16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here

3. Britt Smith

I am American but my family immigrated here from Guyana during the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Here are some things they are surprised by:

  • Treatment of dogs. At least until the 1980s in Guyana, dog food was not a thing that existed. Dogs got table scraps and mostly were outside. They are surprised by how in America, people actually avoid feeding their dog “people food”.
  • The amount of food Americans waste. My grandma to this day remembers a story about when she came to teach in California in the 1970s. The students used to get apples along with their lunch. Nobody ate them, so they’d just throw them away or leave them at the tables. My grandma was shocked at how they were able to just throw out good food like that, and that no other teachers cared.

My mom just gave me some interesting ones.

  • Dessert. Not dessert as in sweet foods, but as in the specific course eaten after dinner. It doesn’t exist. Guyanese people eat dinner and then that’s it. I remember going to my American friend’s house and being shocked that people in real life actually ate dessert.
  • The fact that Americans don’t stay with relatives when visiting them. Many Americans would rather stay in a hotel, or at least the Americans we know. Guyanese people (or at least my family) think it’s strange that you would pay money when you have relatives to stay with, even if you can afford it. I remember when we had a family reunion, nobody paid for a hotel, so there were 3 people in my bed, 2 people on the floor in my room, 2 people in the master bedroom, 2 people in the guest room, 1 person on the couch, and 2 people on the floor in the living room. That was considered totally acceptable, whereas my American stepdad thought we were crazy.

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