So I went to America. Saw some things. Ate some things. Drank some things. Made a few observations that I will now share, along with a few awesome pictures for your visual stimulation. I’m quite generous you know.
1.) Americans overall are not the most attractive people on the planet.
I recall thinking the reverse when I first arrived in Korea, that Koreans are all super beautiful (hello, their cheekbones are only 18 stories high). But back then I didn’t consider what that meant for Americans. To be fair, this particular observation was first made hanging out at LAX and as everyone knows, airports are full of seedy and unfortunate looking characters, but I also thought LA was supposed to be teeming with beautiful people. If this is where are the pretties go, America should remove itself from the international beauty contest immediately because it’s sort of embarrassing. We as a people do not age well (see #5 for why) and we’re mostly quite flabby (also see #5 for why). Ew.
2.) Americans are also pretty frumpy.
Again, I remember arriving in Korea and being mortified by how well dressed and put together every Korean and his mom looked. I already consider myself rather fashion-challenged at home, but Korea made me look like a homeless person, complete with hole-ridden garments and scuzzy footwear. I made sure to blend in at home again though, happily donning my sweats all the way to my final destination and then some (shut up, it’s bad enough to spend 31 straight hours in a bra, screw jeans). But I wasn’t the only one. Lots of velour track suits (apparently I flew all the way back to the 90’s?), lots of thongs sticking out of places no one wants to see, lots of really big t-shirts with stupid things written on them. I mean, I felt right at home, but it was hard not to notice why there are so many American television shows devoted to improving our appearance.
3.) Bathrooms CAN be clean. Even public ones.
I encountered one disgusting bathroom in California. Wasn’t at the gas station or the airport, but at a diner in San Francisco. I was pretty drunk and it was like 3 in the morning, so the circumstances didn’t call for me to freak out. But in another time and place, I would’ve refused to eat at this particular establishment. That said, I seem to enter bathrooms like that all over Korea and can’t do anything about it but vomit in my mouth and ask God why he is punishing me this way. All the American bathrooms I met were clean and didn’t smell like pee and were well stocked with both toilet paper and paper towels. Why is that so much to ask, Korea?
4.) Californians (Americans?) are really friendly.
I think I’ve been deprived of ‘stranger’ conversation: Chitchat with the person at the checkout counter, witty exchanges with someone else standing in a long, stupid line, that sort of thing. I didn’t know I missed it until it kept happening in America and I would get in the car with a warmish, satisfied feeling about the awesomeness of humankind. Koreans may be this nice too, I just don’t know because when I talk to them I sound like a drugged up toddler and they stare at me with a mixture of fear and pity. I was sort of expecting to find the opposite of my fellow countrymen, especially in and around LA. I thought I would be snooted back to Korea very quickly because after living here for five months, I’m awkward in Korea and America now (half bows to cashiers are not acceptable). But it was not so and I made friends with many a bar patron, hairdresser and checkout guy. It was fun.
5.) AMERICAN BEER IS AS GOOD AS I’VE BEEN REMEMBERING.
Yeah. Not gonna spare anyone’s jealous feelings here. American beer is fucking amazing and tasty and buzz-inducing. Everything a beer should be. Happily, I went to California where Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (the best non-IPA beer there is) is on tap at like every establishment. I also went to the Sierra Nevada Brewery where I had sixteen “tastes” (giant shot glasses) of different beer. And boy were they delicious tastes man. If I could’ve smuggled beer back here, I would’ve totally ditched my shopping spree loot and the cases of Dayquil I managed to get past customs. Beer. BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEER.
6.) America is America the Beautiful.
Coming from the midwest, I have, most of my life, failed to understand how beautiful America is. In the midwest it’s farm after flat, stinky brown farm and the scenery can get a little dull. Then I lost my California virginity and spent two weeks repeating, “It’s just like on tv!” and meaning in the best way possible. I was lucky enough to see a good deal of northern and southern Cali on this trip and some of it was just so beautiful I don’t even understand how it’s possible. Driving up and down the coast you go from one spectacular setting to the next. Not only is there wonderful variety, but each landscape itself is magnificent. I’m jealous of every lucky bastard that calls California home.