I just got back from my recent trip to the United States of America (haha buong-buo talaga!) Anyway, this was my first time in the USA and many other first of all my firstest. Haha! My trip was about two weeks, this has been the longest I’ve been away from my DD Tasha and I must tell you it was hard. It felt like everyday I wanna go home and sleep by her side. Yes we co-sleep.
Anyway , I had so many realizations from this trip.
Working away from your country
First was about those working abroad (OFW’s) and even non-Filipino or non-OFW who needs to work away from their family or love of their lives. It is so hard not to be able to see or be with the people you love in person. It’s like a part of you is lost or has been taken away from you. I am glad and grateful that God gave me opportunities in my own country so I don’t feel the need to resort to working away from home. It’s not a lifestyle for me. It is such a difficult situation to be in . Unless you can bring your entire family with you, then it wouldn’t be so bad.
Second was about jet lag. I never really understood the entire essence of jet lag until I had one. Jet lag happens when your travel time is so long that you have to cross time zones! I have lost two days on the airplane and travelling from one continent to another. My body clock got so confused that I have sleepless days and nights . I can’t even tell what day and time it was even if my smartphone shows me the time and date home and where I am.
Third. I need to learn how to drive. If you don’t have a car or don’t know how to drive in the US you won’t get anywhere you want when you want to. Yes, they have public transport but it is not the same as here in the Philippines where you can flag a cab, jeep, bus, tricycle anytime anywhere you want and need. Public bus has schedule and stops. If you miss your 8am bus even just for 1 minute, you will have to wait another hour. While there are cabs and Uber, it is expensive. From our hotel to the airport we had to pay our Uber $75.00 ! Everywhere is a long drive to everywhere and when they say 3 hour drive it is 3 hour drive because of the distance. Unlike when in Manila 3 hours is because of bad traffic.
Los Angeles (LA) California has the same traffic situation like in Metro Manila. Downtown LA is a business district as well so traffic is crazy even in the expressway especially during rush hour! But they have bigger roads and less pollution. Driving in LA is so much better as they follow traffic rules and pedestrians are king. Pedestrians comes first.
We are so spoiled here in the Philippines, we have everything within our reach. We don’t need to drive 5 minutes or 30 minutes to get to a supermarket. Life is so convenient here in the Philippines we should not take that forgranted.
Night life street life at night
So, I thought the USA is so liberated and open and everything. I was expecting LA to be hustling and bustling . Surprisingly by 8pm everything calms down. Most stores and public establishments are closed by 8 or 9pm. There are very few restaurants or hang-out places that closes late the latest is 12mn. Bars / night clubs / night life starts early here after office hours they start drinking and partying because like it or not they will close at 2PM no more or less.
Drunk driving and bars
People are not allowed to drive if they consumed even a small amount of alcohol. Bar staff are trained to get your car keys if you have consumed alcohol. They won’t give it to you until you are sober. You can leave your car at their parking lot overnight, get your keys from them the next day when you are sober. They will even get you a cab to take you home if drunk or consumed alcohol.
Not gated homes
I love how the houses here don’t have gates or walls . You can see what’s happening inside from outside as you pass by. You can literally walk in and knock on houses one after another. Of course people don’t do this unless they need to or when Trick or Treating haha! This is how safe and secure they feel towards their law enforcers. Every place has CCTV in place and one call from their police department / 911 and response time is so quick , just a few seconds they are there. Well this is in LA of course. In Oregon I was told it was different. But there’s not too much crime or people anyway so its very chill.
When I was there, the curious cat in me was looking everywhere. I was looking for people. I don’t see people loitering around the streets or walking anywhere. People don’t hang out outside their houses or along the streets or outside establishments . When we went to a house party, I realized that they have big backyards and that is where they are hanging out with friends having a barbeque party. They are also mostly on malls on a weekend .
Their malls are not like our malls that is an enclosed establishment/ building. Theirs are more like Bonifacio Global City BGC High street style, that’s what they call a mall there in US.
People working in the service industry are so courteous and polite and friendly in California and Oregon. People working in the service industry should learn a thing or two from them. I was expecting an air of arrogance or sort but I did not experience that. Maybe I caught people at the right time during my visit?
Real Christmas Tree
Christmas tree are real, especially at the malls we visited, the Grove and Americana at the Brand! They were enormous and they were real!
Black Friday/ Thanksgiving
It was fun to experience my first and real Black Friday event at Walmart. People really await this sale event. Imagine a 55 inch LED screen TV with the latest technology on sale for $249 only! Normally it is over $1,000! Such a great buy. I was able to score some items for my daughter at the sale. Too bad I wasn’t able to visit the outlet stores because IDK haha . But really because when I travel to a new place I rather spend time sight seeing and eating and meeting friends than shop. I can do shopping anywhere but I can not see the same things everywhere right?
Immigration process in the airport was a breeze. Everything was mechanical so it was faster and more efficient. You scan your own passport and then just go through the immigration officer who will check and stamp your passport and take your picture.
I would like to thank Organique ACAI for sponsoring my trip to California, Ms. Cathy, Annie, Jeff, Regine Tolentino and Ricky Lo for being a kind and thoughtful and tour companions. ABS-CBN Mae, Lani, Ben, Mel. PixRepublic friends Rochelle and hubby, Maurene and hubby and Nikko. Thank you to Asiatico Fusion Sushi Waterfront for sponsoring my trip to Oregon, hello bestfriend Teri and chef hubby Jason . Thank you World Traveller (Primer Group of Companies) for my luggage #thatfirstfeeling travelling to the US is incredible! Thank you to Asus Philippines for the Zenfone 3 Max, it takes gorgeous photos especially at night the low light mode is genius!
I know some of my realizations are so trivial but from the eyes of a first timer, it was an interesting discovery that I think I need to and want to share. This post is btw, is just an intro to my #EarthintheUSAadventure posts. Please stay tuned in for more detailed stories soonest.
Stay gorgeous everyone!