Author Topic: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States  (Read 6085 times)

BNgarden

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #50 on: December 29, 2020, 06:41:01 PM »
Uniqlo heattech is more expensive than Costco 32 degrees but makes up for it in quality.

I don't know if this will be relevant, or if Adventine can order Uniqlo Heat tech online within Asia, etc.  It seemed that buying heat tech last year in Japan was much less expensive than the same goods in North America?

Fomerly known as something

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #51 on: December 29, 2020, 06:50:32 PM »
After you decompress you could volunteer.  It can go on a future resume and you could see if a new field is interesting.

Adventine

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #52 on: December 29, 2020, 07:23:34 PM »
@ctuser1 I see you've made the distinction between material poverty and poverty of spirit (hopelessness). I don't disagree with the points you've made. Only that I was focused on material poverty, and how it rubs me the wrong way when I hear Americans call themselves "poor", while enjoying a standard of living that, in other countries, is available only to the wealthy.

@BNgarden no worries, Uniqlo exists in the Philippines and I get the Heattech on sale.

@Fomerly known as something this is the plan. To get involved in the local charities and churches, build a network, and parlay that into lasting friendships and a career change.

« Last Edit: December 29, 2020, 07:26:22 PM by Adventine »

ctuser1

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #53 on: December 30, 2020, 08:22:36 AM »
@ctuser1 I see you've made the distinction between material poverty and poverty of spirit (hopelessness). I don't disagree with the points you've made. Only that I was focused on material poverty, and how it rubs me the wrong way when I hear Americans call themselves "poor", while enjoying a standard of living that, in other countries, is available only to the wealthy.

I found the material I was talking about in the last post:
United Nations Development Program's MPI homepage: http://hdr.undp.org/en/2020-MPI
Here is a whitepaper from UN, with cites for actual peer-reviewed papers: https://www.un.org/en/development/desa/policy/wess/wess_dev_issues/dsp_policy_03.pdf
A more elaborate article: https://harvardmagazine.com/2011/01/who-is-poor

Basically, per this criteria, you don't measure *just* income or immediate material possessions, but several markers of poverty along several dimensions like health/education etc. etc. It has been the official poverty measure of UNDP for the last few years. 

So, it's not just "poverty of spirit". A black single mom in Alabama who is disenfranchised based on deliberate policy, and who has no hospitals within her accessible range is still facing quite serious poverty even if she has access to Food Stamps, for example, thereby putting her resource consumption wayyyy above the "materially poor" of asia. In fact, as of 2017, 15.4% of the US population is considered poor by this measure. https://mppn.org/multidimensional-poverty-in-the-united-states/#:~:text=Data%20for%202017%20indicate%20that,largest%20contributors%20to%20the%20MDI.

The reason I am pushing back against your post is not because you are incorrect. Yes, you are right that most people in the US have no idea what real, abject poverty means. That is a privilege they do have as a resident of a "first world country". And worst of all, almost all of them are completely unaware and very thankless about this whole privilege they possess solely based on the accident of their birth.

However, many people in the US still suffer from the next level of poverty - as measured by the MDI. When you come over here, you will be a Mustachian and an immigrant who can take initiative (else you would not pick up and move half a world). That's like a double superpower that will catapult you above most of the people in the US in economic terms. From that position, you might face a lot of pushback (and even alienate a lot of people) if you don't show sensitivity towards the more nuanced picture of poverty in the US.

Adventine

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #54 on: December 30, 2020, 08:34:25 AM »
@ctuser1 Thank you for clarifying, I definitely didn't consider it that way before. I'll have to read those articles over the New Year break, especially about the aspect of internal, local disenfranchisement. I can see your point that I could possibly alienate people with careless remarks, which is something I definitely don't want to do when starting a new life.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2020, 08:50:14 AM by Adventine »

Tigerpine

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #55 on: December 30, 2020, 08:42:41 AM »
I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned this yet, but healthcare billing here is very confusing and error-prone.

In our case, whenever we use healthcare, we will receive a statement from the insurance company.  This is not a bill, but it details the billing.  Look this over carefully, as it details what the insurance company is paying for and what it is not.  Do not be afraid to call them and ask questions to understand your coverage.  A lot of times the various healthcare providers will make a mistake when they submit billing codes to the insurance company.  That means that sometimes you will be charged for services that should be covered because it was entered with the wrong code.  The actual bill will come later, sometimes months later.  Therefore, it is very important to keep good medical records.

Understand the difference between in-network and out-of-network, as it will have big implications for how much is covered by your insurance company at what rates.  Avoid out-of-network whenever possible.

In general, it's very important to understand your health insurance policy.  If you ever end up in a situation without health insurance, make sure to get insurance ASAP.  I've lived in the US without health insurance for an extended period, and I'm just lucky I didn't need to see the doctor very often over that period.

Oh, and that reminds me, you may know this, but doctors tend to know very little about the actual billing themselves.  That's done by other people. 

