things about that city too.

AZDude

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #19 on: July 20, 2015, 10:50:54 AM »
Los Angeles is a  great place to visit, but not a great place to live. Try emphasizing that point.

TrMama

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #20 on: July 20, 2015, 11:51:53 AM »
As another non-American, I get it. Plus, why wouldn't the OP want to have her beloved niece move half-way around the world so she'll hardly ever get to see her? Don't you all want your favorite relatives to move far away?

As a 15 year old, I'd show her the cost of college/uni in the US. I'm sure it would be cheaper for her to continue her education in Aus. Otherwise, the warts in the US are pretty obvious once you get there, no need to make a special effort. If fact, for me it starts at the border. The US border guards are incredibly intimidating. Once you exit the airport, she'll surely notice all the mentally ill homeless people.

forummm

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #21 on: July 20, 2015, 11:59:15 AM »
If you want her to see bad parts of the country, take her to Mississippi or rural Appalachia or South Central (in Los Angeles) or certain parts of Baltimore. There are some parts of Los Angeles like East Los Angeles, South Central, Watts, and Skid Row that are more run down.

She'll probably see LAX (the airport) and see it as a bit run down. It's actually not that bad for the US. All our airports are about 50 years old.

James

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #22 on: July 20, 2015, 12:13:43 PM »
My 15 year old niece is in love with the US - and has always wanted to live there. It has SHOPPING, and all these wonderful things. I am traveling with her to LA for one week. What should we do there that will put some reality back into her expectations of the US? I have given her homework to look into the difference between the safety-nets in Australia and the US (minimum wages, health care, unemployment benefits...). She already knows about guns.


Sounds like she is getting only one side of the picture from you based on what you are saying.


Say she looked at a nice juicy steak and loved it and wanted to eat it. You don't think she should only eat steak the rest of her life, and don't think a lot of red meat is good for her, so you tell her a steak is terrible. It ruins your health and really isn't that good. Next she takes a bite of the steak and about dies. It tastes so good. And it has protein and vitamins and minerals, it's not going to kill her, many health people eat it, and so what if it isn't the most healthy thing, it's worth it! So you show her pictures of fat people eating steak, to which she just laughs at you because obviously the fact that fat people eat steak doesn't mean steak is horrible. What you have actually done is convinced her that you are an idiot. You said steak was horrible, and it obviously isn't, so now she can't trust you.


Sounds to me like this is what you are doing with her visit to America...

deborah

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #23 on: July 20, 2015, 06:16:08 PM »
Thanks everyone for all your replies. I am happy that it might work out the way I want it to.

I think it is a good thing for her to have ambitions but a bad thing to have a very idealised view of somewhere she has never been, that is probably distracting her from deciding what she really wants to do. I certainly have told her that the US is one of the best countries in the world, and that Australia is also one of the best countries in the world. It is wrong (and pointless) to say that the US is bad - because it isn't.

I can't give any useful advice for the OP, but for the people saying "why would you go on a trip to have a bad time" I think you need to re-read the post. Deborah isn't asking to have a horrible trip, just to give her niece a reality check. I read that as "teenager has unrealistic expectations of everything being perfect if only she could move to the other side of the world, and therefore won't put in any effort at school or set goals (because all she has to do is go there to be happy) / complains about everything here (because it isn't there) / parents are ruining her life because they won't fund her moving there / some other negative consequence. Helpful aunt wants to help her realise that for all it's advantages, it's still the real world.

Yeah, from the fact that Deborah emphasizes that the niece is excited about America having more shopping opportunities, I'm assuming the concern is that LA is one of the more anti-mustachian places. She doesn't want the niece to hate America but to understand it doesn't all look like the superficial glamorous Los Angeles.

It's tricky because you don't want the teenager to miss out on the tourist-y stuff she's probably looking forward to and have her resent it, so the "real world" stuff should be geographically close. How you handle transportation might help. LA is highly car-dependent so if you have to wait for the gronky transit system to get you places, that would be a wake-up call. Or if you rent a car, you can easily see many different neighborhoods.

+1 bolded bits. She is a good kid, and is doing well at school. She is at the age where she needs to start to make important decisions about what subject areas she will concentrate on in the future. I want her to make realistic decisions not based upon some idealised version of reality (given that we all have an idealised version of reality to some extent).

I'm assuming you won't be living in a bubble while you're in LA for a week.  I'm also assuming your niece isn't an idiot.  Check the city out--you won't have to purposefully find ways to show your niece the underside of LA.  You'll experience both the good and bad of the city. 

