I noticed quite a few differences between American culture and culture here:
1. Less organization. While getting on the flight to Khabarovsk from Moscow, my family and I had to push through crowds of impatient people. We were all going to the same place, but it was like a battle to see who gets to their airplane seats first. I felt like it was Black Friday at Walmart.
2. Food. Here I eat soup for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We drink tea with dessert twice a day, once after lunch and once after breakfast. Since refusing food is not polite here, we stuff ourselves sick. Our new diet is now mostly rice, meat, bread, and more meat. Vegetables and fruits are not a high priority. I miss peanut butter. I especially miss drinking water without having to boil it first and wait until it cools.
During lunch, my Dad and I discovered liver in our soup. It looked like the pig’s heart I dissected in science class. We pushed it to the side of our plate, but it was my Dad who got caught. My great aunt noticed he didn’t eat his liver, and even though he was practically done with his soup, she insisted that he have another bowl of soup. Before my great aunt noticed that I also didn’t eat my liver, I gathered it in a napkin and sneekily threw it away. I got away with it! Thank goodness I was not forced to eat another bowl of soup. I would have exploded.
3. Nothing’s free. When my Mom and I bought water at the local grocery store, we had to pay for the plastic bag to carry it in. That wasn’t that surprising. Later that day, my family and I went to the park along the Amur River. When I went to the Port-a-potties, there was a lady sitting at her desk right in front of them. She slammed her hand on her desk and told me I had to pay. I suddenly felt I was back in elementary school being forced to pay the school bullies to use the bathroom. ‘How do I know this lady didn’t just walk up to the Port-a-potties, plop down on her desk, and force people to pay her?’ I thought. I walked to my Mom, surprised and annoyed.”This lady won’t let me use the bathroom unless I pay her. Who does she think she is?” I said. My Mom laughed and only said, “Things are different here.” She paid for me to use the Port-a-potties without a second thought.
4. Females & Excersize. In the park along the Amur River, I went on a run to get some excersize. It occured to me that no women were running. That’s when I realized that it’s not exactly the norm for women to play sports here. As I ran past strangers, I assumed they assumed I was a Tom Boy. I felt out of place and even my great aunt and cousin thought it was a little strange that I’m into sports. I suddenly yearned to be home, running my normal route.
Gotta go. I’ve just been told it tea time. Again.