A Brit's First Experiences of America

I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to visit Florida in October of last year for a relative's wedding. My parents had never been on a plane and the last time I went on a plane was for an hour and a half flight to Spain when I was a teenager, so flying for approximately nine hours was an experience in itself! Going from the cold October weather to around thirty degree heat was a shock to the system. We walked through the tunnel that lead us to the airport and the sun beat down on us relentlessly. The heat was different to our summers though because it was so humid; you could almost feel the moisture in the air and you feel pretty icky sometimes! Thank goodness, the air con everywhere was excellent, it was a safe haven for us and we'd often get too cold.

Entering the airport introduced me to something that I was going to see a lot of during my time in America - the decor. I felt like I had stepped into an American 80s movie. All the decor I came across was very outdated and usually brown which made me feel like the US was stuck in our 70s decor. Our hotel was no different. Before I visited, all my impressions of America was largely based on movies I'd seen and documentaries but I had never noticed the decor! There were a lot of Mustangs and Corvettes around, yet it was easy to see the issue of poverty when a man walked through traffic with a sign asking for food and water in the searing heat. I met a kind woman at a bus stop who appeared to be suffering with voices in her head, but she spoke of her difficulties with poverty and trying to find a home in Florida, so she likely couldn't afford mental health treatment which was a shame to see. It was also very unusual seeing large signs advertising machine gun shooting as "fun for the whole family" with a picture of a child, right next to a fun fair. They definitely do things differently in America and it really opened up my eyes to the divide in society; how they're so far ahead in some areas (space exploration) but so far behind in others, yet Americans are so patriotic and believe their country is the best in the world. I always had this feeling that if most Americans visited European countries or any country outside of the US (few Americans have been outside of the US and over half of the population have never owned a passport), they would be demanding a lot more from their government and could probably make real, beneficial change for the majority. Anyway, moving on...

A Brit's First Experiences of America

It was my time in Seaworld that I experienced a hurricane! We visited as hurricane Michael hit and whilst it did reach us, we thankfully only got the edge of it and experienced a torrential downpour and tremendous thunder and lightning. Kids were running around screaming and crying and it went from a bright day to an incredibly grey sky. Rides broke down and the park played a warning sound to signal a hurricane and we were told to take cover! I had never been near or experienced a natural disaster before and for a long time, we were unaware of its arrival. It was only when we watched the news later that we saw the devastation it had caused and we were so thankful that it missed us and I still got to ride Florida's tallest roller-coaster!

Nearby our hotel, there was a mini fair (and the world's tallest slingshot ride) with two winding and long go kart tracks made of wood, three layers high! When I was riding on these tracks, that's when I realised that health and safety may be a little less rigorous than it is in the UK because those tracks would not have been allowed here. The wood was smooth and slippery, we had no helmets or safety equipment on these petrol karts which is usually expected in the UK and it had a steep drop, but the karts seemed old and not well kept so the brakes barely worked. My kart cut out and I realised that we were almost three stories high and if one of us crashed, we could've been flung over the side with no helmet! Some of the other riders were going so fast too, it was so risky! It was then that I was thankful for 'healthy and safety gone mad' in the UK.

Another place we visited that left an unexpected and profound impression on me was the Kennedy Space Center. Before we went, it was going to be just another day out that whilst interesting, wouldn't be the highlight of my trip, but now I feel like it's the opposite. Since visiting, I have been captivated by the bravery of the astronauts, the incredibly intelligent people behind NASA and all the work that goes into one launch. It really altered my perspective on the space program and I was told so many mind blowing facts, I was in awe the majority of the time. Just being there, to say you're in Cape Canaveral, a place that has been in movies and on the TV so many times over the decades creating history, surrounded by swamp lands and six thousand alligators, right on the edge of Florida, was an incredible experience in itself. We drove over two long and quiet bridges to get there, over 'Banana river' and you could see some faint outlines in the distance which turned out to be the platforms and the NASA building. We learned about Space X and Blue Origin (owned by the man who owns Amazon) who are currently working on making space travel available to the public! We saw quite a few of the 45 launch pads, including the most famous platform - 39A. I touched a piece of moon rock and walked on the same orange bridge that Neil Armstrong walked on whilst I visited the world's biggest space shop! I also ate pizza underneath Saturn V's lunar module. I learned so much from my time there that I couldn't possibly share it all here.