SwordGuy

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #56 on: December 30, 2020, 09:06:39 AM »
I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned this yet, but healthcare billing here is very confusing and error-prone.

In our case, whenever we use healthcare, we will receive a statement from the insurance company.  This is not a bill, but it details the billing.  Look this over carefully, as it details what the insurance company is paying for and what it is not.  Do not be afraid to call them and ask questions to understand your coverage.  A lot of times the various healthcare providers will make a mistake when they submit billing codes to the insurance company.  That means that sometimes you will be charged for services that should be covered because it was entered with the wrong code.  The actual bill will come later, sometimes months later.  Therefore, it is very important to keep good medical records.

Understand the difference between in-network and out-of-network, as it will have big implications for how much is covered by your insurance company at what rates.  Avoid out-of-network whenever possible.

In general, it's very important to understand your health insurance policy.  If you ever end up in a situation without health insurance, make sure to get insurance ASAP.  I've lived in the US without health insurance for an extended period, and I'm just lucky I didn't need to see the doctor very often over that period.

Oh, and that reminds me, you may know this, but doctors tend to know very little about the actual billing themselves.  That's done by other people.
Very good advice!

Do NOT make the assumption that if the hospital you go to is in network that the doctors who will perform work on you are also in network.   

US Healthcare system is a colossal screwup.

dougules

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #57 on: December 30, 2020, 03:55:34 PM »
Nothing really. A couple things surprised me when I got off the boat, but not holding me back in any way. Americans are a pretty straightforward bunch. There are no secret codes. What you see is what you get.

Oh bless your little heart.  You must have lived up North.  Folks in the southern US  are anything but straightforward.
Nope, landed in a southern state. I stand by my comment.

It very much depends on where you’re coming from.  Even American Southerners would be blunt by the standards of some cultures.  Thai has an actual word for the concept of the fear of overly taking advantage of someone’s hospitality.  I think American Southerners generally are quite familiar with the general idea, but it’s new level to have a defined word for it.

Mariko

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #58 on: December 30, 2020, 08:09:28 PM »
To go with the CR-1 rather than the K-1 LOL

I’m the US spouse though, not sure what the hubs would say but I think he didn’t expect to end up waiting so long to be able to get a driver’s license and would be able to go back to school while waiting for work permission.

For funny little things, my husband is eternally shocked by that gap in the stalls in public restrooms.

Seeing all the heattech discussions is cracking me up.  My husband loved winter weather on our vacation in Tokyo, during his second winter he has now declared heattech a requirement resulting in a $150 order of all sorts of things.  Their new heattech blanket is really warm!  I love it.

Adventine

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #59 on: December 30, 2020, 08:29:36 PM »
@Tigerpine and @SwordGuy thank you for the advice. I have read the horror stories.


To go with the CR-1 rather than the K-1 LOL

I’m the US spouse though, not sure what the hubs would say but I think he didn’t expect to end up waiting so long to be able to get a driver’s license and would be able to go back to school while waiting for work permission.

For funny little things, my husband is eternally shocked by that gap in the stalls in public restrooms.

Seeing all the heattech discussions is cracking me up.  My husband loved winter weather on our vacation in Tokyo, during his second winter he has now declared heattech a requirement resulting in a $150 order of all sorts of things.  Their new heattech blanket is really warm!  I love it.

Ha! Took a long time for my fiancé to get used to the bidets.

We discussed the K1 fiancé visa vs the CR1 spousal visa. We had three major issues with the spousal visa route:

- Pre-COVID times, the fiancé visa took 4-6 months before entry to the States. The spousal visa would have taken 12-18 months. Our priority was getting me to the States ASAP, not so much working or driving immediately.

- Getting married in the Philippines requires the US citizen to obtain a “Affidavit In Lieu of a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage”. The US Embassy has been closed to routine services from March 2020 until further notice, so no chance at all for my fiancé to get this mandatory document.

- We could have gotten married in the States but the travel restrictions at the time meant it would have been a one way trip for my fiancé, me returning to the Philippines without him, and additional expenses for mandatory testing and quarantine after my return to Manila.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2020, 08:33:32 PM by Adventine »

UnleashHell

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #60 on: December 31, 2020, 05:10:35 AM »
Homesick!!

It was touched on earlier but not too much. Its real. It happens.
the excitement and anticipation is awesome when you first arrive then it turns to frustration.

theres a very good article about it here https://www.worldwideimmigrants.com/2019/08/01/homesickness-after-awesomeness/ about an aussie who moved to Malaysia!

All the stuff that seems fun and cute and new starts to be a drag by about month 3. by month 6 its the pits. get past that and it starts to get easier!
I think having the electronic options to communicate with home will help a lot and makes it much easier than it used to be.
When I first moved to the states we racked up a fortune in phone cards as the cheapest way to talk to folks back home. then we got VOIP so it was free for us. then we trained the relatives to use video communication. That made it a lot easier.
Food is another thing. Find were you can get a quick and easy meal like back home. then find a store where you can buy ingredient to do home cooking.
Not all the time but the occasional home cooked meal and treat that you are familiar with can make a massive mental difference.

