What was most surprising to you when you first came to America?

From left to right, top to bottom: Candace Chin, Yong Kwon, Amber Nguyen, Chau Juh Deng, Elsha Kwee, Cherry Cayabyab, Trang Nguyen, Cassie Kwon, Velma Veloria, Gladys Romero, Hakson Teh, Debadutta Dash, Masaki Miyake, Mitsuki Mori, Donald Liu, Thong Yin, Kieu Neubert, Samantha Nguyen, Minh Nguyen, Yuki Okamura, Rae Tsai, and Saerom Han

“There is a large sense of personal space … when someone gets close, people freak out.” — Candace Chin

“Everything is so much bigger: the people, the buildings, even the boats.” — Yong Kwon

“People are so big and tall.” — Amber Nguyen

“It’s beautiful and much nicer than Canton.” — Chau Juh Deng

“Someone can just start talking to you. In Singapore, you can go to the same bus stop for two years and people still won’t talk to you.”  — Elsha Kwee

“I was surprised that not all Americans ate rice. [And] that they eat with a spoon and fork!” — Cherry Cayabyab

“Women drive!” — Trang Nguyen

“Here, if guys were to wear skinny jeans, they would be pinned as being emo. In Korea … all the guys wear that.” — Cassie Kwon

“The most surprising about America when I first arrived was how unwelcomed I felt. [But] now this is my home [and] I don’t ever want anyone coming to this country to feel the way I felt when I first arrived.”  — Velma Veloria

“Discrimination. Of course, we still suffer discrimination now, [but] at the time, people would not serve me first even though I was first in line for service.” — Gladys Romero

“A lot of people drive SUVs. People seem to prefer size over power.” — Hakson Teh

“I found everything surprisingly clean, orderly, and pretty quiet.” — Debadutta Dash

“Women apply makeup on public transportation. Not the simple application of lipstick, but the full ritual from foundation to mascara …” — Masaki Miyake

“[American students] eat in class [and] put their feet on chairs…” — Mitsuki Mori

“It’s a lot less crowded here.” — Donald Liu

“There were no war-torn areas here. Tall buildings [are] intact. It’s peaceful.” — Thong Yin

“I was shocked when people here said, ‘Hi, how are you?’ I checked the dictionary, there [was] no such thing …” — Kieu Neubert

“I saw two little kids kissing in school! They didn’t even care that I saw them!” — Samantha Nguyen

“Kids are allowed to date when they are so young!” — Minh Nguyen

“The teacher allowed us to go to the bathroom during class. Never in Japan!”  — Yuki Okamura

“The shopping malls are bigger here.” — Rae Tsai

“Seeing people with blond hair and blue eyes. I thought that only Barbie dolls have blond hair. I thought [Americans] were all walking, live Barbies.” — Saerom Han

One Response to “What was most surprising to you when you first came to America?”

  1. thanks for the comments. Rob, you and I are thinking along the same lines here. I give these guys good odds because, a.) I think what they’ve created is genuinely useful, and b.) they actually know the real estate industry and how to sell into it.


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