A Brit's First Experiences of America

I had seen the NASA building before on TV briefly but, it may sound dumb, I didn't expect to see it. I guess I'd imagined the center being just that, a center/museum for visitors to walk around and read things but it was so much more than that. I had never given NASA much thought so it was hard to believe I was actually at the official NASA Vehicle Assembly building, seeing the world's largest garage doors. The US flag on the other side is 21 storeys high. I believe they were building the SLS which is the most powerful rocket in the world with the hope of taking people to Mars! We were incredibly lucky to see the launch of Atlas V one night from our hotel balcony and that rounded up the NASA experience perfectly; it was a once in a life time experience that I will always cherish.

A Brit's First Experiences of America

The wildlife was fascinating to me as well. Their equivalent of our seagulls were a completely different species of bird with a long thin beak and very blue eyes that would eat our of your hand. After seeing the Atlas V launch, we had another new experience - seeing two wild raccoons! I don't think I've ever seen one in person, not even in a zoo and they stopped and looked up at us before continuing. There were lizards on the pavement and there were snakes and alligators in the lake right next to our hotel. We had alligator golf near us and just walking down the street resulted in us being chased by a baby alligator that had gotten loose and whilst waiting to go home in the hotel lobby, a guy casually walked in carrying an alligator which we got to touch! At night, you could hear crickets and other really loud bugs chirping constantly; I definitely felt like I was in another country.

A Brit's First Experiences of America

We managed to fit in a visit to the nearby Titanic Museum where they had a real iceberg inside which was made of freshwater and whilst that was freezing, a sign told us that the temperature of saltwater would've been considerably colder. There were 160 artefacts from the wreckage and one large piece of the ship there. You could buy a large piece of coal from the wreckage for a measly half a million dollars, but I got a slightly more affordable key ring with a tiny piece of coal in it. As you go through, you realise the amount of things that happened before the Titanic set sail that, superstitiously, gave it bad luck and one that I will never forget was a letter written by a passenger on the ship who had to transfer from another ship to the Titanic which delayed his trip. In anger, he wrote to his brother that he wished that the Titanic was lying at the bottom of the sea. He didn't survive.


I didn't realise the Titanic sunk near Florida and it was a surreal and emotional moment each time we flew over the area it sank (it was shown on the plane map). It was especially sobering flying back home at night and after the visit to the museum. It was about -50 degree celsius outside, it was pitch black and no light coming from anywhere and no land in sight for miles. I couldn't help but think of those who lost their lives.

All in all, visiting America was one of the best times of my life because I experienced so many new and incredible things that left me either emotional or in awe. Seeing killer whales suddenly fly into the air took my breathe away and I felt so privileged to have the chance to swim with dolphins, manta rays and exotic fish! I have never been so close to alligators before and I saw things that aren't found anywhere else (the NASA 'crawlers' are the only two in the world) or are the biggest in the world (I visited the world's largest McDonalds too). I ticked off a bunch of things in my non-existent bucket list and if you're wanting to do the same, Florida would be a great start!


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Most Helpful Girl

  • Why are so many Americans offended over the mytake? You did not even say something overly negative. Are they insecure or something? To appreciate a place you can and are allowed to say something negative. You even said you enjoyed the time there. If they is a list with question about a country or simple jokes over a country it is always the Americans that are offended. Relax people =)

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    • Glad you're on my side, haha! Yes I did really enjoy my time there.

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    • @Other_Tommy_Wiseau Again she did not even say that all of US is like that. People just search a reason to be upset

    • and i know... i'm not butthurt. i just want to point out and make fun of florida :D :D :D :D

      can't speak to everyone else, though

Most Helpful Guy

  • That was a nice read. We are so similar and so different to our cousin's across the sea. Thank you

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  • LOL. I love reading these sorts of MyTakes, because it's funny how things that are so normal to us like "décor", are so strange to foreigners. And a lot of foreigners are surprised by how much poverty there is here. The real US is different then what you see on TV. And having traveled a lot, including to Europe, I completely agree that the US could learn a lot from other countries, but we are a stubborn nation. Sometimes I feel embarrassed, because we brag about being the best, but we're behind in many things.
    Yeah, we have some of the best wildlife on earth, and some of the craziest weather too. I'm glad you enjoyed Florida. You should visit the Southwest next time.

