Thursday, June 2, 2016

20 MORE Super Cool and Odd Things about Life in the First World

Last week I shared 20 things that have stood out to me as I’ve been transitioning back to life in the US for my home assignment after living in Papua New Guinea the last couple of years. But, when I got going, I found I couldn’t stop at 20! So here’s another 20 awesome and bizarre things I’ve noticed about life in the US.


  1. Cross-walks really work! Cars actually stop! (It took us a while to figure this out in New Zealand…we kept waiting for the car to go and it was sitting there at the crosswalk, waiting for us…)
  2. Birds sing continuously here, and they hop around on the ground (and there are squirrels! And chipmunks!)
  3. I have not yet seen a pack of stray dogs or a mama pig and piglets wandering down a road.
  4. Stores are open on the weekends!
  5. Smartphones are glued to 90% of the left hands that I meet.
  6. Because most of the people you’re trying to contact are in your time zone (or within a couple hours), you don’t have to continuously convert to whatever day it might be elsewhere and have strange notations in your planner telling you what narrow window you have to contact them (including staying up super late).
    It's raining, and you can still see all the trees!
  7. Towels are fuzzy and soft after being dried in a DRYER!
  8. Some hotels had us swipe our room cards to make the elevators work then again to make the room lights work. I felt like I was on a spaceship.
  9. Wall outlets don’t need to be turned on.
  10. Mosquitoes are small, speedy and chew through your clothes compared to the slow, dumb Paleolithic-sized mosquito-birds of PNG. BUT no one cares, because they don’t carry malaria or dengue or other crazy things.
  11. Windshield wipers, headlights, and brakes usually work! Cars are clean, not rusted, have all their mirrors, (usually) were made in the last 25 years, and are rarely covered in duct tape!
  12. Cars follow the rules of the road. I mean, it’s pretty cool there are even rules in the first place. But they follow them! And there are no potholes! But there are these things called stoplights. And police cars. And stop signs. And sidewalks.
  13. 70 mph is really really fast.
  14. I can watch Youtube videos, go on Pinterest, stay connected to the internet for lengths of time, and load pictures on all websites!! WaHOO!
  15. 911 exists here. And emergency rooms.
  16. I walked at night and watched lots of other people walk at night, and we all lived! Everyone else seemed to think this was totally legit. (Similarly, we drove at night…!)
  17. There are no bars on windows, people have decorations on their front porches, windows and doors are left open, items are scattered around backyards, and people even leave stuff in the backseat of an unattended car!
  18. Everyone is dressed so…nice.
  19. Vegetables in the supermarket are strange sizes, strange colors, and sometimes, very sadly individually wrapped in plastic. The avocados, in particular, are some of the most pathetic hard little golf balls I’ve seen…
    I love nectarines and peaches, but how odd is it that they have little stickers on them!?!!
  20. Grapes, blueberries, watermelon, nectarines, bacon, steak, corn on the cob, and ice cream are all as good as I had imagined them to be…