I've been visiting Sydney for nearly 30 years--there are great and not so great things about that city too.

Thanks - I worried that if we visited all the places she wants to go (and she is deciding where we go), we would just be living in fairyland.
Yeah, from the fact that Deborah emphasizes that the niece is excited about America having more shopping opportunities, I'm assuming the concern is that LA is one of the more anti-mustachian places. She doesn't want the niece to hate America but to understand it doesn't all look like the superficial glamorous Los Angeles.

It's tricky because you don't want the teenager to miss out on the tourist-y stuff she's probably looking forward to and have her resent it, so the "real world" stuff should be geographically close. How you handle transportation might help. LA is highly car-dependent so if you have to wait for the gronky transit system to get you places, that would be a wake-up call. Or if you rent a car, you can easily see many different neighborhoods.

I was thinking of staying at an AirBnB place close to the subway, so we could see a more normal place than a hotel, and use the transit system rather than a car (I am really not sure I could drive everywhere in a city on the wrong side of the road).
Take her to Rodeo Drive, give her $100 and have her find something to buy.  ;)

I take it that Rodeo Drive is expensive - she would really like that!

She has probably traveled more than most people on the forum. By the time she was 8 she had lived in six different countries (mainly third world), but since then she has lived mainly in Australia. At one time the home she was living in was ruined by a major hurricane, so she has experienced emergency accommodation. But she may have forgotten a lot of that. Her mother doesn't like Australia so she is continually being told there are much better places out there. I would be happy for her to be happy in the US, and I don't want her to be like her mother and unable to be happy anywhere in the world.

You say this like guns are a bad thing.  You also can't get a picture of the US from visiting Los Angeles. That's a snapshot of a huge city in California, and is far from representative of the other 3.75 million square miles in this country.

She said guns were a bad thing about the US. I happen to agree with her. Since we changed our gun control laws (which still allow hunters and farmers etc. to have guns) there have been NO mass shootings in Australia (we were averaging one a year), and the number of accidental gun deaths has gone down dramatically - http://www.smh.com.au/world/your-gun-laws-are-a-mistake-national-rifle-association-to-australia-20150712-giaqal.html

I realise that LA is not representative of the US, just as Sydney or Melbourne is not representative of the remainder of Australia (which is about the same size as the contiguous US), but that is where we will be going.

deborah

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #24 on: July 20, 2015, 06:25:47 PM »
ETA: I assume by "LA" you mean Los Angeles and not Louisiana.

How fun and educational if she DID have a chance to live here for a while! She could do a high school exchange semester or year; or she could go to college or do a backpacking trip for a few months (when she's older).

Maybe she'll become American! Oh noes, the horror!
I suggested to her that she tries to get a student exchange to the US to see what it is really like. Do you know of any? They weren't around when I went to school, and I think an exchange would be much better than a week long trip, but the trip is what I can do.

She wants to become an American! And if she does, and is happy there, I would approve (even though I would think she was somewhat misguided). Different places suit different people.

bacchi

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #25 on: July 20, 2015, 06:38:18 PM »
Take her on the 405 at 5pm. Bring snacks and water.


Eta: Also visit Venice Beach at night for a real thrill.
Eta2: Removed fake highway pic. ;)
« Last Edit: July 20, 2015, 06:40:46 PM by bacchi »

MMMaybe

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #26 on: July 20, 2015, 07:31:04 PM »
I do think many Australians do have a very idealised view of America. I'm not sure that you can do much to change that.

Take her there, let her have a great experience. She is only 15, she may change her mind about what is important to her anyway. She probably thinks it is going to be like it is on the TV. Then you get there...and its not...well not totally.

So you are probably over-thinking this. If she is already well travelled, I'm sure she knows the difference between touristy places and the real experience of living somewhere.




deborah

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #27 on: July 20, 2015, 08:07:30 PM »
I do think many Australians do have a very idealised view of America. I'm not sure that you can do much to change that.

Take her there, let her have a great experience. She is only 15, she may change her mind about what is important to her anyway. She probably thinks it is going to be like it is on the TV. Then you get there...and its not...well not totally.

So you are probably over-thinking this. If she is already well travelled, I'm sure she knows the difference between touristy places and the real experience of living somewhere.
Yes, I probably am overthinking it. I'm not sure she's ever actually seen touristy places. I took her around a few places where she lives, and she was amazed about what was there. Her mother never takes her out - even to the beach! I'm not sure that she remembers much from being well traveled since most of her recent traveling is within Australia and most of the international travel was before she was 8. I'm sure we will have a ball, and be very touristy. I just want a little bit of reality (not hideousness).