    And the Titanic sank off the coast of Canada. Just because there is a Titanic museum in Florida, doesn't mean it sank there. There are Titanic museums all over the country. There's one in Vegas too.

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    • I wondered about that, icebergs near Florida seemed unlikely. (I think there's a Titanic museum in Belfast, where it was built, too.)

    • I always recall correctly! (Except when I don't!)

      I once met a group of men from Belfast, and said I'd never been to Ireland... It was a tense moment! :)

  • The Titanic sank 1000+ miles north, closer to New York City.

    I wouldn't let your experience shape too much of your perception. The Orlando area is kind of weird to me, and I grew up here.

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    • In what way would you say it's weird?

    • perhaps you grew up in Celebration, Florida? Damn, THAT must be fun, lol. Even if not, even in coming in contact with some the Disney people nearby I'd imagine is kinda weird.

  • I'm glad you enjoyed your brief visit. Your take was enlightening. However, didn't the Titanic sink closer to Canada on her way to NYC?
    A Brit's first experiences of America
    Anyway, I now feel prompted to see Florida again when I return to the USA, my motherland. Thanks for sharing.

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    • Thank-you! I think it's more the area it sank is A LOT closer to the US than it is to the UK. I've never flown over the Atlantic before and it was after about 6-7 hours of flying before we reached the area it sank and maybe another hour before I saw glimpses of Florida. Happy to have inspired you to go back!

  • I like USA and florida is good for a trip but not a stay.

    Plus all of america is very different you go florida which is nothing like all the other states.
    I've been to some and i have seen some in games and docmentrys and films.

    And some i need to go vist and never live in and some i want to live in.

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    • I understand that each state is very different from each other. I would like to visit other places in the US at some point.

  • I'm pretty sure that Florida is a separate country.

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  • Basing America on Florida is like basing American football on the browns. Don’t get me wrong, I love Florida, but it’s florida. Just look up Florida news... it’s a thing

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    • It's still a part of America though and it's a whole new world for a Brit! I know that different states are different from one another.

  • Maimi is a shit hole. Seriously. And just one of fifty states. But you're going to base your opinion on what the USA is about from your little tour. Emkay...

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    • Who said I was basing it entirely on Florida? I know they're all very different from one another, but Florida was my first taste of the US and it's VERY different to UK life. Americans usually base the UK on England only!

  • You realize, of course, that that part of Florida is a major tourist destination and isn't typical of the US. The only place I've seen machine gun ranges advertised is in Las Vegas, another tourist town.

    And no, the Titanic didn't sink near Florida - icebergs don't make it down that far. The museum was there because the tourists are there.

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  • Florida is where all the old people go to die jk. Though lot senior citizens live there. Though when I’m in Greece the village I go pretty much the same.

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    • I have seen on TV about the retirement villages and such on the other side of Florida and they look stunning! I can see why people would love to move there for retirement. :)

    • There that I got the line from Seinfeld but it’s kinda true.

    • But there an another island in Greece not far from my island where lot of resident are living to 100 but there living well.

  • Hope you enjoyed it. States very wildly though, so consider visiting some other ones.

    One thing though...

    "they would be demanding a lot more from their government and could probably make real, beneficial change for the majority."

    In reality, asking the government to do anything just winds up increasing taxes for a half-assed service that most people won't be able to take advantage of anyway.

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  • Cringed when you said Florida was your introduction to America. Florida is the south's trash can so i'm glad to see it worked out.
    FYI the Titanic didn't sink near Florida. It hit an iceberg think about that... lol