You are adaptable - that you have already shown - so being aware of whats ahead of you and preparing for it will smooth over the rough patches.
and find a familiar community - someone to talk to thats been through this already (and doesn't ask "where you are from" instead of actually listening to the words you speak) will help a lot as you'll be able to vent to someone who understands!!

you'll be fine. and yes - its different!! Be prepared for everyone who will expect you to tell them how much better it is here because thats what they want to hear!

erutio

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #61 on: December 31, 2020, 11:09:27 AM »
There is a lot of military history between the US and the Philippines.  You may or may not have seen in there, but in the US, with your country of origin, your inter-racial relationship, and the fact that you will move here and get married, many people will assume a few things.  They may think you are a mail-order bride or a gold digger, and your fiancé will be seen as a white savior.  This may
simply be that they don't know you two very well yet and a simple misunderstanding.  It also may stem from casual racism, or even be from more deep-seated malicious racism.

I think anyone who spent a few minutes talking with you would figure out that you are not the above.  This is not as common now, but this was very commonly seen in the post-vietnam era due to GIs spending their R&R time in the Philippines.

SwordGuy

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #62 on: December 31, 2020, 11:18:49 AM »
@erutio, most Americans are too ignorant to know anything about history, with the most ignorant amongst us believing fables like "The Civil War wasn't about slavery."   

Hell, a huge percentage of us can't even find the Pacific Ocean on a map.   This survey is from some years ago, I suspect the problem is even worse.   Outside of the US military, most people won't have a clue about what you are talking about.

https://freerepublic.com/focus/news/903062/posts?page=63

@Adventine , if you decide to become a US citizen and pass the citizenship test, you'll be more knowledgeable than most in this country.


elaine amj

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #64 on: December 31, 2020, 01:50:01 PM »
Oh good point. Be prepared for some "90-day fiance" prejudice.  When I first started dating DH, his friends and family were intensely sceptical. To be fair, the optics were against me. I was your very typical "90-day fiance" type - much younger and from a foreign 3rd world country (of course, nobody really bothered with the fact that I grew up in a wealthy family and would be giving up a lot of luxury to "marry down" to DH's decidedly less-wealthy background).

I chose to meet the scepticism with a lot of smiles and enjoyed the chance to talk about my home country.

Oh - one thing you may want to consider bringing. DH loved to tell people about my home country and really enjoyed showing off travel brochures to any visitors to our home. Not sure what your DH is like, but mine LOVED it when I bought him a beautiful coffee table book with tons of photos for him to share with any new visitors.

For many years, I also enjoyed having some fashion from home. Especially things like local t-shirts, batik caftans, sundresses. They all give me a little smile :)

And SHOES! Bring ALLLLL the shoes. Totally worth your luggage space. Ladies shoes are way more expensive and nowhere near as pretty.  I shop for shoes primarily in thrift stores. But always bring back 4-5 pairs of shoes (usually pretty flip flops and heeled sandals) from Malaysia and it's totally worth it - I always get a slew of positive comments and "where did you get those?". I bet the Phillipines have an even cheaper selection. For some reason, thrift store shoes now typically cost $5-10, which I think is outrageous (at least in the states I have visited - yes, we hit up thrift stores when we travel lol). 



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« Last Edit: December 31, 2020, 02:01:17 PM by elaine amj »

Tigerpine

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #65 on: December 31, 2020, 01:58:13 PM »
That reminds me of something!  Clothing sizes in the US are HUGE.  An S size in America is small in the relative sense, but compared to what you're used to?  It's a tent!

Paul der Krake

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #66 on: December 31, 2020, 02:03:31 PM »
Oh good point. Be prepared for some "90-day fiance" prejudice.  When I first started dating DH, his friends and family were intensely sceptical. To be fair, the optics were against me. I was your very typical "90-day fiance" type - much younger and from a foreign 3rd world country (of course, nobody really bothered with the fact that I grew up in a wealthy family and would be giving up a lot of luxury to "marry down" to DH's decidedly less-wealthy background).

I chose to meet the scepticism with a lot of smiles and enjoyed the chance to talk about my home country.
Coming from a first world country and being largely indistinguishable from Joe Sixpack from Ohio, I've never experienced blatant skepticism. But someone once asked me if we had cellphones over there. In 2010.

In 1980, my dad, also a white guy from a first world country, went to Nebraska as a teenager in some sort of exchange program. He was asked if he had ever had pizza before.

Some things never change...

uniwelder

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #67 on: December 31, 2020, 02:38:51 PM »
In 1980, my dad, also a white guy from a first world country, went to Nebraska as a teenager in some sort of exchange program. He was asked if he had ever had pizza before.

