Welcome Asian cousins! We hope you enjoy your visit to the United States. I’ve put together some tips for you to help make your visit to the Beautiful Kingodom go smoothly.
- You can eat whatever you want. If you would like to spend your entire stay in this country eating hamburgers, pizza, and sandwiches, it is absolutely possible. However, if you’re getting a stomach ache, you can also eat rice and vegetables, that’s easy. Here’s the trick; ask us, your Asian American cousins, where to eat. Chances are we can steer you clear of blistery egg rolls and fried chicken with sugary glaze on it; we live here, we’ve dealt with this problem before. Also, don’t assume that all the Asian food is going to be bad and that all the European food is going to be good; that is a stupid assumption, for stupid people. Stupid. One more thing, American sweets will be a thousand times sweeter than is necessary. Maybe you’ll like it, maybe not. If not, you can always go to a Cantonese, Japanese, or French bakery for cakes and pastries; they will have a more manageable level of sweetness that you are accustomed to.
- Flush the used toilet paper down the toilet.
- Clear your own plate and dishes when you can. It is considered tacky (uncivilized and ill-mannered) to walk away from a table with your garbage on it. If you are invited to eat at someone’s home, offer to help clear the table. If you are eating at a restaurant where you are served at the table (your order is taken, your food is delivered, and your bill is brought to you), there is no need to clear the dishes.
- Tip your restaurant servers. Add 15% to your restaurant check if you were served at the table at all. Add 20% if your meal included alcohol. You may tip more if you feel your server served you in a way that was more than what was expected. If you feel you got bad service, tip 10%. It is horrible to not tip a restaurant server in North America. Horrible. HORRIBLE.
- Wear your damn seat belt. I will punch you in your stupid neck if you ride in my car without your seatbelt. Then I will put you out of the car and drive away. I don’t need you.
- You will see some crazy stuff. Listen, in this country your friends will pour soy sauce over their rice and explain to you that rice has no flavor. They will find a way to put cheese on noodles, cheese on vegetables, cheese on soup; then they will ask you if you’d like extra cheese. They will stay in the shower for a long time, and when they come out, the entire bathroom will be filled with steam and it will spill out into the hallway. There will be mysterious invisible zones where smoking is against the law, and there will be times when you are not allowed to buy alcohol. You will see homeless people and mentally ill people. You will see the American flag everywhere, as if every day is National Holiday. You’ll see people at Chinese restaurants who don’t know how to order family style; in a group of five people, four of them will order chicken and one will order fried rice and all of them will be surprised when their family sized portions arrive; they won’t share. Just laugh, and let it go. After a while we get used to it, and frankly, when we travel to Asia we notice a bunch of messed up stuff that you probably never thought of.
- You will see amazing things. You will see bank lobbies with no chairs, no take-a-number system, because people finish their banking business within MINUTES of entering. At a restaurant, a server might refill your water glass discreetly and quickly, without you having to ask and with no one interrupting your conversation, like a ninja. You will see people at parties who are not drinking booze because they are “designated drivers;” oh yes, things you hadn’t even imagined.
- Take pictures. Avoid taking pictures of other people’s children. But apart from that, who cares. Food, buildings, selfies, cops, take whatever pictures you want. Just do it fast, and don’t make other people wait for you. If you are taking a picture and blocking the path, people might get frustrated with you. Or they might walk in front of you and ruin your picture. Actually, me; I will walk in front of you and ruin your picture. Do it fast.
- Nobody is impressed by your fancy designer brands, your constant extravagant shopping, your display of wealth. In fact, we find it vulgar. Those things impress your aunties and uncles and peers back home, but here it makes you look like garbage, and I would feel disgusted to be seen with you. We know you have to impress everyone back home, so we will help you schedule a shopping trip, but please be discreet, and don’t assume that we share your need to talk about shopping all the time. Puke.
There are my nine tips, I hope you find them helpful. Happy travels!
Special note to visiting Filipinos: make an itinerary and communicate that with us, your cousins who love you. I know you think you’re awesome by playing it by ear every single freaking day; however, that actually stresses out your American cousins. And when I say “communicate” I mean communicate with actual words that actually leave your damn head and reach us in the form of text or sound. No, seriously; bad planning and poor communication not awesome, it’s inconsiderate, we hate it, and we may end up resenting you. Mabuhay!