As it turns out, when you don't live in your country for 2.5 years, things change quite a bit. Small and big. In my first few weeks home I have taken note of various additions, deletions, and changes to life and culture in the U.S. Some of these I've known about and seen as I've come home and visited over the years, but just for perspective about how much can change in 2.5 years, I'll put them all together.
Things that did not exist or were just barely around before I left:
~President Barack Obama
~The Tea Party
~Verizon as an option on the iPhone
~NetFlix on demand (you could watch a few movies online, but not many)
~Lady Gaga (her first album had just come out)
~Coconut and pretzel M&Ms
~Commercials included in "previews" before movies at the theatre
~Redbox (it existed but wasn't nearly as popular or widespread as it is now)
Things that did exist but no longer do:
~Borders (going out of business at time of writing)
~24 and Lost
Things that have changed:
~The branding and look of Bath and Body works products
~The packaging of Powerade and Gatorade
~Gap going from plastic to wooden hangers and definitely changing their target market
~Jamba Juice going from pretty much having just smoothies to oatmeal and other offerings
~The size of ice cream containers has shrunk
~Gluten free products everywhere (seriously, how did our entire country get Celiac's Disease in the past 2.5 years??)
~Nearly everyone in NYC has an iPhone or Blackberry, and "smart phones" are ubiquitous in the country
These are just some that I've noticed in my first two week home, but surely there are others. Plenty of new food products and technologies, that's for sure. Anyone have some additions/deletions/changes in the US that you have thought of as you were reading? Please leave a comment!
It's strange to come home to my home culture and see so much change that I wasn't here for, and it therefore in a way feels "foreign" to me. I sometimes feel overwhelmed at the amount of new information I need to take in and assimilate, but surely over time I will adjust and then be back "in the loop" in my own country.
Until then I'll just be really entertained by coconut M&Ms and American Pickers.