MMMaybe

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #28 on: July 20, 2015, 08:27:28 PM »
I do understand where you are coming from. When I have taken visitors to my home country (South Africa), I usually include a tour of a township or slum area. Reason being, its very easy to overlook the reality that most people face living there and think that its all about wineries, safaris and and seaside restaurants.

I think for my Canadian in-laws, it did come as quite a shock. They were used to talking about poverty in an academic sort of sense but coming up close and personal to it was an eye opener for them. I was like, see this huge inequality? This is why I fear for the future here.

I think it does people good to see what lies beneath the glittery exterior of places, to get a more nuanced understanding of a place. But, most people would rather not know.


LeRainDrop

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #29 on: July 20, 2015, 09:15:17 PM »
Major LA turn-offs:  TERRIBLE traffic, long commutes, crazy/dangerous drivers, everything is expensive.

jengod

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #30 on: July 20, 2015, 10:32:07 PM »
Take her shopping on Main Street or Abbot Kinney in Santa Monica/Venice. The stores are expensive and chic, and the massive homeless problem should be illustrative of your lack-of-safety-net POV.

Cathy

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #31 on: July 20, 2015, 10:54:09 PM »
...She said guns were a bad thing about the US. I happen to agree with her. Since we changed our gun control laws (which still allow hunters and farmers etc. to have guns) there have been NO mass shootings in Australia (we were averaging one a year), and the number of accidental gun deaths has gone down dramatically...

In a free and democratic society, we don't set policy based solely on what will reduce deaths and other violence, because that leads to totalitarianism. Widespread ownership of firearms, including concealed and open carrying thereof, may or may not reduce violence and death, but it is 100% known that it does enhance freedom. Firearms are an equaliser, not only (to some extent) between the general populace and the state, but also between genders. Feminists should oppose (at least some forms of) gun control. If your daughter likes the USA as much as you say, her opinion might change as she becomes more immersed in the history of the country.

Maybe you should ask your daughter whether she would support the state inserting a monitoring chip under her skin and taking a sample of her DNA, and doing the same to everybody in Australia. That system would probably reduce violence and death.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2015, 11:49:22 PM by Cathy »

deborah

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #32 on: July 21, 2015, 12:09:42 AM »
She is my niece.

I would be interested to know of any studies that say this enhances freedom, and I am surprised that you have not included any links to such studies, as you usually provide excellent links in your comments. Different people have different definitions of freedom, but a number of OECD studies appear to say that Australia has more freedom than the US.

However, gun control is totally incidental to this thread so I don't mind the lack of links.

Cathy

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #33 on: July 21, 2015, 12:47:43 AM »
The right to bear arms is a classical common law freedom, codified in the English Bill of Rights 1689 (albeit with an arbitrary religious restriction). According to the US Supreme Court, the second amendment to the US constitution is a direct successor to this provision, and the Court relied on that history in finding a right to keep arms for self-defence in DC v. Heller, 554 US 570 (2008). Freedom isn't a linear quantity. Whether Australia or the US is more free depends on entirely how the various freedoms are weighted. However, there is no doubt that a society that offers a particular freedom (say, the right to bear arms) is more free in that regard than a society that does not offer that freedom. If Australia did not offer freedom of speech, we wouldn't need a study to conclude that that was less free than the US on that axis. A similar principle applies to the right to bear arms.

Ocelot

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #34 on: July 21, 2015, 01:18:14 AM »
I can wander around just about anywhere in, say, England, Australia, New Zealand, Europe (with exceptions) etc, and my chances of getting shot - or killed in a random act of violence in general - is practically zero, because nobody has firearms. People are still stupid, people are still violent and there will always be bad types, but not many people get murdered because the weapon just isn't common. You might get mugged - but you almost certainly won't get killed. Your home might get invaded and there might be a confrontation, people might get hurt - but noone will get killed. Same game, but the stakes are much lower. And your kid can't accidentally find your no-gun and have an accident. You want freedom? The freedom to engage in your everyday life without any chance you'll get shot is a lot more compelling than the freedom to carry a weapon around if you feel like it.