Being prejudiced (grew up around NJ NY area) I've asked similar questions of other Americans from the further out stretches of the country.  Did pizza exist in Nebraska in 1980?  Totally valid question in my opinion.

Dave1442397

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #68 on: December 31, 2020, 05:30:04 PM »
In 1980, my dad, also a white guy from a first world country, went to Nebraska as a teenager in some sort of exchange program. He was asked if he had ever had pizza before.

When I first came to the US in 1985 (from a first world country) I'd never seen pizza before in my life. In 1986, when my cousins came to visit Ireland, the first pizza place had just opened - Chicago deep dish only, which, being from NJ & NY, they barely recognized as pizza :)

SwordGuy

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #69 on: December 31, 2020, 08:59:16 PM »
In 1980, my dad, also a white guy from a first world country, went to Nebraska as a teenager in some sort of exchange program. He was asked if he had ever had pizza before.

When I first came to the US in 1985 (from a first world country) I'd never seen pizza before in my life. In 1986, when my cousins came to visit Ireland, the first pizza place had just opened - Chicago deep dish only, which, being from NJ & NY, they barely recognized as pizza :)
Back around 1990 I went to the Netherlands for a business trip.  Local folks there took me out to dinner to a Pizza Hut restaurant -- um, thanks?? -- but the funny part was that they ate the pizza with a knife and fork.   I had to teach them the American way to eat pizza.  They were horrified with it. :)

SwordGuy

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #70 on: December 31, 2020, 09:56:49 PM »
@Adventine , you realize the reason so many folks participate on this thread is because we all like you, don't you?

Adventine

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #71 on: January 01, 2021, 12:17:57 AM »
@SwordGuy I'm blushing!! You're so nice.

All the pizza stories made me laugh out loud! I don't have a good pizza story (yet), but here's a story in the same vein:

In the Philippines, especially when dining at home, you are expected to know how to cut meat on your plate with a fork and spoon, without using a knife. To this day, when I am faced with the choice between a fork+knife and fork+spoon to cut meat, I prefer to use the fork+spoon, simply because it's how I was raised and I'm more comfortable with it. I'll probably get a few odd looks for that.

@UnleashHell thank you. When the homesickness hits, I will go back to this thread and reread your advice, along with the other great feedback here.

@elaine amj Those are good ideas. And you are right that it's best to "meet the scepticism with a lot of smiles".

@Tigerpine  In local shops, I am a size M or L. When I visited a local Old Navy, I was surprised that size S was so roomy!

@erutio Thank you, yes, I am aware of the stereotypes, but it's always good to be reminded. The Philippines used to be an American colony and the US military presence here has been a contentious issue ever since I can remember. I have had to navigate the love-hate relationship that many Filipinos have when it comes to the United States, as well as certain expectations from people here, when they find out I am engaged to a USC. As elaine amj said, I simply choose to smile and cheerfully explain as much as is appropriate in the context.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2021, 12:29:02 AM by Adventine »

elaine amj

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #72 on: January 01, 2021, 01:30:14 AM »



In the Philippines, especially when dining at home, you are expected to know how to cut meat on your plate with a fork and spoon, without using a knife. To this day, when I am faced with the choice between a fork+knife and fork+spoon to cut meat, I prefer to use the fork+spoon, simply because it's how I was raised and I'm more comfortable with it. I'll probably get a few odd looks for that.

YES to eating with a fork and spoon!!  Although I am always careful to have forks and knives set out for guests ;) I always enjoy explaining cultural differences.

Oh here's another one I was unexpectedly shocked at - washing dishes in a sinkful of hot, soapy water.

And my first potluck. I considered myself well-versed in Western cuisine. I didn't recognize 75% of the dishes at a Christmas potluck. Then again, what I saw at a Chinese buffet was so completely foreign looking (I'm Chinese Malaysian), I ate the pizza LOL!

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Dicey

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #73 on: January 01, 2021, 02:21:48 AM »
@Adventine , you realize the reason so many folks participate on this thread is because we all like you, don't you?
^^This^^

Wow, the "inter-racial" comment upthread really threw me. I live in the Bay Area. An old friend and former roommate is Japanese via Hawaii who married a nice Jewish boy from NY. Another very good friend is half Chinese, half Japanese. Her family also happens to be from Hawaii. I don't think of either of them as "inter-racial". My brother is married to a woman from China, as in has been in the US fewer than a dozen years. I don't think of them as "inter-racial". My brother has adopted her now teen-aged son. I consider him my nephew, same as the rest of my sibling's kids. I guess in the Bay Area, its so common that it doesn't attract much attention. If the place you move to is less blase or worse shows their ignorance by being unkind to you, please know that it isn't that way everywhere.

