Good Ol' America

I touched American soil for the first time in 31 months this morning at 5:35 am in Chicago, Illinois. I had to transfer through two American airports (Chicago and Nashville) before arriving in DC, where my mom stood waiting with her camera. Some of the fascinating things and habits that I saw meandering through the airports while waiting for connecting flights:

- All toilets are sit-down. No squatters.
- You can throw toilet paper in the toilet.
- All faucets are automatic, and they all work.
- You don't need to bring your own toilet paper with you to the bathroom.
- People throw their trash in the trash cans.
- There are trash cans.
- No one stares at anyone else.
- Women travelling alone.
- TVs in the airport lounge.
- In Chicago, where it was freezing outside, the minute I was out of the walkway connecting the plane and in the actual airport, I wasn't shivering. The power of central heating.
- Diet Pepsi has a new can!
- So does Coke!
- Almost everyone in the airport was well-dressed - and everyone was wearing closed-toe shoes! No plastic sandals or hand-me-down flip flops here.
- Cell phone obsession.
- There were two Starbucks in 1 terminal in Chicago!
- When people queue for customs and to board the plane, there's no cutting in line. People assemble in an orderly, single-file line, and there are no Bedouin women or impatient Indian men who simply walk to the front because they don't understand the concept of "You were here first, you're served first."
- African Americans! Didn't see much of you guys in Jordan or India :)
- Men wearing plain t-shirts. In the Middle East and India, all men wear shirts with print like, "I steal girlfriends" and "If you like what you see, you deserve to be with me." No joke. It's embarrassing just to be caught reading one.
- Drinking fountains...with safe drinking water!
- Well-behaved kids.
- Strollers. Those still exist? I'd gotten so used to babies straddling mothers' hips or tied to their mothers' backs with a scarf that I'd thought strollers were extinct.
- Snow in Chicago.
- Southern accents in Nashville.
- No Smoking - and people obeying these signs.
- Carpeted floors.

And these were just when I was at the airports waiting for connecting flights!

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