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    • dude are you serious? Florida is just plain fuckin weird. But it has it's goods. What about fuckin Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas, and South Carolina? HELLLOOOOO? You're gonna tell me on average there's not WAY trashier places there? Call me crazy or biased, but Texas and Florida are actually OK when considering southern states. And louisiana at LEAST has New Orleans. (who dat? ya KNOW whos winning the bowl ;) ) Unlike you, who I am guessing is a yankee or Californian, my HOME is the south, aka, Texas, and I have family from louisiana, Alabama, and Florida. I've been to florida too a couple times. Texas has WAY shittier areas, know that well. Remember that there is DFW, San Antonio, Austin, and Houston. Cities. ALL of them not past a certain western longitude. Once you go PAST said longitude, there's a SHIT load of NOTHINGNESS until El Paso, the state is fuckin HUGE. In said nothingness, it's perfect territory to breed the IDIOTS that give the south a bad name, safe in their middle of nowhere isolation. But Texas is big enough to be like a second California and soon may be. Alabama... eh, yah lotta idiots probably. I'd say Mississippi I hear NOTHING about... ever. I don't think anybody cares about it and neither do people inside it. Sounds like a shithole to me. Georgia at least has Atlanta which seems kinda cool. ANd then South Carolina... beaches? wtf do they have of importance? OH and before I forget! ARKANSAS. Fuck that worthless state. Thanks for Walmart, thats about it, nobody give shit about it, like Oklahoma, it's basically just areas where Texans go to vacation and and smile knowing life could be worse.

    • Well, the poverty, dated decor and crappy houses are things that you can find all over the country. But I will say that visiting zoos and amusement parks isn't really experiencing America. They have zoos and amusement parks in the UK.
      There are far more interesting places in Florida she could've visited.

  • Did you take that Saturn V rocket home? They could have had you there in five minutes.

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    • I hope you had fun. I visited England once. Stayed in London, visited Oxford, Stratford Upon Avon, Bath, Stonehenge as well as some castle in the countryside (mainly southern England) and had a blast.

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    • England only, no Wales, Scotland or Ireland.

    • Oh yes, they don't make up the entire UK ;) but you surely get a glimpse of the UK from the places you visited.

  • Having spent much time in the UK and Ireland, I too have seen many things that are different between our homes.. No screens in the windows, electric showers, tiny fridges and stoves.. In dublin, i saw little evidence of a homeless problem, but most of our's in the US have mental issues and the state of our health system sucks.

    Titanic went down in the north atlantic, between the UK and New York.. the was just an exhibit :) that you saw..

    While I was there in winter, the sun did not show until 8 am and when to bed before 4pm IN the summer, very long twilights And the sun was very different their as well the sun was never as hot nor over head.

    Its true most of us don't have a Passport, but then , we have our own large country to visit as well. Areas of deserts, forests, temperate rain forests and caribbean islands , Hawaii and Alaska with its amazing wilderness , California with its Redwood forests, the American West is so large you could spend a life time exploring it. So a lot of americans choose to see their own vast country. But I agree a few trips into Europe would be eye opening.

    And even though we speak the same language, it took me a while to under stand Barry White wasn't a Singer and Rosey Lee wasn't a nice old lady.. And that was the puppies privates!

    Love it there and need to go back and see my mates and fam..

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    • No screens? You don't have electric showers? :o

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    • We don't really have a bug issue here, biggest pests are spiders. In the US, you have huge bugs and in a swampy place like Florida, it makes sense to have them!

    • I'm in New Jersey now.. it the same here but we get winters. LOL I found Moths could visit from time to time as well..

  • Having the right to bear arms doesn't place us behind you guys. That's an ignorant statement. It's part of our culture and way of life. I can tell you don't know anything about firearms or how dangerous they truly are. People fear what they don't understand, and you're a shinning example.

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  • Thank you for sharing an outside perspective. So well written: thank you sis.

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  • I really enjoyed reading this! I’m a Brit also and plan on travelling next year, I’d definitely be up for heading to the US for sure 🙂

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  • Nice take. Not sure why people are moaning that it's "Florida", not "the real America". Florida is a state of America. Own up to it, good or bad.
    I've been to Florida as a kid. I don't remember much, but I remember I had a good time there.

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  • America is a great place. Freedom to use machine guns is not a bad thing. Only a one right more. It's not a communistic nannystate.

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    • You're welcome in my country anytime you want... as long as it's legally. Funny how some other Brits don't realize how knives kill over five times as many people per year than firearms, yet they don't do something about that, only to firearms. This is seeing how bad the stabbing epidemic is over in England, especially London.

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    • Very rarely do people get arrested for carrying knives, but it is a criminal offence to have one. The police are lenient here.

