Home again Home Again

So I’m back in the US for the first time in two years, and its strange how you forget how certain things go when you’ve been gone from the States for such a long time.

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Just some quick thoughts:

– I have forgotten how to interact with Americans. In China, you mainly go through life without talking to people you don’t know. Bump into someone? Keep moving. Open the door for someone? No acknowledgement. Buy a coffee? Just order what you want, but no conversation. Shopping? Just how much is it? Eating alone? Just order. I have clearly forgotten how much Americans talk to each other and for the first week I was very slow to respond to people talking to me. But over the last week, I had conversations in restaurants, in stores, in coffee shops and at the gas station. It’s a strange adjustment to make.

– After being in China, I am a much more cautious driver in the US. Maybe because I don’t have any place to be at any particular time, I let cars go in front and stick near the speed limit, but more I think its the fact I’m not used to going this fast in a car anymore!

– Everything is cheap if you’re paid in RMB! This is dangerous.

– More to come later: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Portland, Seattle.

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6 Responses to Home again Home Again

  1. WoAi says:

    I had exactly that problem when I visited Toronto and every store I went to the shop assistants would say “How are you today?” and it was very awkward as I was unclear of the standard response. Do you say “good thanks” and then move on or should you then reciprocate and ask how THEY are? It’s so much easier in China. They’ll say ???? (welcome) and then the standard response is to ignore them.

  2. Terence says:

    You say “good thanks . .. just looking” and then browse.

  3. WoAi says:

    Thanks. I sort of figured it out after a while, but the first few times I was so shocked I became tongue tied and it was quite awkward. Perhaps shocked isn’t the right word. Taken by surprise.

  4. Terence says:

    @WoAi – I know exactly how you feel – but you may have had even more difficulty because the English aren’t exactly random stranger chatters either.

  5. WoAi says:

    @T – Hmmm, not sure. They might not ask “how are you today” but there’s a good chance they might say “turned out mild again today”. The weather is the “go to” ice breaker!

  6. Terence says:

    @WoAi – “Crap weather today” is more likely for the English, no?

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