Oklahoma, 1994–1995: my best experience of America.

Alexei Sorokin
30 min readDec 23, 2022

I come across as an eternal lover of California, don’t I? And I dislike Florida and Texas, the “red” states. I don’t dislike them because they are red, though there is a possible connection. In general, how I’ve experienced America, through the years, has nothing to do with politics. I simply share my life experiences and my impressions.

Well, on this journey of experiencing America, of all places, Oklahoma has a very special place in my heart. I often catch myself being nostalgic about my year in Oklahoma.

The nostalgia has little to do about reminiscing about my younger years. It wasn’t a carefree stretch of my life. In fact, I was extremely stressed out and insecure, having come to the middle of America all the way from Russia.

But, God, did I experience America at its best! Welcoming, cozy, hard-working, humble, and down to earth.

I moved to Oklahoma after spending two months in Kansas, where I attended a language school.

Here’s an abridged draft chapter from my yet-be-completed book.

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Kurt’s assistant and I met Rick at a roadside restaurant halfway between Wichita, Kansas, and Enid, Oklahoma, the town that would be my new home. Rick was tall, over six foot four and his complexion erred a little on the heavier side, not because of excess weight but his body type — heavy from the hips downwards. His skin was very white like is typical for people with ginger hair, some pale variation of which Rick had.

The three of us had lunch. Then I thanked Kurt’s assistant and moved my things to Rick’s black Cadillac, and we set off for Enid.

Rick was easy to talk to and understand. In fairness, my English had improved a lot since I’d arrived in the US a couple of months before. I told Rick about my family and learned about his. He was thirty six, a year older than my dad, and they shared the same birthday in October. I had some trouble telling Rick about my dad’s job, but it wasn’t because of the language barrier.

“I see… sausages. That sounds great! How’d your dad start his business?”

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Alexei Sorokin

A Russian immigrant in America, father of 4, Cambridge and Harvard Business School alum. I run and write every day. https://runningwritingliving.substack.com/