More Culture Shock in San Francisco

The culture shock continues here in San Francisco!!! As every study abroad or expat knows, when returning to the home country, some things really stand out as strange or bizarre since even though it is your home country, it might seem a little foreign.

Well, San Francisco IS foreign!!! There are entire neighorhoods here where the population cannot speak English. Also, the culture is much different than my home state of Ohio. Here are some things that have really struck me this past week.

1. In the library, I went to the men’s bathroom and saw one grunge looking guy come out of a stall and another grunge guy go immediately in. The guy who just came out slowly washed his hands and was suspiciously looking around while drying his hands. From my angle I could see the guys feet who just entered the stall and he wasn’t even using the toilet. He then exited approx 30 seconds later. Apparently there was an exchange of some sort and my suspicion was that it was drugs. The main library also attracts many crazy people and those that like to talk on their cell phone.

2. I called a Chinese restaurant for takeout. The people in Saigon speak better English than the Chinese in San Francisco. Amazing.

3. An old white lady accidentially bumped into a young black women talking on her cell phone. The young black lady’s response was “Damn, Bitch, you better…before I slap you.”

4. You cannot walk three city blocks here without hearing vulgar language. I think San Franciscans are unable to form a proper sentence without the f-word.
And people wonder why I prefer Asia…………………

By Mateo de Colón

Global Citizen! こんにちは!僕の名前はマットです. Es decir soy Mateo. Aussi, je m'appelle Mathieu. Likes: Languages, Cultures, Computers, History, being Alive! \(^.^)/


  1. To be fair, the f-word is the perfect word. It’s a noun, verb, exclamation, adjective, and adverb. It can be used to describe just about any object or action. If something hurts, it makes you feel better just to say it. If you’re angry, saying it repeatedly tends to calm you down. If you’re horny, well, it might just work there, too…

  2. Hey Martin, you know I support you, but by you saying San Franciscans (I assume you mean all Sanfraciscans) use such profanity in their speech could get you a lot of hate mails from San Franciscans if they read your blog. BTW, I like reading your blog, but I’d always wonder why you write your blog, and keep up with the maintenance work? Is it pure personal satisfaction, or self promotion in some ways?

  3. Thanks for the feedback. The reason I write my blog is that sometimes I really feel strongly about something and like to share my experiences and opinions. I have had a website since ’95 and the reason I changed to a blog was that it just seemed like the way websites were going. I also like computers and wanted to see if I could install MovableType on my server. Also, it’s easier to update and manage since a blog contains “macros” which do most of the work for you.
    I post messages because I simply like to write about things that make an impression on me. I started to keep a blog when I first moved to Vietnam and wanted to share with the rest of the world, especially America that the image of the country wasn’t right and Vietnam is really a wonderful place. I think most people still think a war is going on and is dangerous. I found the people to be the friendliest in the world and wanted to help people understand what it is really like there.
    I also get fired up about world events and opinions and sometimes I cannot understand why other people think the way they do. For example, with the “war on terror” many in America were so afraid of terrorists and traveling abroad when they should really be worried about gangs and crime in their own country. It still amazes me when I turn on the TV and almost always the top stories are a few murders. It does not make sense that such a priority is put on terrorism and that murder seems to be an ordinary occurance that people have almost come to expect.
    As for the profanity in SF, yea I know not all people in SF use bad language. But I like to share what culture shock is like for those who might not have experienced it before. And one aspect that has really made an impression on me is how I cannot walk down the street without hearing bad language. There used to be a time in America when it wasn’t cool to use those words and murder wasn’t an everyday occurance.
    But it’s not all negative things that stand out as I go through this culture shock. There are some funny aspects as well such as when my Vietnamese friend told me I didn’t look like an American because I tucked my shirt in and all Americans prefer to leave their shirt untucked. He said “You are not America, you don’t untuck shirt!” When he said that I couldn’t help but laugh.

  4. Stick it up your jumper…So sorry to hear about your suffering right in your home country…
    Dont be shocked, be well culturally prepared since you are foreigners there hehehe send my regards to Hitomi…
    My life here is still ok, nothing changes…Please write me when you can about your life there…do it now otherwise i will say “you s o a b, you better…before i slab…” heheheh FFFs
    STICK IT UP YOUR JUMPER now that peter brown works for norkfork mansion as assistant to general manager…
    I misssssssssssssssssssssss you all

  5. Matt,
    When I grew up in Viet Nam, every morning I would hear vulgar language from the black market which was only down the street. When people curse they will curse in their dominant languages. Most likely people will not learn English to swear so when they are upset, you probably cannot understand them. It is 3:43 A.M.; I hope I make sense. On the other hand, I am glad your experiences in Viet Nam were good. Continue having a life!

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