One other tip: when you move to a new place, look for other recent-ish transplants, for they are also likely to be looking to make new friends. The folks who were born and educated in a single place and never moved very far from their birthplace tend to have a full complement of friends and family and are not necessarily interested in expanding their social circle.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #74 on: January 01, 2021, 05:26:53 AM »
In the Philippines, especially when dining at home, you are expected to know how to cut meat on your plate with a fork and spoon, without using a knife. To this day, when I am faced with the choice between a fork+knife and fork+spoon to cut meat, I prefer to use the fork+spoon, simply because it's how I was raised and I'm more comfortable with it. I'll probably get a few odd looks for that.
In that same vein, I don't think I'll ever be able to eat like an American, with one hand on my lap. My parents weren't particularly strict about table manners, but keeping your hands where others can see them was non-negotiable. That habit is never going away.

Dave1442397

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #75 on: January 01, 2021, 12:23:31 PM »
Another funny pizza story. My friend's younger brother came to NY for a summer in the early '90s, so we took him out for pizza (cheap back then - $2.50 for two slices and a soda).

He'd never had pizza, and was ready to ask for a knife and fork, but everyone laughed and said, no, just pick it up and eat it like us! So I watched as he picked up the slice and started eating it...crust first. A few bites later, the slice lost it's structural rigidity and folded over, unleashing a large blob of molten hot greasy cheese and sauce right down his shirt. He thought it was funny later...not so much at the time :)

oldladystache

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #76 on: January 01, 2021, 02:12:30 PM »
Quote
Oh here's another one I was unexpectedly shocked at - washing dishes in a sinkful of hot, soapy water.

Really? How do you wash dishes?

Paul der Krake

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #77 on: January 01, 2021, 02:40:43 PM »
In 1980, my dad, also a white guy from a first world country, went to Nebraska as a teenager in some sort of exchange program. He was asked if he had ever had pizza before.

When I first came to the US in 1985 (from a first world country) I'd never seen pizza before in my life. In 1986, when my cousins came to visit Ireland, the first pizza place had just opened - Chicago deep dish only, which, being from NJ & NY, they barely recognized as pizza :)
Okay I just spent way too long reading about pizza history and that fact blew my mind. There have been pizzerias on the continent for so long, I had assumed it was the case everywhere. But one does not simply cross the Irish sea, apparently.

Funnily enough, Norwegians are now the most rapacious pizza eaters in the world.

Sorry what were we talking about again?

Adventine

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #78 on: January 01, 2021, 07:13:49 PM »
@Paul der Krake  @Dave1442397 Isn't it great how something as simple as pizza can upend so many assumptions we have about the world?

@Dicey I'm blushing some more over here!

Quote
Oh here's another one I was unexpectedly shocked at - washing dishes in a sinkful of hot, soapy water.

Really? How do you wash dishes?

With regular room temperature tap water, likely from a faucet that doesn't have hot/cold settings. In tropical countries like the Philippines and Malaysia, water never freezes in pipes and grease never becomes solid, unless you stick it in the refrigerator.

AccidentialMustache

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #79 on: January 01, 2021, 09:32:30 PM »
In that same vein, I don't think I'll ever be able to eat like an American, with one hand on my lap. My parents weren't particularly strict about table manners, but keeping your hands where others can see them was non-negotiable. That habit is never going away.

As an American I have no idea what you're talking about. I had to look it up. It is probably related to me being left handed, so I don't do the fork-switch thing. My right may be in my lap, but it also may be operating the knife to scootch things onto my fork. You may be able to guess, I'm not big on "formal dining" rules. I've never gotten in particular trouble for it. The formal dining rules are probably more highbrow or coastal elite than I roll.

AccidentialMustache

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #80 on: January 01, 2021, 09:37:31 PM »
Okay I just spent way too long reading about pizza history and that fact blew my mind. There have been pizzerias on the continent for so long, I had assumed it was the case everywhere. But one does not simply cross the Irish sea, apparently.

Don't judge the Irish for ignoring British pizza. The Brits put corn and peas on their pizza. I did a double-take when I was served it (late 80s, Wiltshire).

They didn't seem to have pepperoni, or much of any meats on pizza, which was extra weird since every other crisp is meat-flavored over there (I grew to appreciate them over time), while back in the states, meat flavored chips pretty much didn't exist back then and only barely do now.

SwordGuy

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #81 on: January 01, 2021, 09:37:37 PM »
In that same vein, I don't think I'll ever be able to eat like an American, with one hand on my lap. My parents weren't particularly strict about table manners, but keeping your hands where others can see them was non-negotiable. That habit is never going away.

I lived in Ethiopia 12 or 13 months (depending on whose calendar one measured it by).   There eating with your left hand is a real no-no.   

I'm left-handed.

I spent the year sitting on my left hand when I was dining in public because otherwise I would forget.

Dicey

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #82 on: January 02, 2021, 05:24:34 AM »
In that same vein, I don't think I'll ever be able to eat like an American, with one hand on my lap. My parents weren't particularly strict about table manners, but keeping your hands where others can see them was non-negotiable. That habit is never going away.

