After enjoying a relatively short and easy flight, one that had free WiFi, we touched down on American soil once again. As we worked our way toward the line to get checked back into the country, we had our first surprise—three water fountains.
This may not seem surprising to you, but in most countries we’ve visited water fountains (for drinking) are quite rare. It’s one of the things I’ve missed about being in the States.
After clearing immigration and customs (hats off to the MCO Orlando officers who were amazing!), we prepared ourselves for more shock. Rather than bore you with details, here’s a list of things we’ve had to readjust to so far.
- At crosswalks, cars generally stop for pedestrians. In most countries, crossing the street can be a bit of an adventure. Sometimes you feel like you’re in a real-life version of the game Frogger.
- The restaurant’s bathroom was clean, and the toilet even had a seat attached! In the men’s bathroom, there wasn’t a cleaning lady hanging out. And the soap & towel dispensers were stocked.
- Free refills of drinks, and I could get water without having to pay for it.
- We ate at a Thai restaurant, and there was no extra charge for the rice or soy sauce.
- Buildings were all in good repair.
- People had decorated their homes for Halloween.
- The kitchen in our home has more power outlets than most of our places had in the entire house.
- I had to remind myself that the little trash can next to the toilet wasn’t for my toilet paper. I can actually flush that now.
- All the sinks have hot water.
This morning we were really
desperate brave and went to the grocery store.
- I had an initial panic as to whether or not I was driving on the correct side of the road.
- No security guard was standing near the entrance or the carts.
- There were no weird smells.
- At least four different staff members asked me if I needed help finding something.
- The grocery store not only had free coffee and free WiFi but also had two water fountains!
- There were so many brands and types of yogurt, that it took me 15 minutes to figure out what I wanted to buy.
- Milk is refrigerated, and all liquid dairy products are in the same area rather than spread throughout the store.
- There were more than 6 types of cheese and breakfast cereals.
- A pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream did not cost $8.
- The produce all looked quite beautiful. No nearly rotten fruits were in sight.
- I didn’t have to get my bread or produce weighed and labeled at a counter before going to the cashier.
- Practically everything has high-fructose corn syrup in it.
- The list of ingredients on prepared foods are about 2-3 times the length as in other countries for the same product.
- The cashier gives you a choice between plastic or paper bags.
- You don’t get a dirty or exasperated look when you pull out your debit card to pay for items, and you don’t have to give the card to the cashier to run it.
- There were no screaming or laughing children in the store.
- People say “excuse me” when they want to get by, and they avoid bumping into you at all costs.
- Ham is ham, not turkey ham (although you can get that, too).
- There are more than three choices for types of bacon.
- Eggs are refrigerated.
It’s been rather interesting feeling like a foreigner in my own country. Re-entry definitely isn’t a boring experience.
What things surprise you when you return home after a long absence?