Things I Forgot After a Year in South America

toilet paper rolls

In South America, having some kind of hygienic paper on you at all times is a necessity.  It is extremely rare to find a bathroom already stocked with it.  Not the same in the USA.   It took me a month to stop carrying toilet paper in my bag.

2. In the USA, toilet paper goes in the toilet.

In much of South America, the septic systems are ridiculously old, and cant handle toilet paper. You throw it out in the trash.  The first few weeks I was back in the USA, it was a 3 minute process to decide if I am actually allowed to put toilet paper in the toilet. Took me about a month to also stop automatically throwing toilet paper in the trash whenever I was away from the house. Every once in a while, especially when tired, I still catch myself getting confused in a bathroom stall when I can’t find the wastebasket.

3. I can’t drink in the USA.


I learned my alcohol tolerance increased as I go up in altitude, but it took one good night, of 1 beer and 2 shots of Jagermeister, to remember that I am a cheap fucking drunk in the States.  I was sick and hung-over.  I have re-learned that going out drinking with friends here, must consist of them drinking, and me mostly having juice.

4.  Public transportation sucks.

In South America, the public transportation system is unbelievably thorough and constant (most people don’t own cars).  But in the USA, we all own cars, so public transportation (outside of the East Coast)  is not nearly as good as it is down South.  In Las Vegas, you cannot hail a bus anywhere you like; it only stops as designated areas. If you are not in those areas, you will miss the bus and have to wait 20 minutes TO AN HOUR for the next one.

5.  Vegas is HOT!

  I love the heat, but after a year in South America (most spent in Medellin, Colombia where the temperature ranges between 74-76F year round), coming back to 118 SUCKS!  Also, it takes a few weeks to fully acclimatize to the dryness, where in that time, you have multiple bloody noses and constantly feel like a giant allergy ball.

6. Fresh fruit and veggies are expensive.

  To get good quality, fresh food is going to cost you a pretty penny in the USA.  Plus side, your food will last for weeks.  Downside, your food is full of radiation treatments and chemicals.   We may have more of a selection year round, but I really, really miss knowing my food was picked the same morning I bought it (or just picking it myself).

7.  Delivery Food!

…sometimes, not having to get out of your pajamas is such an great thing!

In the USA, we can have just about anything delivered. Pizza, Chinese food, Thai food, soup, you name it, it can be brought to your door.  This is awesome. It allows you to be lazy and more productive at the same time (no stopping bloggy work to get nourishment).  Though it will make you fat, and you will spend more money.  But sometimes, not having to get out of your pajamas is such an great thing!

8. How awesome designer breads and cheeses are.

You may be thinking,

‘What’s so exciting about provolone cheese?”

Well, if you just spent the last year in South America, where they only have queso, you would understand.  And Rosemary-Olive-Oil bread is to die for, and not found down south.   Want to see some other awesome foods I missed? 

Come click here and watch me geek out to food.


9.  Always Connected.

Computer and phone using wifi, technology

  We take our unlimited everything phone service for granted in the USA. We don’t need minutes, or have to worry about a call being dropped, or how much data we are using.  No, we have unlimited everything.   Now we never have to go more than 20 minutes without checking our Facebook updates, or Twitter feeds.  We can check in on Four-Square everywhere we are to make it easy for our stalkers.  Granted, this also means you usually need to sign up for a 2 year contract, and pay an exorbitant amount per month (usually around $100) for a bunch of minutes and what not, you wont use…

But hey… how else can you keep in touch with everyone? 

Face to face?  That’s so 1992!

10. The Driving

This one will seem a bit off.  South America is known for their blatant ignoring of road signs.  People pass you in all lanes, park wherever they want (including in the middle of a street), motorcycles worm in between cars and lanes, and stop signs and red lights are more of suggestions. 

But Las Vegas drivers are still the worst!!! 

People in Vegas have no idea how to: change lanes, merge, use blinkers, pay attention to other cars on the road, drive sober, not be idiots.   The driving in Vegas I have always considered the worst in the country, but I forgot just how bad it really is until I came home.  Even with the lack of road rule enforcement in South America, people still know how to drive.  People in Vegas seem to miss the fact that they are not the only ones with cars.  Hell, my first week back I saw a car that rear-ended a bus. 

You didn’t see the giant double decker bus, stopped in the bus lane, on the side of the road? Maybe the bus had its cloaking-shield activated…

The driver’s excuse? 

“I didn’t see [the bus] there!”

Really?  You didn’t see the giant double decker bus, stopped in the bus lane, on the side of the road?  Maybe the bus had its cloaking-shield activated, or maybe you should be looking where you are going, and not driving in the bus/breakdown lane.   Drivers in Las Vegas are insane.  South Americans may seem to be crazier drivers, but in reality, they are much safer!

So these are things I forgot about while in South America.  Now you can read theThings I Learned in South Americablog post!