As an American I have no idea what you're talking about. I had to look it up. It is probably related to me being left handed, so I don't do the fork-switch thing. My right may be in my lap, but it also may be operating the knife to scootch things onto my fork. You may be able to guess, I'm not big on "formal dining" rules. I've never gotten in particular trouble for it. The formal dining rules are probably more highbrow or coastal elite than I roll.
When I was about 14, our Girl Scout Troop made a trip to Nuestra Cabana in Cuernavaca, Mexico. We mingled with Scouts from all over the world. My mom was one of our leaders. At lunch one day, we were sitting at the same table, which was not our habit (see: I was a young teenager). The person seated across from us suddenly said to me, in a sweet (US) southern accent, "I can't figure out what you're doing...". I was surprised when my mom quickly jumped to my defense, because I had no idea what the girl was talking about. We were all eating the same food. My mother explained that she taught me how to cut my food before she realized I was left-handed. Therefore, I did not switch my knife and fork. (My fork stays in my left hand, my knife in my right. No changing back and forth.) My mother quickly shut down the charming sounding snarkiness by adding that that was the European style. I had never noticed that I ate differently than anyone. I also wondered why my mother came so strongly to my defense. I eventually figured out that my mom took the girl's question as a challenge to her parenting skills, which in retrospect was damn funny. She wasn't defending me, she was defending herself.* I have traveled the world since then and now I notice different eating styles, but I haven't changed my "incorrect" way of eating. I guess it's a good thing I never wanted to be a spy...

* Batsignalling @SheWhoWalksAtLunch, so we can nod our heads and share a rueful laugh together.

And @SwordGuy, I did the same thing the first time I went to an Ethiopian restaurant. Fortunately, most food is eaten with the hands, which made it much easier than trying to negotiate food to my mouth with a fork in the wrong hsnd.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2021, 09:56:03 AM by Dicey »

Kris

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #83 on: January 02, 2021, 06:55:34 AM »
In that same vein, I don't think I'll ever be able to eat like an American, with one hand on my lap. My parents weren't particularly strict about table manners, but keeping your hands where others can see them was non-negotiable. That habit is never going away.

I lived in Ethiopia 12 or 13 months (depending on whose calendar one measured it by).   There eating with your left hand is a real no-no.   

I'm left-handed.

I spent the year sitting on my left hand when I was dining in public because otherwise I would forget.

Ha — that’s what I had to do when I was traveling in West Africa, too. Being left-handed there was a big PITA!

wenchsenior

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #84 on: January 02, 2021, 01:45:04 PM »
In that same vein, I don't think I'll ever be able to eat like an American, with one hand on my lap. My parents weren't particularly strict about table manners, but keeping your hands where others can see them was non-negotiable. That habit is never going away.

As an American I have no idea what you're talking about. I had to look it up. It is probably related to me being left handed, so I don't do the fork-switch thing. My right may be in my lap, but it also may be operating the knife to scootch things onto my fork. You may be able to guess, I'm not big on "formal dining" rules. I've never gotten in particular trouble for it. The formal dining rules are probably more highbrow or coastal elite than I roll.

I also had no idea what this was about.  I was taught to keep elbows off the table, but not hands.  I haven't 'dined formally' in years, so I wonder what else I don't know.

 And this 'cutting meat with fork and spoon' thing sounds incredibly difficult.  I'm trying to imagine cutting the venison steaks I had the other day into delicious thin ribbons with fork and spoon and really struggling LOL.  Maybe that's from more vegetarian oriented food cultures, or ones that eat more fish?
« Last Edit: January 02, 2021, 01:46:44 PM by wenchsenior »

Adventine

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #85 on: January 02, 2021, 10:26:52 PM »
And this 'cutting meat with fork and spoon' thing sounds incredibly difficult.  I'm trying to imagine cutting the venison steaks I had the other day into delicious thin ribbons with fork and spoon and really struggling LOL.  Maybe that's from more vegetarian oriented food cultures, or ones that eat more fish?

We eat plenty of meat, although it's usually tender. Here is an instructional video!

Eating Adobo and Rice with a Spoon and Fork

For tougher cuts of meat, I'm open to using a knife, but only after I've failed to cut the meat with the spoon.

elaine amj

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #86 on: January 02, 2021, 10:29:47 PM »
And in our case, most of our meat is served cut up into bite sized (or slightly larger pieces). Or they are very tender and easy to cut with a spoon. You can fit so much more food in a spoon :) and actually eat your rice and meat together in one delicious mouthful.

I would break out a knife for a steak. Unless I am dining alone at home. At which point I am more likely to act like a barbarian and pick it up with fork (or fingers) and chew.

