Before my flight back to NYC, my parents lectured me when I told them I don’t lock my check-in luggage. They pointed out that you can never be sure who will handle it, referencing an article they had read about someone having narcotics secretly placed in their check-in luggage.
I used to get frustrated with my parents’ paranoia and focus on worst-case scenarios. As I grew older, I understood that this was the mindset needed to survive the move to a new country.
In this one scene from The Sopranos, Tony Soprano and Svetlana, a Russian Immigrant, perfectly encapsulate the difference between American and the rest of the world. Svetlana says to Tony, “Americans never expect anything bad to happen while the rest of the world expects the worst.” My parents were raised in the Philippines, a lower-trust society than Canada, and they had to be cautious. While this mindset is necessary in survival mode, it can be hindering in times of peace.