This is my third year living in the US and I feel like the American life is getting on to me. I remember how I would crib about every little thing when I was really new to the US. I truly missed everything about my home country. The American culture and etiquette were new and different. It was difficult to make friends and even Indian food tasted different! Years later, I have a greater appreciation for living in a country that values the needs, wants and demands of their people.
Here are the top 10 American things Desi community swears by –
Imagine, going to a fast-food chain or a bank or a pharmacy and not having to get out of your car at all. It’s such a time saver and keeps you on the go. I wished they had this system in South Asian countries. Then I quickly realized that developing countries don’t have this vast a space nor do the customers have the discipline to line their cars and patiently wait for their turn. While America has a lot of space, South Asian countries have laborers that compensate for excellent service.
The only thing I’m thankful for driving in the US (except for metro cities) is an ample amount with outdoor parking. You’ll have no trouble finding a parking space and you might not even have to parallel park at times (thank goodness). Back in South Asia people struggled with parking so much that, they would rather take a cab or public transport than stress about finding a parking spot.
Plenty of outdoor activity
I love how we have so many activities to engage in during the weekends! Depending on where you live you can do outdoorsy stuff like – hiking, beach day, visit a zoo, aquarium, museum, try out restaurants and cafes, go for meet-ups and fun events. You can also do indoor activities like bowling, top golf, brewery visits, game nights, movie nights. I mean, you can keep your weekends as busy or as free as you wish but you’ll never get bored or run outta options to do stuff. While in South Asian countries, even though you have options to do fun activities it takes a long time to commute. The thought of getting stuck in traffic makes you just wanna spend that precious weekend time at home.
I still get overwhelmed with the number of options we have from cereal to laundry detergent and everything under the sun. America wants to cater to everyone’s need and there’s a product or service for anything you can imagine. If you’re new to the country, I recommend you go shopping. I promise you will feel like you’re in wonderland and might wanna try everything. I, on the other hand, didn’t know what to pick. I felt like all my life I only knew of 2 kinds of cereal and now there is an entire aisle filled with all kinds of it. It’s a blessing and also a reason why I take so long to shop because – Decisions, Decisions!
Remember how it was growing up back home? Having an air-conditioning system was a luxury for middle class South Asian families. Over the years you would see one AC popping outta one window from a house/apartment and everyone would hang out in that room to cool off. It was common to have the AC on only when you absolutely needed it and then turn it off once the room is cool enough – because of Electricity bills, hello! America has centralized AC systems everywhere. It’s a huge blessing and we appreciate the little things like staying cool/warm indoors ?
Freakishly large portions
It’s common knowledge that American food portion sizes are much bigger than the rest of the world. You can easily share an entrée with a friend or if you’re eating solo you have leftovers for the next day. If you ever eat out at restaurants in South Asian countries, don’t be surprised to see normal-sized portions. I for one, love to take leftovers back home. Thank you ‘Merica!
By far the best policy in the US! You can return goods purchased within 30 days with your bill and they will refund your money, no questions asked. This policy is really made for impulsive shoppers who get buyer’s remorse. It also works well if you’re buying gifts for someone or if you’re shopping online. But this policy can also be misused in some ways. For example, you buy something, gently use it once and return it.
You know how little things bring us joy but also increases our sugar level? Lol. Unlimited pop refills are commonly found at fast-food chains and restaurants. You pay for 1 drink, grab a huge cup and fill with the pop of your choice. And once you grab the glass feel free to re-fill it as many times you wish. It’s not just the kids, adults love it too. Back in South Asian countries, you might not even find a soda vending machine let alone unlimited re-fills.
Credit cards are one of the biggest reasons, people are under debt in the US. You feel like you have this magic money that lets you buy whatever you want. Even if it’s something you can’t afford. And by the end of the month, you struggle to pay up which increases your interest rate. The numbers keep adding up the longer you wait to get it paid off. On the flip side, if you’re good with your spending habits and pay on time, you get good credit rating and you’re rewarded. By accumulating points, you can use it for travel and dining. Most Desis are really good at this and enjoy the perks of credit card rewards and points.
Access to the internet has become one of our basic needs. And we want it for free! South Asian countries are still working towards being digital and giving free access to the internet. While in America, thanks to the coffee shops and shopping malls you’ll almost always get free WiFi. Only a Desi will understand the struggle of not having an unlimited data plan waiting to do a WhatsApp call with folks back at home.