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« Last Edit: January 02, 2021, 10:31:33 PM by elaine amj »

dcheesi

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #87 on: January 03, 2021, 08:49:51 AM »
In that same vein, I don't think I'll ever be able to eat like an American, with one hand on my lap. My parents weren't particularly strict about table manners, but keeping your hands where others can see them was non-negotiable. That habit is never going away.

As an American I have no idea what you're talking about. I had to look it up. It is probably related to me being left handed, so I don't do the fork-switch thing. My right may be in my lap, but it also may be operating the knife to scootch things onto my fork. You may be able to guess, I'm not big on "formal dining" rules. I've never gotten in particular trouble for it. The formal dining rules are probably more highbrow or coastal elite than I roll.
When I was abou 14, our Girl Scout Troop made a trip to Nuestra Cabana in Cuernavaca, Mexico. We mingled with Scouts from all over the world. My mom was one of our leaders. At lunch one day, we were sitting at the same table, which was not our habit (see: I was a young teenager). The person seated across from us suddenly said to me, in a sweet (US) southern accent, "I can't figure out what you're doing...". I was surprised when my mom quickly jumped to my defense, because I had no idea what the girl was talking about. We were all eating the same food. My mother explained that she taught me how to cut my food before she realized I was left-handed. Therefore, I did not switch my knife and fork. (My fork stays in my left hand, my knife in my right. No changing back and forth.) My mother quickly shut down the charming sounding snarkiness by adding that that was the European style. I had never noticed that I ate differently than anyone. I also wondered why my mother came so strongly to my defense. I eventually figured out that my mom took the girl's question as a challenge to her parenting skills, which in retrospect was damn funny. She wasn't defending me, she was defending herself.* I have traveled the world since then and now I notice different eating styles, but I haven't changed my "incorrect" way of eating. I guess it's a good thing I never wanted to be a spy...

* Batsignalling @SheWhoWalksAtLunch, so we can nod our heads and share a rueful laugh together.

And @SwordGuy, I did the same thing the first time I went to an Ethiopian restaurant. Fortunately, most food is eaten with the hands, which made it much easier than trying to negotiate food to my mouth with a fork in the wrong hsnd.
I was so thrilled when I found out about the European style! Switching utensils is just cumbersome, and the fact that the European etiquette puts the fork in my good hand makes it a no brainer for me (though it must be a PITA for most right-handed folks?).

I've never been to a right-hand only country, though my Malaysian friends in college mentioned it. I'm usually a pretty agreeable sort, but I'm not sure well I'd handle that one. As cis white male, being left handed is about my only hill to die on, so to speak. I certainly don't worry about it when eating in one of the (many) Ethiopian restaurants where I currently live. But I get that things are different when you're in that country, and possibly trying to establish social ties with the locals.

SwordGuy

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #88 on: January 03, 2021, 10:12:24 AM »
I certainly don't worry about it when eating in one of the (many) Ethiopian restaurants where I currently live. But I get that things are different when you're in that country, and possibly trying to establish social ties with the locals.

Traditional Ethiopian fare is eaten with one's hands, often out of communal  bowls.   So hand cleanliness is important.

Many countries without (historically or current) access to lots of clean water and modern toilets have an "eating hand" and a "shit cleaning hand".   Since most people are right-handed they use their left hand for the other task.    That's why they have the social taboos they do.

I never worried about the social taboo when eating with western implements and with my own (private) plate full of food because they rightly didn't care.

dcheesi

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #89 on: January 04, 2021, 06:38:29 AM »
I certainly don't worry about it when eating in one of the (many) Ethiopian restaurants where I currently live. But I get that things are different when you're in that country, and possibly trying to establish social ties with the locals.

Traditional Ethiopian fare is eaten with one's hands, often out of communal  bowls.   So hand cleanliness is important.

Many countries without (historically or current) access to lots of clean water and modern toilets have an "eating hand" and a "shit cleaning hand".   Since most people are right-handed they use their left hand for the other task.    That's why they have the social taboos they do.

I never worried about the social taboo when eating with western implements and with my own (private) plate full of food because they rightly didn't care.
Oh I'm aware, but that's part of the issue actually. At the risk of TMI, let's just say that that's an invalid assumption when it comes to many lefties --and from some conversations I've had, it's unreliable regarding Westerners in general. And one of the things that really bugs me is when slavish devotion to cultural taboos results in directly violating the original spirit of said rules.

MishMash

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #90 on: January 04, 2021, 06:56:51 AM »
Food wise, might I suggest going to your local flea markets?  I grew up in NJ, our neighbors were Filipino and man did they love their Balut.  Now you could find it in every Filipino store in NJ but outside of the state it was difficult to find.  Well, in every state I've lived in (which I move..A LOT) The local flea markets have the BEST samplings of non American foods (and usually better produce as well) than local stores.  Now here in FL, you can find Balut, and other at 2 of the 3 local flea markets. 

