culture shock in America



Last week I wrote about how strange is it to visit the USA after 20 years living in Asia. Some of it bad, some just weird. Here’s my post on Reverse Culture Shock. This week , to balance things off, I’m presenting 10 GREAT THINGS about my US visit, some the direct result of ‘the weirdness’ I mentioned last week.

1. First off, I have to mention QUIET.

I love quiet! The USA has so much land that houses are well spread out ,with yards, and built of heavy durable materials. So even if neighbors are nearby I rarely hear them. Heck, I rarely ever see anyone either! That’s just fantastic!! Peace, quiet and solitude! All the result of low-population density and lots of space. In great contrast, Asia is just NOISY! People are everywhere, houses and rooms are practically touching, there are animals, traffic, yelling people… So much so that it’s not easy to find quiet space or solitude. No wonder I feel so aggro about noise in Asia.- it’s everywhere! Now, Stateside, I’m lovin the QUIET once again !


family gathering -Christmas 2010
family gathering at Christmas 2010

2. Next, there’s re-uniting and re-connecting with family.

This certainly has it’s ups and downs, but it’s interesting and educational with never a dull moment! It’s particularly insightful to meet family again after extended time away. I’ve gained a much more objective, broad view on people’s behaviours and personalities along with insights into the affects of my childhood experiences on molding me into me, for good or bad. Interesting stuff. For me.


kitchen - St Petersburg


3. Third, it’s great having a kitchen.

For 12 years I’ve been traveling around, staying in guesthouses, hotels, friend’s homes, rental rooms. It’s rare that I have a kitchen to use. Wow- Nice to have a fridge! A stove! Pots and pans and dishes… all those things ‘settled’ people take for granted. I don’t even like cooking often, but it is fantastic having a constant supply of food and facilities on hand!
orange tree- St petersburg
orange tree in the yard!

4. To top off the kitchen experience, I’ve got a special treat: Orange trees and lemon trees in the yard.

Yes! Every morning I get up and squeeze fresh orange juice, right off the tree! Can’t beat the flavor of FRESH orange juice.  What a way to start the morning.


Lash cycling - St Pete
cycling on…
Pinellas Trail- St Petersburg
The 35-mile-long Pinellas Trail

5. Cycling opportunities:

The Pinellas County Cycling Trail, a 35 mile/ 50km trail through the entire county, passes just 2 blocks from my house! Yippie! I can cycle into St. Pete city, out to the coast and numerous beaches or out through the Florida countryside, all without any traffic! I can even ride without my helmet if I want. Every day I choose a new route to explore.


American Safe Boating Course
American Safe Boating Course textbook…

6. Learning: I’m enrolled in ‘America’s Boating Course’ at the St Pete Sailing Club.

It’s a safe boating course in which we learn all aspects of going boating safely in American waters including navigation, navigational markers, required safety equipment, steering, take-offs and docking, dealing with bad weather, National and State regulations., and so on. At the end of our 7-week course, I’ll take a final exam, afterwhich I’ll be certified as a Safe Boater! I’ve always loved learning and taking classes. It’s great to be ‘back in school’ My new knowledge and certification will be especially useful for my Scuba Diving Career and my hopeful sailing travel days ahead.


Egret - St Petersburg
The cutest ever shore bird

7. Birds galore!

Florida has sooooo much water everywhere.  There’s the looonnnnnggg extensive coastline around the entire state, with shores on both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. There are harbors, bays, inlets, rivers, lakes and swamps. Consequently, there are tons of birds, especially water birds. (bird photo gallery coming up soon!) Recently I’ve photographed herons, egrets, pelicans, storks, cormorants, ibis, goose, ducks and seagulls. I’ve also spotted many colorful wild parrots, which I hope to photograph soon. This state is bursting with birds.


culture shock in America- St Pete Beach

St Pete Beach

sweeping white-sand beach at Passe A Grille, FL

8. Speaking of coastline, this brings up beaches.

Wow, there are A LOT of beaches around me. Even more amazingly, they are beautiful wide, white-powder beaches backed by lovely grassy sand dunes which stretch on and on indefinately and which are nearly deserted- at least in January. The Florida beaches are every bit as nice as the gorgeous beaches of Thailand and Bali, much to my surprise, I must admit.


9. Another favorite of mine: trees.

Simply stunning trees of all types, everywhere. Just as magnificent as the white sweeping beaches and the glorious birds.


culture shock in America

Municiple Marina- St Petersburg- Florida

one of many yacht marinas in St Petersburg, FL


10. Last but not least, I have to mention boats and marinas.

Florida is packed with yacht clubs, municiple marinas, private marinas, sailboats, speedboats, fishing boats. While cycling around these past 3 weeks I’ve noticed at least 10 yacht marinas, all within a 10-mile radius. That’s a lot of sailboats.  Good place to take a Safe Boating Course, right?


So there you have it.  Although coming back to my home country definately is bizarre in many ways, I still have much to enjoy, particularly the great abundant nature- water, trees, beaches, birds, fresh orange juice and a cycling trail fromwhich to view it all.
Reporting from another paradise, Lash


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  1. David

    You make me miss Florida. Everytime I think I'm over it, some blogger I know has to talk about it and make me nostalgic. Grrr… ;-)
    You got me at the picture of Pinellas Trail.

  2. LASH

    Florida is great! The only place i'd ever consider living in USA.. Why not move back ifyou love it so much? I"m going next week… Mike's just down in Ft Meyers,,,not far!

  3. David

    Well, first I can't. You know, those little pesky visa things. Then, that's the thing, I miss it a lot, but I'm not sure I want to live there again. Well, I'm sure I would under the right circumstances, but sadly the US is not a place that appeal to me anymore… Maybe if Florida becomes independent, I'll reconsider. ;-)

  4. LASH

    Hey David, I totally agree about the current / ongoing state of USA these recent decades. And, oh yeah, visas / green cards to USA not easy. As I understand it, you're married to a Japanese woman, so that doesn't get you in the US either… HOpe you love France then! Any desire to live in Japan??

  5. David

    Lots of desire to live in Japan. I'm currently working on it. :-)

  6. LASH

    I loved living in Japan. Well, Kyoto. I'm sure I couldn't have hacked the big ciites with no greenery. And not sure I could do it now after living in the tropics surrounded by nature for 12 years. But it was great in Kyoto while i was still in 'work a job in a city' mode.

  7. Boomergirl

    My fave state. Vermont. Vermont named for its green mountains and she doesn't disappoint. A fabulous place in the world to toodle about. Unlike Florida, little traffic.


    […] change of pace next week I’ll elaborate on what’s GREAT about my trip. Read that post: Flip Side of Culture Shock in America Lash, reporting from the road (function() {var s = document.createElement('SCRIPT'), s1 = […]

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