Time goes by so incredibly fast! the six months I was able to spend in the US have gone by fast...too fast!
I left on July 28th (2001) for a six months internship in Rochester NY, without really knowing what I will do there and how it will be to spend such a "long" time in the states.
Well, after the first moth has gone by in no time I learned that the "long" stay wasn't realy that long. Six months is absolutely nothing when you live in a foreign country...unfortunately. Now that I am back in Germany I can't believe that it really was half a year I was away.
To make a long story short: it was great! I would even go further and say "It was the best time of my live!". Everybody who has the chance to work in another country then his own for some months or even one or two years should absolutely do it. What sounds like a long time actually goes by incredibly fast. If I would have had the choice to stay longer I would have stayed for another six months or even a year...unfortunately I had to leave for two reasons: my visa expired and the bad economy (as a consequence of September 11th's terrorist attacks).
The visa really wasn't the biggest problem, but the poor economy forced the company I was working for to reduce expenses significant and therefore the management decided to stop hiring new employees in most departments...unfortunately the department I was working for was one of those :-(
Since getting a (new) visa highly depends on having an employer in the USA, the visa problem was a direct result of the hire-stop and therefore it was sealed: I definitely had to go back...not forever maybe, but for now...leaving some really nice people and one wonderful person behind.

      But it's not only the people it's also some other, smaller things that are better or just different in the states. Things like the possibility to do the groceries 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, things like having the best places to eat perfect grilled steaks only a stone throw away or just the impressive fact how big this country is and how much space there is. Space for gigantic malls, groceries, company buildings and for living. As a result of this enormous amount of available space, there is also no reason to build in a space saving way and close to other facilities, therefore the distances in on city with it's suburbs are huge compared to countries like Germany.
It's not a surprise that almost everybody has a car in the USA, you are simply lost without a car! I figured that out one day when my car broke down (btw: you shouldn't trust an american car unless it is very, very new) and I had to spend a weekend without a car. It was impossible to do groceries or get anywhere without asking someone to take me there. Sure, there are places in the USA where you can live without a car, not many but there are some: New York City for example. With more than 8 million people living there (in the year 2000) it is absolutely necessary to have a good working public transportation system, you could even say you have to be crazy to own a car in NYC but with parking prizes of US$ 8,- or more for half an hour in Manhattan you also have to be rich.

      America, a country unlike all other countries, a culture created under the influences of many other cultures of the world. The big melting pot where actually nobody is a foreigner, no matter from which country he comes. I can only speak for the state of New York and some surrounding states, but here it was impressive (but actually not surprising) how open minded people where towards people from other countries, people like me. I had no problems getting to talk with other people, and nobody looked down at me because of my strange german accent and the bullshit I sometimes said when I tried to find the right words.

...to be continued