And that's just an example, I know it's not everyones cup of tea, but if you are looking for fresh ingredients, and don't have a specialty grocer in your area, the flea markets, and in some cases the Hispanic markets, will probably have many ingredients you are familiar with.

cangelosibrown

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #91 on: January 04, 2021, 08:03:23 AM »
Few random thoughts (I'm american, my wife is not).

Uniqlo (since you mentioned it, I'm wearing a heattech shirt right now) sizes are different in the US than Asia. I'm an XL in asia, and a L in the US, they're exactly the same other than the label.

Immigration paperwork: we never used a lawyer. No need to, as long as you're very, and I mean very, good at following directions and paying attention to details. Our experience was always smooth with immigration, the interview took about 5 minutes. He asked how we met, and then he told us stories about his grandkids for the rest of the time. I think it helps a lot if you "look" like a plausible real couple (which you definitely do judging by that adorable profile picture!)

Food: the best thing about Asia is that it's possible to buy food that's  cheap and healthy. In the US, you have to choose 1 of the 2. Not much of an issue if you're cooking at home, but any time you're out, it's impossible to eat healthy and cheap in this country. That said, Memphis is terrific food city. Payne's BBQ is one of my all-time favorites. As is Cozy Corner, although last time I went through it had burned to the ground.

Don't worry about the climate as much as you think. Winter comes on gradually, and you adjust over time. Flying straight from Manila to December in the US is rough, but when it comes on gradually your body and soul adjust and it's not that bad.

Good Luck with Everything!






cangelosibrown

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #92 on: January 04, 2021, 08:14:11 AM »
Also need to add this video, which should be viewed by anyone who is preparing to move to Memphis TN.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYE-1HfReQo

Adventine

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #93 on: January 04, 2021, 08:54:28 AM »
@MishMash thanks for the flea market recommendation. I was wondering when someone would mention balut. It's one of the things I will be glad to leave behind! I can only stomach the "soup" and the yolk. Everything else, I let my mother happily devour.

@cangelosibrown Glad to hear from someone who also DIYed the immigration process! It's always reassuring because so many things can go wrong for the unprepared.

And I've been to the Bass Pro pyramid!! All the fishing gear boggled the mind. There's nothing like it where I"m from.

The best thing about it was the view of the Mississippi and the surrounding land. I looked out at the wide open expanse of the US and marveled.

The physical and mental background of my entire life has always been Manila, a megacity wedged between the mountains and the sea, with one of the highest population densities in the world. Just the idea of having so much more space in Memphis is appealing.

SwordGuy

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #94 on: January 04, 2021, 09:09:53 AM »
Memphis used to have a city park within walking distance of every home.   I don't know whether they've kept that up as the city expanded.  But older neighborhoods did.

Here's where I lived as a kid after my dad left the Army.

https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/5183-Lynbar-Ave-Memphis-TN-38117/42208074_zpid/

It was a whole lot prettier when it still had azaleas and the rose garden my mom put in.   My dad and I turned a huge screen porch into a den and workshop, added a bathroom, and then added a workshop on the back of that.  I learned a lot of skills doing that.

I think that set of skills and the attitude of "just go make it happen" that went along with it were some of the most useful things I learned from my parents.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2021, 09:24:20 AM by SwordGuy »

elaine amj

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #95 on: January 04, 2021, 12:39:06 PM »
Memphis used to have a city park within walking distance of every home.   I don't know whether they've kept that up as the city expanded.  But older neighborhoods did.

One thing I really, really, really appreciate about North America is the amount of parkland. I don't know what it's like in Manila, but growing up in Kuala Lumpur - yes, we had our urban parks, etc - but it is nothing like what is available everywhere all over North America.

And the feeling of safety. It's lovely not to have the niggling worries about snatch thieves and kidnappers. And the possibility of violence over petty thefts.

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MishMash

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Re: Things you wish you knew before immigrating to the United States
« Reply #96 on: January 05, 2021, 03:33:22 PM »
@MishMash thanks for the flea market recommendation. I was wondering when someone would mention balut. It's one of the things I will be glad to leave behind! I can only stomach the "soup" and the yolk. Everything else, I let my mother happily devour.

@cangelosibrown Glad to hear from someone who also DIYed the immigration process! It's always reassuring because so many things can go wrong for the unprepared.

And I've been to the Bass Pro pyramid!! All the fishing gear boggled the mind. There's nothing like it where I"m from.

The best thing about it was the view of the Mississippi and the surrounding land. I looked out at the wide open expanse of the US and marveled.

The physical and mental background of my entire life has always been Manila, a megacity wedged between the mountains and the sea, with one of the highest population densities in the world. Just the idea of having so much more space in Memphis is appealing.

Lol, yea that's why it's just an example, it's like one of the most off the wall things to an American so I just used it as a "if you can find Balut...you can find ANYTHING" type of example. Good luck with your immigration process! I hope once everything settles down you can take a trip to some of the national parks, you want to talk about stunning wide open spaces, some of them are just astonishing!