I’ve been in America for a few years now, and have gotten used to the most unique place in the world while living the American dream, but it wasn’t always that way. The culture shock was intense at first, and everything from the food to the women threw me for a loop.
Let’s talk about the food first. When I first got here, James Krause made me try everything under the sun. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups changed my life. In one day, I ate 12 of those big cups, with each one having 200 calories. They became a problem for me –It was an addiction, for sure. I’m sure glad they didn’t let me try cocaine, or things could have really been bad!
In Uruguay, Coca Cola is expensive, and you really only drink it on the weekends, but here, it’s cheap. McDonald’s is also extremely expensive in Uruguay, but here again, it’s cheap and it’s delicious…it’s heaven. However, after you eat it for a week straight, you just don’t want those cheeseburgers anymore. Just the smell makes you want to throw up after that.
Then, there are cinnamon rolls. James told me, “We have to go to this restaurant so you can try the cinnamon rolls,” and I asked him, “Are they sweet or salty?” He tells me, “Eh,” and I immediately thought this was going to be horrible.
So, we went to this restaurant, and as soon as you sit down, they give you the cinnamon roll as a complimentary thing. I thought, “Yep, this is absolutely going to be horrible.” It’s brown, round and looked like dog sh*t. It was a little bit warm, and they give it to you for free. It’s dog sh*t.
I told him, “No, I don’t feel like I want to try this.” He tells me, “No, try it, Tonga. Try it.” As soon as I tried it, my life was changed again. Now, I love cinnamon rolls, and I go to that place all the time.
Being from Uruguay, where there are 3 million people and 12 million cows, I like steak a lot and I eat it often. I also love the fast food. I gained so much weight when I got here, that I had to go on a hard diet to get those pounds off. I was eating Taco Bell, McDonald’s…Chipotle, oh my God. Chipotle!
I think I gained weight just writing all this, so I’m going to talk now about American women. In Uruguay, it’s the guys that go after the girls. They do the pursuing. If you like a girl, it’s much more difficult to get her to look your way and pay attention to you. You have to go to her, and you have to talk a lot and go out a few times before she decides if she likes you.
Here, if the lady is interested, she comes after you. It’s crazy and it makes you afraid a little bit. You go to a night club, and you see a girl dancing with a guy, so maybe you go to the bathroom, or to get something to drink, but when you come back, she’s dancing with a completely different guy! In Uruguay, that never, never happens.
It’s just a different culture. It’s no worse or no better, it’s just different than what I was used to. I’m familiar with it now, I think, so it doesn’t shock me as much anymore. Besides, I’m so focused on my career right now that it’s really my Number 1 priority.
I think the biggest surprise of all for me was the sheer amount of people and cars here. I was in New York, in Times Square, and the amount of people there was just incredible. I noticed a similar thing when I was in China, but Times Square was just on another level.
I think I’ve settled in very well and am integrating into American society nicely. I’m sure I’ll always find little surprises here and there, and I’m looking forward to every single one of them.