Top 5 Things I Took for Granted Growing Up in the USA

Top 5 Things I Took for Granted Growing Up in the USA

There are a lot of things that can cause a person to experience culture shock when they move to a foreign country. Some of the things are quite big and obvious, like not being able to speak the native language of your new home, but there are also many small things that you’d be surprised by how much it may affect you.

Before moving to the Philippines at 18 years old, I had never ventured outside of the United States and Canada. I’ve been living in the Philippines for more than a year now, and I’d like to share my list of things that I took for granted whilst there.

Top 5 Things I Took for Granted Growing Up in the USA

Top 5 Things I Took for Granted Growing Up in the USA 

5.) The Temperature

 

Of course, the United States is a big country, and the temperature varies quite greatly depending on where you specifically live. I grew up in Olympia, Washington, on the West coast. It rains a lot there, and anything above 20 degrees Celsius is already considered hot. We have a joke there due to the fact that sunny, warm days are extremely rare: “When is summer coming?” “It was a Wednesday last year”, implying that we only have one day of decent weather each year.

Top 5 Things I Took for Granted Growing Up in the USANotice that it’s already 10am in Olympia, and still much colder than it is in the middle of the night here in QC

Air-conditioning was never something we needed much in Olympia. My family had one, sure, but it sat in the garage collecting dust for most of the year. We only installed it for a few weeks in July if we got lucky enough to experience a warm summer. During the winter, I slept with 5+ blankets on top of me at night just to keep warm. Keeping warm here in Manila isn’t difficult at all, especially since when we don’t have an air conditioning unit!

4.) Hot Showers

 

Along with the temperature outdoors, another thing I totally took for granted was the hot water tank. I have to say I miss hot showers. Even after taking cold baths with the bucket and ladle for over a year, I still can’t get used to the cold water, no matter how warm the weather is. Some days, I heat water on the stove to add to the bucket before washing up, but most mornings, I simply don’t have time to wait for the kettle to boil. 

Top 5 Things I Took for Granted Growing Up in the USA

3.) Housework

 

Of course, no matter where in the world you live, there will be plenty of housework to do. However, it never occurred to me that it’d be different on the other side of the world from where I grew up. For one, hard floors seem to be more common in the Philippines, whereas back in Washington, most places have carpets. Back there, I spent a lot more time vacuuming than sweeping; here, it is the opposite. I can’t remember the last time I used a vacuum!

Top 5 Things I Took for Granted Growing Up in the USA

  

2.) Household Appliances

 

In the United States, a lot of appliances that are considered luxuries here in the Philippines are just standard. If you rent a house or apartment, more often then not, it will already have an oven installed, as well as a refrigerator, dish-washing machine, and possibly even a washer and dryer. Every house I grew up in had all of these things; they are considered basic necessities. After moving to the Philippines, though, I now view these as luxury items, and we currently don’t have any of these things except for a washing machine. Now, I do all my baking with a toaster oven!

Top 5 Things I Took for Granted Growing Up in the USAMy homemade chocolate chip cookies, ready to be taken out of the toaster oven.

 

1.) Bugs, or the Lack Thereof

 

Oh yes, one huge thing I took for granted growing up in the United States? Not having to deal with nearly as many bugs! These days, in Manila, I get at least a few mosquito bites every single day, if nothing else. Before moving to this beautiful country, I’d only seen cockroaches in aquariums! Leaving food out on the counter was never a problem, either; ants were a rare and minor annoyance. Of course, we did have a lot more spiders to try and make up for it, though, and other strange bugs like the one pictured below that I found chilling out on the side of my old house one night.

Top 5 Things I Took for Granted Growing Up in the USAI have no clue what this weird bug is!

 

When moving to a completely new country, you will experience many changes – some will be good, some will be bad, all that I can promise is there will be plenty of surprises! As an American, living in the Philippines has been an amazing, eye-opening experience for me, and I know I am so blessed to be able to have this experience. 

Top 5 Things I Took for Granted Growing Up in the USA






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