Adaptation, is one of the keys needed by a walker to be able to adjust to the environment he has just known. No, I’m not recommending you to mimic, grow a shell, or cut off your tail when dealing with strangers, besides my tail has been cut off a bit and can’t grow anymore since sixth grade,  so  I won’t talk about those things.

What I’m going to talk about here is about 18 things that, if mastered, will make you adjust more quickly to the new environment, or in this article the United States of America [hereinafter referred to as America (only, not really America.)] .

1. Get used to speaking in English

Americans , or Americans are known as residents who only speak one language, namely English. If all this time you can only “Oh Yes, Oh No, Oh Yes, Oh No.” so before going there, make sure that you can speak English well. Well , it doesn’t have to be as good as Obama, but make sure the other person understands what you’re talking about. My English is also not very fluent, but the local people there are quite surprised to know that I am from Indonesia because they think that Indonesian people do not speak English.

Hmm , they just don’t know that I speak more than five languages. Indonesian, English, Ngoko Javanese, Kromo Javanese, Ngapak Javanese, Suroboyoan Javanese, and so on.

2. Get used to eating fast food


McD, one of the typical foods of the United States, which can be tried in Indonesia.

Forget Nasi Padang, gado-gado, or pecel catfish, because you will be very hard to find these foods in America. Instead, you’ll easily find McDonald’s, KFC, or Burger King there. An easy adaptation process, because I’m sure you’re used to eating these foods in Indonesia. Want proof? Whoa! Just look at your belly fat.

If you are bored with  this franchise , in big cities like New York, Washington, and Chicago, there are many  street food that sells various types of hot dogs, pizza, and kebabs. Still,  it ‘s fast food  .

3. Get used to eating without cutlery

If you’ve been eating with a spoon and fork, from now on, I suggest you eat with your hands. I mean, to eat hot dogs, pizza, or kebabs, besides, usually only a knife and fork is provided there. Or chopsticks, if you eat at a Chinese Restaurant.

4. Get used to using wipes


After getting used to eating, the next challenge was to defecate, and while in America, this was the hardest thing I couldn’t help but have to do, namely wipe using a tissue. Until now, I still don’t know how to properly wipe with a tissue, because I’ve done various styles of wiping with a tissue, but still, my buttocks can’t be completely clean, instead my hands are dirty too. Whoops!

Apart from being annoyed at not being able to master the cebok technique using a tissue correctly, I also came back to Indonesia with a boil on the buttocks.

5. Get used to using public transportation

NYC Subway

NYC Subway

America is an expensive destination, indeed, especially when it comes to transportation. And one solution is to use public transportation such as subways and city buses, although they are not cheap either. In New York, the one-way subway fare is $2.5, while in Washington, the fare varies depending on the distance traveled, with the lowest fare being $1.75 if I remember correctly.

6. Get used to walking

If public transportation still feels expensive, there is one more solution that can be put into practice, namely walking. One of my longest walking records is about 30 blocks [a distance of 20 blocks is about 1 (one) mile, and 1 (one) mile is 1.609344 kilometers] in New York, to be precise from Rockefeller Plaza at 50 St. Manhattan, headed to the Museum of Sex on 22nd St which I did in under an hour, including stopping a few times to take photos.

And because I still love spending money on the subway, I went back on foot after visiting the Museum of Sex to Rockefeller Plaza again to catch up on the hour ride to Top of The Rock that night.

7. Familiarize yourself with American Conversion

Currently, it seems that only America remains, a country that still uses the British measurement system. And the impact is that we have to convert their measurements An example is temperature, they still measure using Fahrenheit instead of Celsius. Then the height in feet and inches, not meters and centimeters. Weight in pounds, not kilograms. Then there is also the distance by miles, not kilometers; up to volume in gallons instead of liters.

The solution is, install the converter application on your mobile phone.

8. Get in the habit of Preparing Pass Money

American Money

Money, that’s what I want.

When I took a taxi (because I was in a hurry and wanted to catch a train schedule to New York, not because of a lot of money) in Washington, Mr. Li, the driver who is an African-American with a Chinese name, said he had no change. The effect is that I have to give up a change of $ 5 which should be converted into a portion of Chili Dog and mineral water.

In America, in addition to paper money that you often see in shape, there is also a change known as Penny. Or if in large quantities referred to as pennies. Please pronounce correctly.

9. Get in the habit of carrying a credit card

It’s another story when I bought a metro ticket through a vending machine in Chicago, when the machine didn’t provide change. At that time the ticket price was $5, while my minimum bill was $20. After asking the clerk he suggested using a credit card to buy tickets, and it worked!

In America, it is more common to pay using credit cards, so it is rare to find people there who carry a lot of money in their wallets, or in envelopes, like corruptors who have been arrested by the KPK.

For your information, many  merchants  in America do not affix  a sales tax to the price of the goods listed. So make sure you know exactly how much the fee will be paid at the cashier later.

