Courtesy of the privilege I have had in living overseas, I have had the opportunity to observe things that were outside my body of experience as a suburban American. For some of these items that I have viewed in South America and in Southeast Asia, I was so transfixed by them that I wished they would have been adopted in my home country.
Five years on and now back in the States, I have seen some of these “foreign” concepts actually implemented here in the U.S.of A.
Traffic Light Countdown
While living in Peru, I wrote about this innovative item in this blog post. I loved the idea of having a countdown timer embedded in the traffic light itself. I thought this was a wonderful way for the driver to be aware of how much time was left for whatever particular color (red or green) was showing. At the time of this writing, I was aware that crosswalks in America had timers, but that only meant that a driver had to crane their neck to see how much time was left.
Since I have been back in the Nifty Fifty (okay, technically only the states of California, Florida, and Virginia), I have seen a few traffic lights with countdowns in them.
I hope to see more as I believe they are quite useful.
Sushi Conveyor Belt
In Thailand, one of our go-to eating places was an establishment that offered all types of food that could be cooked at your table. A unique aspect of this restaurant was that the food came to you on conveyor belts. An example of such an eatery is below.
Plates were color coded based on the price of the food and at the end of the meal, a server would count up all the plates of each color and that is how your bill was tallied. I found it to be a unique experience.
Well, someone thought this was an experience worth sharing. A week ago, I was in a mall in northern Virginia (Tyson’s Corner) when I came across this pop-up restaurant in the middle of the walkway.
Those are color-coded plates of sushi being carried around by a conveyor belt. By the entrance, there was an explanatory billboard providing patrons the instructions on how to eat at this “new” type of restaurant.
Glad to see this flavor of establishment make its way across the ocean.
Reserved Cinema Seats
A true boon to my entertainment dollar (or the equivalent) while living in both Peru and Thailand was the ability to pick my movie seat while purchasing my ticket. Growing up in the States, it always felt like such a hassle to me to have to arrive at a cinema much earlier than I needed to because I wanted to be able to find a good seat. Nothing ruins a movie more than having to sit in the front row and break your neck staring up at Dwayne Johnson’s nostril.
(Okay, a screaming baby ruins a movie more. I grant you that.)
So, while it was a tad jarring at first to have to pick my seat upon purchasing a ticket, I grew to love it for the freedom it gave me.
Now, back in the United States, I see that many a local movie theater near me has also adopted this handy-dandy feature.
That is a charm about the USA. If it’s a good idea, we’ll adopt it.
(Except for the metric system. That’s a non-starter in this land.)
There is still one item that I adore from my time abroad that I would dearly love to see implemented here. I wrote about this concept earlier in this blog post. When in Peru, I saw that all monetary transactions at a grocery store or kiosk were rounding up or down to the nearest 0.05. If something cost 4.64, you were only charged 4.60. Likewise, an item costing 4.67 wound up with a bill of 4.70. All in all, it all evened out.
Can you imagine that here? Can you picture no longer having to pay anything with pennies or receiving any change that contained a one-cent piece? What a glorious day that would be.
However, today’s tale revolves around an experience that I highly doubt will be adopted in the United States any time soon. This event occurred at my daughter’s grade school while we were in Thailand.
This is that short story.
When she was in the sixth grade, the international school that my daughter attended took a day and celebrated the LGBTQ community.
Part of that day’s festivities involved an assembly attended by all the sixth graders. Those assembled came out to see of their own come out.
Billed as a Coming Out Assembly, one student stood in front of all of his peers and came out as homosexual.
And there was only praise.
That’s the story.
P.S. Thailand was not actually the first place I encountered a sushi conveyor belt,…but that’s a story for another day.