Didn’t think I had an Eddie Murphy & Arsenio Hall’s ‘Coming To America’-type background huh? Well not quite- but y’all get the damn picture. Neither did we (my brother and I) emigrate from the mother-land (Zamunda), but from the Caribbean islands instead.
Wet behind the ears at ages 8 & 9[back in 1990], we landed on the proverbial-hard rock of North America. Smack dab in the middle of JFK international in Queens, New York.
The most immediate-culture shock for us was: how they consumed MILK in America. So, in this first installment of my ‘Coming to America’, I’m gonna address MILK [yummy].
*Visiting our aunt’s, whom we’d never met before (since she emigrated to NYC since the 70’s), she offered us some cereal[yippie!]. When the bowls arrived, my brother and I didn’t notice any steam nor warmth emanating from our bowls. The bowls were basically cold (from the milk). And…?
Thing is,in the Caribbean, we always heat or milk [always]. We never eat (ate) cold cereal nor use cold milk with our cereal. So when aunty gave us the ‘Cold Bowls’: it freaked us the hell out! We’d never heard of consuming ‘cold milk’.
*Another milky situation that freaked us out totally was: People drinking raw milk straight out the box or glass! That shit sent a cold chill down my spine. A sensation of sheer grossness. To this day, I’m unable to consume raw milk straight out the box. It’s just fucking gross!!
*In school, where they were serving us those small boxes of milk (for lunch): you know for sure I wasn’t touching that. I remember back in the 3rd. grade in the Bronx, there was this one specific kid I used to sneak my milk to every day for an entire year! I was known for not drinking cold/un-heated milk.
And believe it or not, to this day in the Caribbean, we still have a phobia and uneasiness about drinking cold milk: whether by itself or with cereal. My relatives still all warm their milk (microwave or tea pot).
Aah some good old snow. Cant forget my mother taking us to school and these flakey things kept falling on our coats. Snow is unheard of in the Caribbean. And at that time, we though snow was a myth or some fairy-tale phenomenon which you can only find in Cinderella movies. So to actually see snow in the flesh was fucking awesome!!
As a now grown 29 year old- I say “to hell with snow”! Don’t ever want to see it again! I’m gonna address some other culture shocks in future posts so stay tuned guys (& gals).