The criminals don't have guns because the police don't have guns, and the police don't have guns because the general populance doesn't have guns. As soon as one group gets them it starts a spiral of 'defence' and everyone 'needs' them without anyone actually gaining any advantage over a non-gun society at all. The military will always have the civilians out-gunned in any situation - and if they didn't, they probably wouldn't be in a position to defend the country from external threats. If you need to retain your freedom from your government by force, chances are that ship has already sailed before you've even had a chance to consider it, because populations are controlled with social and economic manipulation, not by force.

For this reason, a lot of the world views the US gun situation as a bizarre anomaly. The OP's niece's view is a very common one. Sorry for the hijack.

john c

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #35 on: July 21, 2015, 03:01:21 AM »
Closer to the original topic....

The US is a study in huge contradictions.  It's a wealthy, rich, glamorous place.  And also a nasty, dirty, violent place.  It's these contradictions that make it a magnet to immigrants from all over the world.  They come here for the tumult, the opportunity to "get rich or die tryin'"  The myth is a reality....for many.  For others, it's a nightmare.  I've lived in other civilized countries.  They may have better social safety nets and lower inequality.  But they're ossified.  There's no movement and high youth unemployment.  Your whole future is determined by a series of exams that determine the college you go to and then the government job you're given.  Being peripatetic, I would never have made it in a place like that.  I'd be one of those guys washing the dog crap off the streets of Paris each night.

Interestingly, several of my friends from those other civilized countries have immigrated here to the US, in some cases, illegally.  They'd rather live here, with their only safety net a jail cell in a deportation center, than as upper-middle class drop-outs in Western Europe.

Also, the threat of violence is very over blown.  Almost all murders are either gang related or domestic violence.  If you're not in a gang neighborhood and you're not in an abusive relationship, you're just as safe as anywhere else in the OECD.

mskyle

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #36 on: July 21, 2015, 07:21:17 AM »
I think you're worrying too much. Worst-case scenario is your niece comes to the US on a J-1 working holiday in a few years, and then she will see enough of the country to make her own informed decision.

Kashmani

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #37 on: July 21, 2015, 08:48:14 AM »
As a European who moved to the US at age 16, I would expect that a simple visit to the U.S. will take care of the problem itself. In my mind, it was all Honey Nut Cheerios, cantaloupes, and shiny land yachts until I actually set foot in the place. Then, the day after stepping off the plane, the reality check set in:

- The rental car was cheaply made, with lots of hard plastic.
- There were utility poles with cables everywhere, remotely resembling the third world.
- The first meal at a restaurant was utterly atrocious, with rubbery greasy meet and unseasoned vegetables served by a morbidly obese waitress. The drinking water had so much chlorine in it, it might as well have come from a swimming pool.
- Going to the bathroom, the door was hollow and flimsy, with a jiggly doorknob that felt like it was made of cheaply pressed metal. The actual bathroom stall door had a one inch gap in it.
- The next day, more morbidly obese people and more flimsy bathroom stalls.
- Most of the houses and buildings looked run down and ill-maintained. The nicer neighbourhoods looked like nobody lived there, all with giant garages facing the street.
- Everything is car-centric, with nary a person on the street. It feels like all the people have disappeared.
- Excessive churchiness. As a European teenager, I had never met anyone my own age who was religious before and thought believing in God is something that old people do. Coming to the U.S. and seeing teenagers participate in church groups was very strange.

On that trip, the best experiences were:
- Air conditioning. To this date, I believe that this is the single biggest advantage to American life. Oh my, do I love air conditioning.
- Free water and drinking fountains. A close second to air conditioning.

All in all, I was immediately shocked how everything felt cheap and not befitting of an industrialized western economy. Every time I am back in Europe it still always seems like such a relief that houses and cars are solidly built, food actually tastes good, utilities are buried, bathroom stalls are private, and the the people don't like look like like caricatures of the stay-puft marshmallow man. Then of course, the temperature invariably climbs to 30 degrees Celsius or more and I long for my air-conditioned condo...

I'm a red panda

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #38 on: July 21, 2015, 08:55:28 AM »

I was thinking of staying at an AirBnB place close to the subway, so we could see a more normal place than a hotel, and use the transit system rather than a car (I am really not sure I could drive everywhere in a city on the wrong side of the road).

Public transportation in LA is pretty awful. It is definitely a car place.  If you stayed at a hotel in a touristy location, you could probably plan on doing some walking; but I wouldn't want to rely on public  transportation.