    • our infrustructure is communistic as fuck and nobody, left or right is concerned worth shit. So into defence, guns and border shit, but how the fuck we gonna get around to these places without a car that ofc, GM and Ford build over seas? There's several BAD communist/socialist traits the US has and it needs to fix it asap.

  • Welcome back, Hannah, it's been awhile since you wrote in GAG :)

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  • Gun shooting is a normal date function, you can go target practice and shoot all sorts of guns. It's also used as a way of life and sport in more rural areas, which Europe doesn't have much.

    Pad 39A is leased by SpaceX, and real soon America by way of SpaceX will launch our own astronauts again in-space instead of paying Russia.

    SpaceX will end up on Mars far before NASA ever will.

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  • The amount of ignorance in this post is over 9000... Exit through the gift shop.

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  • Florida isn't very representative as a whole of America.

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    • LOL, nothing is. It is 50 states and 5 time zones and has over 300,000,000 people.
      Good luck find THE representative section of the country.
      That doesn't exist.

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    • Sounds like someone has something against Floridians.

    • nah even then dude, too diverse. Just take compare Albq. to Sante Fe, Fort Worth to Dallas, Denver to Boulder and New Orleans (again, WHO DAT? GO SAINTS!) to Shreveport. America is BEYOND mixed no matter where ya are and even cities right nearby can have quite big diffs. Not much a way to KNOW America too well unless ya get raised in it, learn the constitution well, and get in the know around local, state, regional, and federal politics, as well as get HIGHLY into different cultural aspects like Netflix, Disney, and stuff. NEVER try to understand a country like the US unless born and raised, and even then, don't try too hard. It's not like Britain where it's barely bigger than Maine, or the majority of countries in Europe that barely match land size of Colorado.

  • We have guns because it is written right into our constitution. Its supposed to prevent tyranny and it may soon have to. We're lucky that for now we have Trump.

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    • While I'm not a fan of trump, guns are something I am not as against as some anti trump people. Constitution is the law and it needs respect. I think Americans though need to calmly find areas of agreement and defend ourselves from a MUCH bigger threat than each other, and that is Europe, Russia, etc. calling us dumb and shit while fucking us all in the ass. Country before party. Even while not being a fan of Trump, I DO like that he's sticking the middle finger up to ignorant non Americans who stupidly judge us by watching movies. Fuckin lack of respect considering we fuckin gave em the netflix and internet they use in the first place!

  • This is one of the most ignorant things I've read. Exit through the gift shop you British monster mouth puppet.

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  • Well then. I got my new ideas for visiting. First off, Florida. Second, Europe. Because if it's so different I wanna see what the other side is like.

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  • I'm live in Florida and I have yet to experience some of this. I've been to all the theme parks except SeaWorld. And how did the Titanic sink near Florida? Didn't it sink because of an iceberg? I don't remember icebergs in the tropical area.

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    • The titanic continue sailing for like a day after it hit the iceberg and it's closer to the US than it is to the UK. I wasn't directly near it, but flying over the sea was the closest I'll ever get to it, people don't seem to comprehend that.

  • Nice take on Florida except for that Titanic sank near remark.

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  • I'm sorry you had such a terrible time in this country. Next time you should visit my home town of Quahog, I'll show you a good time.

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  • Thank you for sharing your story with us. It was very interesting to read!

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  • A lot of people from Europe have the misguided impression that the Federal Government in Washington DC can simply pass laws that apply to the entire country like European countries. That's simply not the case. Generally speaking the domestic situation is handled by each individual state. The 9th and 10th amendments prohibit the Federal Government from interfering with States rights. The people that set up our federal government were deeply suspicious of a strong central government and wanted to insure that didn't have complete control. Remember the Bill of Rights (first 10 amendments) were guaranteeing citizens rights and restrictions on the government not the other way around.

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    • That doesn't sound that different to Europe. Except most countries have their own language.

  • I'm glad you enjoyed the trip , come back soon...
    There's plenty to do and see in the southeast part of America

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  • Yeah... the problem here is that you were in *FLORIDA.*

    Florida SUCKS.

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  • Very nice Mytake. I've been to Florida before but my experiences were mainly with Disney when I was younger. What amusement park did you visit?

