For three weeks during the Christmas/New Year’s period, I was only two cows shy of living the American Dream. Sustainable, comfortable house? Check. Roaring roadster on the street? Yup. Alright, so I was also missing the fence, two kids, a dog in addition to my acreage of other calling animals. But I was content, with the best company in the greatest of holiday traditions.
Because the school holidays were in, I flew to Ann Arbor to fill up the empty space that Michigan students had left behind. A couple of friends who had left also left me their sleek, silver Audi A4 to terrorize the roads. There were certainly less people and cars on the streets, and we had to weather a snowy, snowy storm that trapped us indoors for two days. But it constructed a very real illusion of a dream, where life revolved outside our two-story house (all to ourselves) and survival didn’t depend on rat races and pay days.
Some of you may already know this, but if you cook all your meals, you shave a lot off your food bill, especially when dining isn’t quite so cheap in the U.S. And that’s what we did, apart from the occasional night of splendor where we would splash two weeks worth of home-cooking on a fancy restaurant down on Main Street. It begs us to return to the vision of the American Dream, growing your own produce and living on them, ostracizing yourself from the hectic urban lifestyle that didn’t give a shit about farmlife anyway.
Not only did I forget most of my worries (other than the persistent Master’s Project), I also didn’t want to return to them. They live in an earthquake-ridden imaginary land, like falling debris perpetually striking you on the head. And despite one, two, five knocks, they don’t seem to end. After four years of studies, I’ve spent enough of my parent’s money, and do not wish to take more. Being very Obama-esque, “It’s time to give back.” How, when the economy is crumbling and the journalism industry is just about crumbled?
There are no quick answers here. I’m finding them out as we speak. Tomorrow’s the start of my final semester in school, probably for good. The money’s already paid so there’s no backing out now. Let’s hope a job (or internship, even) will be waiting when I collect my certificate. But more importantly, I just want to secure and hold on to the happiness I experienced for three weeks in December/January. Once you’ve tasted the American Dream, you hardly forget.