Reflections on US culture shock

I recently returned from my first trip back to the United States since moving to Shanghai. When I arrived in China I was so completely shell shocked that individual moments of ‘culture shock’ didn’t really stick out. Returning to the States was an interesting exercise in reverse culture shock, re-experiencing some of the oddities of American Culture.

A continuation of comments started on Twitter:
1: Eavesdropping on stupid conversations just because I could understand them.

2: Appreciating good service at bars/restaurants, but frustrated I couldn’t bark 服务员 when I needed something.

3: Small town America knows that you’re not from around here about as quickly as China.

4: Store your RMB Elsewhere. “Sir, you can’t pay with Canadian money” is more embarrassing than I expected.

5: Top replies to “We live in China”:

“What an adventure!”
“Do you like it?”
“I know [someone] in [somewhere that isn’t China.]”

6: Driving long distances at high speed. Sure, I’ve spent an hour or two in a cab hurdling dangerously to the Pudong Airport, but I’d forgotten how much that, in America, outside a few dense urban cities, everything is 30min drive from everything else.

7: Drinking water from the tap.