Friday, November 4, 2016

4 Things I Found Weird in America


            I lived in the United States for most of my life.  And many of the things that are common place there are not common place in other parts of the world.  I had become used to those things being part of life, but during my time in Madagascar I lived without many of those things and in turn that became my new normal.  I didn’t need/have them and when I returned to America the came as a bit of a shock to me and found them a little weird.  Here are the top four weird things for me when I returned to America:
1.      Grocery Stores
            Grocery stores were easily the craziest thing to me when I went back to America for my home leave.  I don’t mean crazy in the sense of not be able to believe that kind of place could exists, but just in the sheer volume of options that exists.  I know; I sound crazy (that is going to be a theme in this post), but I had been living in the deep countryside of Madagascar for two years and had been shopping at an outdoor market everyday.  Yes there are grocery stores in Madagascar and I would stop in one every few months when I was in the capital, but there is much less options.  Walking into the grocery store in America was overwhelming to say the lest.  There is a whole aisle of different beers, five different kinds of milk, every where I turned I was presented with multiple options of the same thing.  It was overwhelming!
2.      Air conditioning
Air conditioning comes in at #2.  Again weird, I know.  Air conditioning is not something that is found in my town.  I had a fan, yes, but it could only be used when I had electricity which was only four hours a day after it had already cooled down (it was mostly just used to dry clothes that hadn’t dried during the day).  I was used to the heat and escaping it as much as I could by staying in the shade during the hottest parts of the day.  But in America everything is air conditioned. You go from a cold house, to a cold car, to a cold restaurant.  It was freezing! I had to wear a jacket during a Texas summer lol. 
3.      Driving
Next is driving.  Not all that odd, but I hadn’t done it in a long time.  The scariest part was getting into the truck just after arriving and flying down a Texas freeway.  The fastest I’ve ridden in a car in the past two years is probably around 40 mph, so 75 mph is crazy fast.  The actual driving part of it was not at all difficult to fall back into, but I definitely didn’t have to worry about getting a speeding ticket.
4.      Tipping
Lastly is the act of tipping.  Tipping isn’t a thing here in Madagascar.  There is the price and that’s what you pay.  Like in all other forms of work, people get paid for the service they do, not by the quality of that service.  This is what I had gotten used to.  So my friends in a few instances had to tell me, “Don’t forget to tip” and I was always curious whether I had tipped enough.  

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