As for what would turn me off the US in LA?  If all of the US was like LA, there is no way I'd live here. Traffic alone and I'd be out.  I'm having a hard time thinking of anything I would find desirable about the city- maybe access to so many places to eat? Except I almost never eat out.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2015, 09:29:18 AM by iowajes »

Louisville

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #39 on: July 21, 2015, 08:57:08 AM »
As a European who moved to the US at age 16, I would expect that a simple visit to the U.S. will take care of the problem itself. In my mind, it was all Honey Nut Cheerios, cantaloupes, and shiny land yachts until I actually set foot in the place. Then, the day after stepping off the plane, the reality check set in:

- The rental car was cheaply made, with lots of hard plastic.
- There were utility poles with cables everywhere, remotely resembling the third world.
- The first meal at a restaurant was utterly atrocious, with rubbery greasy meet and unseasoned vegetables served by a morbidly obese waitress. The drinking water had so much chlorine in it, it might as well have come from a swimming pool.
- Going to the bathroom, the door was hollow and flimsy, with a jiggly doorknob that felt like it was made of cheaply pressed metal. The actual bathroom stall door had a one inch gap in it.
- The next day, more morbidly obese people and more flimsy bathroom stalls.
- Most of the houses and buildings looked run down and ill-maintained. The nicer neighbourhoods looked like nobody lived there, all with giant garages facing the street.
- Everything is car-centric, with nary a person on the street. It feels like all the people have disappeared.
- Excessive churchiness. As a European teenager, I had never met anyone my own age who was religious before and thought believing in God is something that old people do. Coming to the U.S. and seeing teenagers participate in church groups was very strange.

On that trip, the best experiences were:
- Air conditioning. To this date, I believe that this is the single biggest advantage to American life. Oh my, do I love air conditioning.
- Free water and drinking fountains. A close second to air conditioning.

All in all, I was immediately shocked how everything felt cheap and not befitting of an industrialized western economy. Every time I am back in Europe it still always seems like such a relief that houses and cars are solidly built, food actually tastes good, utilities are buried, bathroom stalls are private, and the the people don't like look like like caricatures of the stay-puft marshmallow man. Then of course, the temperature invariably climbs to 30 degrees Celsius or more and I long for my air-conditioned condo...
Love this post! Hilarious.
I've lived in the US my whole life, and I feel exactly the same way. Except for the AC - I'm cold most of the time.

use2betrix

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #40 on: July 21, 2015, 09:26:28 AM »
There are a LOT of people have no real desire to ever live in LA. Sure, some do and love it, but many have no interest. I'm young and like cities, and I've had no real desire to ever live there or even visit. I'm sure I will eventually because I have friends there, but that's about it.

Kris

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #41 on: July 21, 2015, 05:46:55 PM »
...She said guns were a bad thing about the US. I happen to agree with her. Since we changed our gun control laws (which still allow hunters and farmers etc. to have guns) there have been NO mass shootings in Australia (we were averaging one a year), and the number of accidental gun deaths has gone down dramatically...

In a free and democratic society, we don't set policy based solely on what will reduce deaths and other violence, because that leads to totalitarianism. Widespread ownership of firearms, including concealed and open carrying thereof, may or may not reduce violence and death, but it is 100% known that it does enhance freedom. Firearms are an equaliser, not only (to some extent) between the general populace and the state, but also between genders. Feminists should oppose (at least some forms of) gun control. If your daughter likes the USA as much as you say, her opinion might change as she becomes more immersed in the history of the country.

Maybe you should ask your daughter whether she would support the state inserting a monitoring chip under her skin and taking a sample of her DNA, and doing the same to everybody in Australia. That system would probably reduce violence and death.

Don't agree at all. First, a monitoring chip and DNA sample for everyone  is not the same as sensible gun control (such as they have in Australia).  Straw man.  Second, where is my freedom to not have to live in a society where there are guns all over the damn place?  As a feminist, I would feel much safer in a society where I didn't have to worry about how easy it is for a domestic abuser or a rapist to get a gun, and much safer if I didn't have to feel that my freedom to not worry about being assaulted at gunpoint did not have to hinge upon my own need to carry a gun everywhere, especially given that it would statistically be more likely that my own gun would be turned on me by a larger, stronger man in such instances where I tried to pull it out and defend myself.

JLR

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #42 on: July 28, 2015, 06:10:56 AM »
Haha. Gee, you sure have gotten some comments here, haven't you? :)

I can remember back when I was a teenager thinking America was just the best. It all looked so nice on tv. Everyone had nice houses, everyone had nice teeth. And you could BUY stuff over there that we just didn't see in Australia.

