This is a list I’ve compiled of my experience after coming back to the USA after 2 years abroad.
Everything is bigger
Most noticeably three things are bigger than the global average, it seems. The people, the food portions, and the cars. I had forgotten that people who are so fat they use electric wheelchairs existed! Food portions are so large it’s easy to overeat and take leftovers home. I’d forgotten the joys of having leftovers. And the cars are bigger! Trucks and SUV’s are scarce in many places because gas prices are high and roads are narrow, but not here! When I got home it was 2$ a gallon! ‘Merica
Going to the grocery store is no longer an adventure
All the foods that you loved are easily accessible and there are no strange aisles filled with assorted seaweeds! You can read the labels and you know exactly what you’re putting into your cart.
Pronouncing everything perfectly confuses people
Also telling them that dishes they thought were ethnic, were actually invented in America. Looking at you Chicken Alfredo. Words like prosciutto (pro-shoot-do)and bruschetta (Broo-sket-ta) become difficult to Americanize once you know their correct pronunciation.
Foods you used to love taste like shit now
I went to Olive garden for my welcome home dinner and I used to LOVE Olive Garden. But when the food came out, I found everything to lack color and flavour! It’s like the US’s food is so pumped with shit that there are no more natural flavors. In order to compensate you have to dump salt onto everything or sugar to make it taste better. You miss the freshly picked strawberries from the guy down the street, and the chocolate from Switzerland. The wine from Italy, and the fresh eggs from the farm in Chile.
Speaking of food, you search for ethnic foods and liquors everywhere
And when you find a place that is authentic you cling to it with all your might because it’s your one small piece of heaven. You somehow feel like instead of being back home you’re in Mexico, or Italy, or Korea.
You gain like 5 kgs(10lbs) in the first month
You’re not walking everywhere anymore and everyone has a car so instead of walking across the street to your destination, you drive. Oh, and you’re not exactly carrying a hue backpack or hiking mountains anymore. Not in Florida, at least.
Casual wear is everyday, every time wear
Nearly everyone is wearing yoga pants and basketball shorts and T-shirts from their last 5k. You don’t know whether to celebrate being able to dress down, and forget to wear makeup one day, or be slightly disappointed that not everyone looks like they walked out of a magazine.
American self praise and Patriotism
Flags everywhere never seemed so creepy. People saying the national anthem everyday before school is something that other nations find odd. You will too once you realize it’s not the norm. Also complimenting yourself and being confident is seen as arrogance rather than self-love and positivity.
Guns and fear
The news shows tragedies everyday and no matter how many times I say I loved living in South Korea, they will always say “aren’t you glad you’re home now?” I rarely met American travelers when I was in South America or Asia, I only met them in Europe. It seems like everyone is too afraid to go outside and see the world that I’m seen as some sort of heroine! If anything I fear more for my life in the US with all their loose gun laws than I did in S.Korea. Guns and weapons are things I never had to worry about elsewhere, yet here I can go to Wal-Mart and find them next to the baby supplies.
Your directness makes you an asshole
You’re so accustomed to people being blunt with you that you’ve grown thick skin. you may even start being more blunt to your friends without realising it. You don’t tolerate any bullsh*t from anyone, nor do you care what they say. You prefer to be told things to your face, because no one likes a liar and a fake. So forget being passive aggressiveness because all you’ll get now is the truth with no filter.
You start each sentence with “When I was in”
You’ve been to so many different places that your life is now one large collection of experiences. You have a relatable situation for almost every topic and you can’t help but share it. This may becoming annoying to your friends, but you really can’t help it, it’s your life!
People back home have all seemed to progress to their next stages in life and you missed it all
Everyone seems to have gotten married and had a kid while you were gone. Also your baby cousins are all toddlers or kids who can form full sentences and have conversations. Your grandparents are getting older too and you feel guilty for missing every wedding, birthday, and Christmas.
You’re more open-minded than most of your friends and family
For some it’s refreshing, but for others it’s just fueling their ignorance. You try so hard to bite your tongue when someone says something wrong or inappropriate in fear of getting into a heated debate using charts and examples.
For that reason you desperately seek out foreigners
You seek out anyone that will understand all you have been through and knows what life is like outside the USA, and I don’t mean on a Disney Cruise to Cancun. You want to connect with someone in their language and critique things and discuss politics and life openly.
And most importantly you plan your next trips
You’re itching to get away again and even though you just returned, you already have a growing list of “places to see”.