Culture Shock – Part 4

Check out the first, second, third and fifth blogposts too!

No #7: Eating Habits

In my last post, I talked about how much I missed Indonesian food. American food tastes good, but I was raised with Indonesian food that for me, after six months in the US, probably one of the things I miss the most about Indonesia is the food! However, besides the food, the eating etiquettes are also different here. The first thing that I noticed was how much food was served on the table during dinner. In my first six months in the US I have gained approximately 5 or 6 lbs., which amounts to 2.2kg. This might not seem like much, but I have a friend who have gained 10 lbs., only in their first three months…. and that’s a lot! In Indonesia, we eat and that’s all. Here, there are appetizers and desserts nearly every single day. No wonder I’ve gained weight….

A shocking fact is that one of my friends even opted to move from homestay to an apartment, and one of the reasons was because of this eating habit.

Another thing about eating etiquette is how Americans use forks to eat, which is very different to Indonesians who normally use spoons. In Indonesia, if you want to eat but only have a spoon, that’s fine. You’ll still get through. But if you want to eat but only have a fork… now that’s going to cause problems.

Also, the taste in food is also obviously different. Indonesians tend to eat more hot and spicy stuff while Americans don’t. What would be regarded as “slightly spicy” in Indonesia might be what is regarded here as “super-duper spicy.

No #8: Family

Another thing I’ve noticed here is that American families tend to not be closely-knit. From what I have observed and heard, in the States, there are quite a lot of “old folk’s homes” or also known by the name “retirement homes.” These homes are basically places that care for people who can’t take care of themselves anymore, such as old people. I’ve met Americans and I’ve heard some of them talk about how when they get older they don’t want to be put into nursing homes by their children and all those stuff. I was kind of stunned when I first heard this, because it’s really rare in Indonesia to actually have your parents live in old folk’s homes. Fortunately, my grandparents are perfectly fine, so they can take care of themselves; and if my grandparents can’t take care of themselves anymore, they would probably live with either my family or my aunts’ or uncles’ family. However, it is both fortunate and unfortunate that in America, some of these old people have to live in these retirement homes. It’s a good thing because the retirement homes are certified by the government, and they are also subsidized by the Medicare and Medicaid system in America. Hence, if our parents live there, we can be sure that they are being treated well. However, the downside to it is that sometimes, when people live in retirement homes, they long for the love and affection shown by their family members.

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