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    • We went to two of the Universal Studios parks and Seaworld. :)

    • Ooh. That sounds fun. I went to SeaWorld once. I was unlucky because it rained most of the time I was there.

  • That P90 tho. Would distribute dat shit freely to the toiling masses.

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    • How much a bullet? How many bullets a second? $$$$$!

  • You see, many of us Americans don't want more government in our lives... it is one aspect that separates the us from other places. Many of us believe that giving the government too much power is a bad thing. so no, many of us wouldn't be demanding more from the government after visiting Europe ( i have been to Europe).

    Most homeless people are homeless due to their own life choices (drug users, alcoholics, bad work ethic... etc), not because of lack of government. Here, you must work hard for a lot of things which is something I don't want to change as I hate rewarding non-hard workers.

    Also, Florida is only 1 of 50 states, and very different than the rest.

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    • problem is we STILL have socialist like stuff NOBODY talks about like infrastructure! We have a government now who also will let idiots, aka, future homeless criminals, populate because he wants to tell women what to do! We need REAL non government intervention! Merica needs to be 'MERICA!

  • It was a culture shock.

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  • The Titanic didn't sink near Florida.

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    • It's closer to Florida than it is to the UK, that's mainly what I was getting at. It was the first time I even remotely close to the area it sank.

    • The wreckage site at the bottom of the Atlantic is maybe just past the halfway point between the United States and the United Kingdom. It's actually closer to Newfoundland. 👍

  • Sooo boring. Couldn’t get passed the first line.

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    • If you have nothing nice to say, don't say it at all.

    • Yes ma’am

    • This isn't even my fave take, but speaking of boring, food and beverage isn't exactly the world's most entertaining subject. Not like it's kinda trivial or cliche or anything...

  • it was fun to read your impressions of US

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  • Raised in Florida, ty!

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  • Interesting myTake

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  • Interesting

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  • Seems accurate

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  • TLDR, Sorry

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    • you;re a supposed Guru on this site, supposedly 31 and act like a bored 13 year old, being that you can't read at least a few paragraphs or say anything nice or helpful? Sad af. Why are you even commenting?

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    • Oh really? Then why are you a guru? I doubt you are even American and if you are, you sure don't act like it. A TRUE American would've read this and defended their country from being overly judged based of a Florida. Many here did so but you sat on the side being snide. Where you from? I doubt you are from a sophisticated area. 31 years old on a forum site going around bothering people for fun? Do you get paid for this? Hope so, as it doesn't sound you have much to keep you busy on a daily basis. Perhaps you live in Russia and you sometimes tire of riding bears, drinking vodka, and sucking on Putin's balls?

  • Interesting take

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  • Some of your experience matches what I have seen from youtube videos of the Ukraine and Russia. There is videos of a mall in the Ukraine and the mall is amazing first class all the way. On the flip side here in the states, our malls are nowhere near as fancy as their malls are. In fact we don't have very many malls left in the states anymore. Everything seems to be shopping strips anymore, it's very depressing.

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  • america seems super exciting but also super dangerous.

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  • Yes America is a country of the extremes: You have the Mustangs and Corvettes but you also have places like Palatka and Florida City (native floridian here)
    And yea it can get pretty hot sometimes here (especially when you're a goth Lol)
    Did you also visit Miami seaaquarium?

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  • A whole new world darling? Come to China. I'm half Chinese. There's an incredible dictatorship, communist government. Penalties if you say anything against them. You'll get scammed, ripped off and cheated possibly food poisoned too. That's what they do to tourists. Now that's a whole new world. (not meant to be rude in anyway, just explaining that America does not have the most problems in the world)

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    • It's a whole new world to a Brit, but I do plan to visit Asia one day, but I think it's even more costly than going to America. I know that Asia would be even more of a culture shock!

  • America is a shithole

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    • Im from Australia dumbass.

    • Ah yes. Australia. I've had an Australian roommate before. Entitled af people similar to western Europe. Better than east Europe russia or india as those people at least online are anti American ignorant and annoying af while meanwhile their country is among the highest poverty rates and the least in actual contributions. Australia has idiots too comparable to thr backwards morons found in Mississippi. But at least many of them would have a SPINE and not report over being offended. Oh and I can report you too dumbass. Nice try. Free speech. Fuckin learn it. America has. I guess Aussies haven't.

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