I love America's diversity. And I don't just mean Mexicans, Chinese, Irish, Africans, and Vietnamese amid many many immigrant nationalities. I mean, I appreciate how Americans are comfortable just being whoever they are.
Let me explain.
I recently visited the States- Los Angeles, specifically. When I travel home from abroad, I like to pay attention to my first thoughts being home again. Yes, I'm jet-lagged, dehydrated, smelly, and spacey, but this is also the time I'm most sensitive to America's distinctiveness. If you immerse me for a few more hours, the novelty soon wears off and I don't even notice really interesting anthropological details anymore.
So, what better time and place to witness America's self-expression than fresh out of customs at the baggage claim at LAX?
Here's a sampling:
a group of body builder women
creatively tattooed and pierced people, one of whom had those earrings that stretch the earlobes way out in a creepy way
women with short short shorts
blended race families
really tall people
people with ridiculously large suitcases
lots of hugging and loud conversations
Okay, writing this now, I realize there's nothing inherently "American" about the scene. I could probably find the same in any major world capital, but coming from Japan, it absolutely struck me as special and American.
Another thing I realized at LAX is that Americans like chitchat. A lot. Chitchat with strangers. Maybe because in Japan, I'm language impaired, I don't notice spontaneous encounters around me so much.
But in those few short moments at the baggage claim, three different people engaged me in some kind of casual talk. My favorite was a lady who told me all about her 3 year daughter's teeth-brushing habits.
Coming from abroad, what do you first notice about Americans when you enter the States?