Reverse Culture Shock in NYC

After 9 straight months of traveling around Central and South America, the United States seemed like a world away. Both geographically and culturally. The geography part when I got on a plane for only the third time since September 2012. The cultural part the moment I landed in Fort Lauderdale for customs. The border control agent had a thick southern accent and a perm that only a mother could love. At Laguardia Airport, I couldn’t help but notice the disproportionately high ratio of obese people waddling about. Sure, there are lots of overweight people in Peru and Bolivia too, but there’s something about overweight Americans that stands out more…

The Iconic 7 Train

The Iconic 7 Train

With each day I’m noticing new things that I hardly paid any attention to before and appreciating some of the comforts of home:

  1. The 7 train runs through some of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in world. From midtown Manhattan to Sunnyside to Corona to Flushing I cannot even imagine how many different languages are spoken and how many different types of cuisine are available. 
  2. The American English accent sounds a lot more nasal than that of other English speaking countries.
  3. Portion sizes are massive! I ordered a large coffee at McDonald’s and it over a litre in volume and rammed with sugar. If people are drinking these on a regular basis, it’s no surprise that they’re overweight.
  4. In supermarkets and restaurants, there are seemingly limitless options to choose from. Our country is truly blessed when it comes to food production.
  5. Unlike in La Paz, all the streets in NYC are paved.
  6. The prices in NYC are very high, even when compared to many European cities.
  7. Tax is never included in prices. And tipping is practically compulsory. The opposite is true in nearly every other country in the world.
  8. I’m not a foot taller than everyone else.
  9. No one asks me if I’m from Japan or Korea or China (in that order).
  10. NYC is definitely the city that never sleeps. Last night (Tuesday) I found myself bar hopping and there were loads of people out.

That being said, there’s still no place like home 😀

Part of the Midtown Skyline

Part of the Midtown Skyline

Have you experienced culture shock after returning to your home country after an extended overseas stay? What things did you notice?

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