I wasn't born in North America, where I was born will remain a mystery (at least for this post) but I wasn't born in my current country of residence.
Although it seems judgmental, I like to sometimes compare cultures. Not just with mine but in general; I like to see how one differs from another and how they are are same. Being able to talk to people from around the world, experiencing a different culture and studying other cultures lets one see these differences and similarities.
For fun, I want to point out some of the things you won't find in my native culture compared to North American culture. These are generalization and it isn't to say that one is better than the other. It is simply an observed comparison.
1. Popularity: North Americans care more about being popular than the people where I'm from.
No one cares if you have a lot of friends back home; they don't see it as a special quality. You have your own friends; you pay attention to them and no one really stresses about being in the "out cast" group vs the "popular group." They're aren't any.
There is not a lot of social pressure to fit in. In most cases, being popular can be negative, because it simply means many people are talking about you and they probably aren't saying anything nice.
2. Excuses for everything: Living here made me see how easy it was to get away with things. Over here they have psychological analyses for everything.
Overweight people eat too much to suppress some deep pain, but where I'm from you're considered simply someone who can't control their appetite. A kid who can't sit still is ADD; back home you're just a restless kid.
We don't have fancy terms or medical classifications for everything. We don't try to label everything or package people's problems into sell-able remedies. The lack of excuses means we don't feel that odd "labeled" feeling you get here. Sometimes it's nice to know what's wrong with you, but sometimes having an excuse gives you a scapegoat.
3. The need to profit from everything: North Americans can cleverly sell and profit from just about anything. They managed to take "weight": a simple number of a person and turn it into a billion dollar industry. Clever. Where I'm from people don't look to capitalize on things.
This is almost a shame because there is a lot of way they could profit. But it's not in the culture. The resources are seen as nature's and God's, not for mass resale.
4. Romance: North American women are lucky in that North American men are trained by the media to buy them flowers on certain occasions or kiss them in the rain. The entertainment industry promotes love and showing your love in as many lovey-dovey ways as possible.
The concept of "romance" is not common where I'm from. A man is not going to whisper sweet nothings in your ear in public; he won't surprise you with a gift out of the blue; he might not on your birthday either.
Oh the men are sweet, and they are caring. They also have the old school charm of courting a girl. But they are not over the top romantic.
5. Relationship obsession: I often find it hard to relate to girls who desperately want a boyfriend, because it is not common for a girl to complain about being sinlge where I'm from.
Where I'm from people date with marriage in mind. If you do not want to get married then typically you don't put yourself on the dating market.
In other words, if you were not dating it usually meant you had something going on in your life. Thus, unless you wanted to get married, and therefore date, and no one was asking you out, young women don't feel as if there is something wrong with being single.
But here I find young women discuss relationships a lot: being in one, wanting to be in one, no longer being in one. I thought all the girls here were boy crazy at first, until I learned it was a cultural thing to almost fantasize about being in a relationship.
6. Prolonged childhoods: The concept of childhood differs greatly where I'm from. People laugh when they hear a person in their 20s with no illness cannot cook and do basic household chores for themselves (or don't do it) back home.
The culture here is different. People are thought of as kids way into their late teens and are treated as such. I have friends in their 20s who don't do much at home. They are spoiled in that they have far less responsibility than someone their age in a different country.
By the age of 7, in my country, kids are becoming more responsible. 9 years olds can cook for themselves; they can do their own laundry; a 12 year old can sew her own clothes. By the time they move out they are self sufficient. I look at myself and feel embarrassed at how little skill I have compared to a 12 year old back home.
It is interesting to see life from a different culture. In many ways were are similar. And we have majority of the things (good and bad) that other countries have.