Moving to the United States was not my plan from the start. I decided to come here just a few months before my wedding. Therefore, I didn’t prepare anything or figure out how to live here without difficulty. If anyone had asked me where I could live besides my homeland, I would have said Japan or anywhere else in Asia. That would be better since it’s close to Vietnam. Of course, choosing a place that has similar culture to someone’s country helps them breathe easily. However, life does not offer what people expect. Living in Chicago sometimes makes me feel lonely. I miss some of my most favorite things to do in home country, like the coffee, street food and fruit. To me, Vietnamese cuisine culture is unique, it’s hard to replicate anywhere else.
Vietnamese coffee is known throughout the world. Iced black or mixed with condense milk coffee is the popular drink that I wanted to have every morning, before going to work. It has a strong, delicious and attractive taste. People should try it in a coffee filter. It’s small and unlike the one commonly found in stores. Waiting for each drop get into the cup while reading a book or listening to the music make me feel this is the best moments of my life. In addition, café is everywhere in Vietnam. Each shop has its own style with a diversity of decoration to attract customers. Conversely, coffee in the United States is mostly franchise like Starbucks, and Dunkin Donuts. Both of them have a monotonous atmosphere. I literally cannot enjoy it. There was only one time when I first tried a cup, but I it tasted mixed with some kind of powder. It didn’t taste like real coffee. To me, the real one should be really bitter. Actually, there are some restaurants in the Vietnam area that offer original Vietnamese coffee, but it’s too far from my home.
In Vietnam, I often went out to have street food, but in the U.S, I mainly cook at home. Eating is the easy way that helps me to reduce stress, sadness or it just simply makes me happy. In Vietnam, street food has becomes a unique culture that everyone loves to enjoy. It’s convenient and the price is reasonable. Tables and chairs line the sidewalks in many restaurants. I and my friends went to downtown at least twice a week. This place was occupied by many street food. It’s utterly awesome eating outside, talking with friends and seeing the people pass by. Whenever someone feels hungry, they can step by and order noodle soup or some different kinds of snacks. At night, there is grilled beef, seafood, and hotpot most everywhere. Its taste is absolutely fantastic. Each dish just costs from twenty-five cents to ten dollars. In fact, customers don’t have to pay tip for anything they had. Some places even open until after midnight. This is the reason I never felt hungry if there is no food at home. I could just go out, choose some places to eat or call for delivery. However, I rarely eat outside in the U.S since the price is expensive. Besides, I need to pay tip from 15 percent to 20 percent for the total amount.
Unlike Chicago, Vietnam is a tropical country. Therefore, fruit is delicious and varied. Besides the farms, many people plant fruit trees, so they are extremely fresh. Every time I visited my hometown, my uncle often gave me fruit as a gift. In Vietnam, when a family has fruit in the garden and it’s ready to be eaten, they would take it and share with the neighbors or relatives. In the cities, it was sold in the market or on the street. In contrast, due to the cold weather, fruit in Chicago is usually transported from other states and countries like California, Texas and Mexico. If I want to eat lychee, longan, pomelo, it’s very expensive, and its taste is also completely different. It is usually less soft and succulent than fruit in Vietnam.
Sometimes I dreams of going back to my country. The memories of drinking coffee with friends, eating street food and fruit make me feel homesick. To be honest, living in the U.S has become one of the biggest challenges in my life. Now I have found it’s difficult to enjoy these lovely thing to do in a country that is half way from Vietnam. However, the people’s kindness here literally comforted my soul. Thanks to them, I could have been able to adapt to the life here and overcomes some of the difficulties.