“When I moved to the US as a child, I remember being blown away by the hot water that came out of the faucet.”
Two weeks ago, Reddit user patiencemchonesty posted a question on AskReddit: “Immigrants to America: What was the most pleasant surprise?”
More than 12,000 people have answered and commented. As far as Reddit forums go, this one is hopeful, heartwarming, funny, and a good tonic for anti-immigrant sentiment. The number of responses, from immigrants new and old, illustrates the breadth of voices and diversity of cultures in this country. Some highlights are below (note: the posts below contain grammar and punctuation errors as they occurred in the original posts):
ATMs where you can deposit cash. Mind was blown.
How National and State Parks are even more beautiful than I imagined
The seemingly endless rows of food in the grocery stores. And all the apples. Who needs 50 different kinds of apples?
Showers and running hot water. I was born in the Philippines. Showers and hot water aren't really common in older homes over there. Not having to fill buckets with water and boiling some over a stove top was such a big surprise for me. Experiencing that as a twelve year old was an unforgettable experience. Yet, most people who live here (me included) take it for granted sometimes.
I came here 4 months ago and everything has been a shock in one way or another, im from a third world country, and we know a thing or two about america but u have to experience it.
-Choosing your own shower temperature!
-Everyone is so polite and good manners are everywhere, any religion or race you are everyone seems to say thank you and your welcome, or ask me how i am or how is my day!
-how easy you can buy stuff online and they arrive so fast!
-buildings and bridges are so...amazing, like the infrastructure is good, it makes you thing "wow, mankind DID THIS"
-big ass celebrations!
-how people can go out look gay,wasted,weird etc and no one bats an eye
-and the biggest of them all, FAST INTERNET!
Air. You don't really notice how REAL fresh air feels like when you've been breathing in polluted air all your life
You don't have to bribe the cops
how hiking, biking and camping is made so easy. well marked trails, with clearly specified difficulty levels, park rangers to help you, documented rules to follow for a good experience, bike trails documented on Google maps, camping equipment you can buy at Walmart with crisp instructions every step of the way.... and well maintained national and state parks.
My dad is Indian and was born in Trinidad. He says the first thing he ate when he came to the US was pizza. He said that it was magical, and that nothing has ever been as good as that first piece of pizza.
I grew up in a rural area of a war-ravaged country. When I moved to the US as a child, I remember being blown away by the hot water that came out of the faucet. I even wrote a letter to my relatives back home about this amazing thing. One other thing I was pleasantly surprised about was how openly Americans discuss everything. Growing up, I was taught the Vietnamese version of the Vietnam War in school. In my mind, I thought in America people would not talk about it since it's a shameful thing and the government would suppress all discussions of it like in Vietnam. When I came here, I saw that people can openly speak about these things even when there are many disagreements.
I was born in Ethiopia which is a small east African country that is extremely poor and moved to California when I was 12. The first time I went to Costco would have to be a crazy experience there was so much food and stuff in one place I felt like i was in the matrix.
Honestly? Public libraries. I had no idea such things existed until the public librarian in my neighborhood went to our school and invited us to get a library card. It literally changed my life.
Original Reddit thread here.