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american culture, american food, things americans love

A delicious corn dog with mustard and ketchup.

A group of self-described “non-Americans” shared the quintessential American things they wish they could do and it’s a great reminder of some of the endearing aspects of American culture that far too many of us take for granted.

At a time when America is plagued by political divisions, it’s refreshing to remember that we all share a unique culture that others appreciate.

The responses were prompted by Reddit user gaping__hole, who asked the online forum, “Non-Americans of Reddit: what is an American thing you have always wanted to try?” The most compelling thing about the responses is they didn’t center around the advantages afforded by the country’s commitment to freedom and individuality. Instead, they focused on the day-to-day experiences that the average American enjoys.


The “non-Americans of Reddit” seemed to be really interested in sampling America’s unique culinary contributions such as fair food or things that are deep-fried. They appreciated the lifestyle that Americans in small towns and middle-class neighborhoods enjoy.

They also wanted to take advantage of America’s size, whether that’s the diverse topography or the idea that one can change their life by moving a few hundred miles away.

Personally, the responses gave me a renewed appreciation for the small comforts that we enjoy as Americans whether that’s chowing down on a corn dog or watching a yellow school bus roll down the street full of happy kids.

Here are 19 of the “American things” that non-Americans have always “wanted to try.”

1.

"To visit a diner like in the movies. In the middle of the night, it’s raining and just a few people there with great music from a jukebox." — TotalAd6225

2. 

"Can I interest you in our lord and savior Waffle House?" — ShadowDV

3. 

"Ride a yellow school bus even if I'm too old. Growing up I always loved seeing them on TV." — infiresemo

4. 

"A friend of mine from Indonesia said, 'the food chewer in the sink.' Garbage disposal." — Mnemonic22

5. 

"Being able to start a whole new life 'elsewhere' without having to leave my country and going through an arduous immigration process." — Gmtfoegy

Gatvolkak added:

"It really is a country where you can get up, move 3 hours away and completely reinvent yourself. The only thing that follows you is your credit score."

6. 

"Deep fried foods at a state fair. I'm from Scotland and we love to deep fry everything and I wanna know if it's just as good or better." — fenrislfr

7. 


"Trick or treating at Halloween." — IvanaHug

8. 

"Proper tailgating before a ball game, the kind where there's ribs and stuff." — SpiraltoNowehere

9. 

"7/11 slurpees." — Elford12

10. 

"Corndogs, I don't understand what it is but I want to try it." — AFowlWaterfowl

11. 

"A friend of mine from China took a vacation to the US. He landed in Chicago, rented a car and drove down Route 66 until he could peer over the edge of the Grand Canyon, then drove back. Where he's from, a road trip isn't even a thing." — Henri_Dupont

12. 

"Chicken and waffles." — Wide-Flower3494

13.

"It's impossible, but the small town/suburban middle-class American childhood experience from the '80s (think 'ET' or 'Stranger Things' or 'Goonies,' minus the spooky fantasy stuff). What you guy's say about Blockbuster nights nostalgia, the shopping malls. Growing up in Latin America at that time, we had a few glimpses of that lifestyle in some movies and it was fascinating, dreamlike." steak_tartare

14. 

"I want to understand baseball. Man that sport looks boring, but a lot of movies are made about it I just wanna figure out how the game is played." — shweyzy02

15.

"Using the word 'ya'll' in general conversation." — Devlin_McGregor

16. 

"French woman I used to hang out with needed instructions on how to eat a chili dog. Blew her mind. Steamed and toasted bun, all-beef natural casing hot dog from a local farm, homemade chili, raw and finely chopped onions, and a bunch of Colby-jack cheese. She had seen pictures and wanted to try it, so I took her to this place run by a Vietnam vet who had wanted to own a chili dog stand since he was in the war. That was his life goal. Not get married, raise a family. But survive the war and open a chili dog stand. He finally made it after decades of biding his time, and all that passion went into the perfectly executed chili dog." — DeepStateofAffairs

17. 

"White Castle. Specifically that big box of white castle sliders. (I want to try it because of Harold and Kumar)." — Camus-Albert

18. 

"I've always wanted to go to a 'real' haunted house with actors during the Halloween season. Or those scary corn mazes with actors, etc." — tadpolecrusader

19. 

"Beer pong." — manserct

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

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A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

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This article originally appeared on July 2, 2019


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