In time I grew up and calmed down in my love for the US. :)

I'm not sure what would have changed my mind as a teenager. Perhaps even just visiting and staying in AirBNB (a real American's house!!!!11!) probably would have taken some of the gloss off things for me and made me realise that it was really quite a bit like Australia, and was just another place where people are living their everyday lives with every day issues (doing the dishes, going to the grocery store, regular family disputes).

Neustache

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #43 on: July 28, 2015, 06:16:39 AM »
Intentionally sit her in LA traffic at the wrong times.  That'll fix her.

Neustache

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #44 on: July 28, 2015, 06:19:56 AM »
Take her on the 405 at 5pm. Bring snacks and water.


Eta: Also visit Venice Beach at night for a real thrill.
Eta2: Removed fake highway pic. ;)

Hahaha...Bacchi beat me to it.  We had to go from Ventura to Anaheim from 5pm to 8pm on our LA stay.  There's a reason why we lean towards staying at National Parks instead of cities. 

Scandium

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #45 on: July 28, 2015, 07:29:51 AM »
I'm assuming you won't be living in a bubble while you're in LA for a week.  I'm also assuming your niece isn't an idiot.  Check the city out--you won't have to purposefully find ways to show your niece the underside of LA.  You'll experience both the good and bad of the city. 

There are good things about LA?? That's news to me. That shithole should cure anyone's desire to move to america. I'd be more worried if they were going to SF. Even the state LA is nicer than the city LA. 

Has the niece actually been to the US, or is this her first trip? If so I think the "realty check" problem should take care of itself. And if she want to go and arrange her own student exchange trip or something then let her. I say this as an exchange student who eventually moved here.

I also agree that general cleanliness and infrastructure is shittier in america than almost any western/rich country. That might be a turnoff. Unless you go into the wrong neighborhood guns will likely not be an issue at all. At least much less than you're lead to believe. I've lived here years and hardly ever even seen one.

Giro

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #46 on: July 28, 2015, 08:51:16 AM »
I love this thread.

As a military person, I've been everywhere.  There are good and bad aspects of every single place in the world.  I think your overall perspective and personality defines your level of happiness more than gaps in the door of a public bathroom or good teeth.  Hilarious comments btw.

I do have to defend food in America, because that is what I missed most when I was out of the country.  It's not that "American" food is better, it's that we have every single kind of food on the planet available just about everywhere across the country.    If you don't like American Fare (steak, seafood, etc), go to the Thai place, or Mexican, or Italian, or Vietnamese, or god forbid British pub food. 

:)

Also, I would be concerned about the 'well traveled' child that never goes out to the beach.  She's been a lot of places, but was she allowed to experience them?  Make a big difference. 


vhalros

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #47 on: July 28, 2015, 09:18:38 AM »
I don't know if it would phase a teenager, but based on informal conversations, the thing that frightens many of my international colleagues out of moving to the US is our healthcare "system".

DecD

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #48 on: July 28, 2015, 10:55:54 AM »
I lived in Los Angeles for three years.  It was a ton of fun for a single person, and I had a pretty cool job and really enjoyed my time there.  Left because I didn't want to settle there/raise a family there/deal with the high COL and the crowds and the attitude, which to me seemed to skew toward the superficial (lots of ads for plastic surgery on the radio, for example).

If I were visiting, I'd do some hiking- the foothills are lovely.  Go up to Mount Wilson behind JPL.  Visit Griffith Park and the observatory there- stunning views. 
I'd rent rollerblades, park by the little baseball field in Marina del Rey, and rollerblade down to Redondo (15 mile round trip, takes ~2 hours).  You get a really lovely view of the Pacific and the beaches there.  I used to do this rollerblade every weekend.  It's what I miss the most about living there :)  Stop in Manhattan Beach at a local place for a snack or ice cream.

That's not going to make her hate America, but I can't imagine designing a vacation in order to have a crummy time on purpose.  I'd want to hit the highlights and design a trip to let me have a really lovely time. 

pro tip: if you're driving anywhere on the weekend, get there before 11am.

Giro

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Re: What would turn you off the US in LA?
« Reply #49 on: July 28, 2015, 11:19:48 AM »
I don't know if it would phase a teenager, but based on informal conversations, the thing that frightens many of my international colleagues out of moving to the US is our healthcare "system".

Can you be specific?  Is it the actual care?  I've had a few minor surgeries and received amazing care.