10. Get in the habit of tipping

Times Square

Times Square New York

In America, tipping is a common thing or if you don’t want to say it is mandatory. When I wait for the plane while eating in the  boarding room at La Guardia airport for example, the gratuity or tip is included in the purchase receipt, and we can agree on what percentage of the tip will be given to the restaurant, with an average of 17% of the purchase.

There is also a story when I joined The Gangster Tour in Manhattan’s Chinatown, when the  guide  greeted me twice after the tour, only because I didn’t tip like the others. He said ” I have change if you want .” and I immediately pretended not to speak English.

Then when I was in Times Square, where I was invited by someone wearing a Spiderman costume, even though there was an announcement that it was not necessary to pay for taking pictures with people wearing costumes, in fact this fake Peter Parker kept whispering a few words “ It’s not free, you know. You have to give me a small tip. “. And when I was forced to take a photo, suddenly Mickey Mouse and fake Chewbacca appeared on either side of me, who also wanted a tip. I ended up giving them $1 each, which was accepted with a grunt. I just said ” I came from poor country, you know .”.

11. Get in the habit of directly calling names

This may sound impolite, especially for Javanese people like me who are used to manners since childhood. But in America, it is commonplace to call people’s names directly – without the frills Mr or Mrs or Aunt or Seus or Jeung or Cyin – regardless of age. Some of my new acquaintances, for example Archie, who is almost twice as old as me, I also called directly by name, without any additions like Mas Archie.

Tip: While this should be a habit in America, don’t practice calling your parents just by name.

12. Get used to Walking on the Right Side

US Highway

US Highway from New York to Chicago

Even though you are not a woman ( who’s always right ), but please get used to walking on the right side in America, because it is a thing that is contrary to the custom in Indonesia where everything goes on the left side. Here, the cars have the steering on the left, which is also the opposite of Indonesia, but the same as Myanmar (although in Myanmar , everything runs on the right side).

13. Get in the habit of opening doors for others

Before leaving for America, my friend Vira said, “Don’t forget to practice  opening doors for other people there.” which I don’t ignore because I still don’t understand what it means. But everything changed in America, when the people I met in Peoria, such as Deanne and Nicole who incidentally are women, actually competed to open doors for me and other friends. As a man, I feel my self-esteem is collapsing.

Investigate a calibaration, it turns out that opening the door for other people is a common thing to do in America regardless of  gender . Imagine if this is a habit in Indonesia, there must be many people competing to be the attendant for opening the Blitz Megaplex toilet door. “Please go to the toilet,  sis! “.

14. Get used to the queue

Art Institute of Chicago

Art Institute of Chicago entrance queue

Queuing in an orderly manner, is one of the nicest things I’ve seen in America. At the Top of The Rock ticket booth, the Liberty Island ferry dock, also before entering the Art Institute of Chicago, everyone lined up on the line with no crowding and no tugging at each other. This is something that is quite rare to see in Indonesia, especially during the distribution of the Eid al-Adha qurbani.

15. Get used to drinking tap water

One more fun thing that can cut  the travel budget in America is, we can drink water from the tap directly. This is something that cannot be done in Indonesia, where the source of healthy water is far from the city, and even if it is close, the source only comes from mother’s milk.

Well, if you want to be economical, just bring  a tumbler and refill it with tap water that is found anywhere as long as it is still in the United States.

16. Get used to crossing the road well


Joker roams the city.

In Washington, crossing indiscriminately without obeying traffic lights can be fined up to $250, and in Peoria, a town perhaps smaller than Wonogiri, residents continue to cross in an orderly manner according to traffic lights even though there is no sign of a fine for crossing indiscriminately. Not so in New York, however, where anyone could cross at will as long as the road was empty, or for agility training for Takeshi Castle. It is very easy for Jakarta residents to do.

Since traffic goes on the right, make sure you look to the left before crossing. A guide that does not apply in Jakarta, because you have to keep looking to the left and right even if you are crossing a one-way street.

17. Get used to hearing accents in Hollywood movies

All this time I thought that the Caucasian accents I watched in  Hollywood box office films only existed in movies, but I was wrong. Especially when I live in the Harlem area where there are a lot of African-Americans, I often hear words that should be censored out. For example, when my sling bag accidentally nudged the voluptuous ass of a fat African-American man while waiting in line to buy  subway tickets at  a vending machine .

In an instant he turned to me, and said a little louder with a speed that surpassed the  rapper  Twista “ Hey, watch my fat ass, you motherfucker! Don’t you see that I am currently using this fucking machine? Fuck off! “More or less so.

18. Get in the habit of apologizing

” Sorry .” I said reflexively when I heard the father cursing me in his thug language, and I immediately moved my bag to the back, and hit the person behind me again. With a little grumble, the father resumed his activity of buying train tickets, while I still can’t understand how he could be offended just by poking my bag, especially if I poked him with another one, a mosquito racket for example.

“Well yes, in America you have to apologize often when you meet something like that.” Mumun said , when I told this story “People there can be offended if touched like that.”.

I just nodded in agreement. “Oh, sorry, I don’t  understand .” And since apologizing is important, not just in America, it’s a good idea to get in the habit of apologizing. It doesn’t matter that you are a woman who usually always feels right.