I love to travel and that's definitely something I miss in our post-COVID-19 world. My experience in different countries has shown me that there's nothing quite like speaking with the people who live there. They can tell you so much about the country and acquaint you with it in ways that you might not get from news coverage. The news coverage might be lacking, as a matter of fact.
After Redditor PRPNKSKAI asked the online community, "What is something f***ed up about your country that foreigners might not know?" people weighed in. Their responses are quite revealing.
Lost children from Francoism. Basically babies would be stolen when they were born and parents would be told that their newborn baby died.
Indigenous women in Canada have been subjected to forced sterilization in public hospitals, going back many decades and into 2018. That's seriously f***ed.
United States - I don't think people talk enough about how f***ed up the private prison industry is. There are private companies that own prisons and get paid based on how many prisoners are there. There was a case a few years ago where a judge was convicted for making a deal with private prisons to give people harsher sentences so that they could keep the prisons full.
Similarly, there are private companies (i.e. Amazon, Costco) that use prison labor for their companies, which is beneficial to them because minimum wage laws don't apply to prisoners, and in some states it's legal to make prisoners work and not pay them at all.
Homophobia and racism is the norm here. People are only friendly to foreigners because they expect something in return. Police can just shoot you in the street and frame you for drug dealing/using, it will be a sloppy job, an obvious one, but nothing will happen, hell, some people will actually believe him. To name a few.
Brazilians may not be as friendly and nice as people would like to believe, unless you are, well, white. We can be fickle, mean, egotistical, and racism is quite common countrywide.
People don't realise how my country was stolen time and time again by the Normans, Anglos and more recently the English. They tore up our land, oppressed our people and took all the resources. Now we are a joke. There was a huge Christian revival here that people went nuts for and built dozens and dozens of amazing (and now derelict) chapels amongst slums. Our language was deliberately quashed with people being beaten for using it. Children were punished if they spoke our native tongue.
Belize: the murder rate is obscenely high. Right after i moved out of there, two kids burned an old man to death on a sidewalk near my old house.
Often portrayed as a friendly and hospitable nation. The amount of religious bigatory in the west of my country is appalling. Things are improving a bit with the younger generation (under 20s).
- Where 7% of population are alcoholics (in 2015.).
- Second place in EU in violence against women statistics (almost 50% have faced some type of violence after age of 15).
- Most racist country in the EU.
- Country where people kinda forget we were Nazi allies during the last years of WWII
- One of the bloodiest civil wars in the 20th century, based on deaths/population ratio.
- Forced sterilisations of transgender people are still required by the law
- High suicide rates
- People are lonely, and creating meaningful connections and relationships is hard
Just to mention a few.
Mozambique. The country has been ruled by a party dictatorship since independence, Frelimo being the ruling party. The government is corrupt and is scamming the IMF. They are also killing their own people up north due to the natural gas underneath the native lands, and they are calling it casualties of a civil war between political parties when the opposition leader has been dead for two years.
People always romance the machismo and women being very housewife/family oriented.
Reality: There is a lot of domestic abuse and sexual harassment of women. In very rural areas it's very common for men in their 30s to seriously flirt and pursue relationships with teenage girls. Sadly most of society in Mexico either ignores this problem or promotes it. Age of consent is way lower in parts of Mexico.
This why it's very easy to spot the difference between a Mexican-American male and a Mexican male, by just seeing how they treat women or behave around them.
I know this, because my whole family is originally from Mexico and I have traveled back and forth from the US and Mexico through out my life. And I'm constantly around Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans. This is why I'm very aware of these issues.
I don't mean to shame my fellow Mexican men, I just want this disgusting behavior to change.
Even many Dutch people don't know this:
During WW2 there was a famine (the Hunger Winter) and everyone knows people ate sugar beets and other weird stuff to survive, and pets were eaten too. Well, many small children also went missing around this time, and although it was claimed that they had been sent to the countryside for their safety, some were never found.
It has never been said outright, but many people from that time had suspicions that children were abducted and eaten.
We stick our refugees in detention camps on smaller islands so they're out of sight, out of mind.
Jamaica is one of the most bloodthirsty countries in the world. I used to live in Kingston and not a day went by without fear of getting shot to death on the way to primary school.
I live in the Cayman Islands now so I'm fine. Especially without the constant stress.
Over a period of eight years, we have had thirteen government changes and five different presidents.
Politics in French Polynesia is completely f***ed up. Like the majority of the people my age living outside of the country, I stopped remembering who was the president because it could change at any given time.
Ireland- the long list of abuse of power by the Catholic Church and related organisations, more recently the mother and baby home in Tuam. Not for the faint of heart. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bon_Secours_Mother_and_Baby_Home
We have the most strict anti-abortion, anti-drug, anti-LGBT laws in the whole region. Some politicians proudly call our country a Catholic stronghold among the sea of evil.
A man in my country has beaten his wife to death and his only punishment was a 133$ equivalent of fine (iT wAs HiS fIrSt OfFeNcE!!)
Another woman then speaks up about her husband beating her and gets fined by the same amount of money.
When I say Kenya, you probably think of safaris or maybe even the Lion King's "Circle of Life" intro song. Some people might even think of poor, destitute and starving Africans. We're a lot more than just one thing.
- Under colonial rule, many Kenyans were sent to concentration camps and endured torture for years until independence. We're talking Nazi tactics by Britain, after WW2, across the African continent. We learn about the horrors of the Holocaust in school but not so much is taught about the murder of Africans by Europeans during the same period.
- Kenya is deeply divided along tribal lines and although the younger generation denounce it more, it is still prevalent especially around elections.
- Kenyan politicians unlock a new level (depth?) of corruption every year.
- The police are partial to Caucasian expats and rich people. If you don't have any bribe money or are most in need of protection by the police, you are more likely to be a victim of the police.
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Have you ever been so intensely into another person you can't think straight?
Everything about them sends you into a flop sweat.
Then one day, you're out and about and they breathe wrong so you're disgusted and it's over.
A good crush can be obliterated in a matter of seconds.
But why? How can it be that fast?
Redditor6FeetDownUnderwanted to know about the times infatuation died immediately. They asked:
"What made you immediately lose interest in a crush?"
This actually a gift of mine, or a curse, depending on how you look at it. I can lose interest in the snap of a finger.
Oh Hell No!dogs biting GIFGiphy
"She not only didn't like my dog but was rude and smacked my dog."
"Hot and cold behavior."
"SO MUCH THIS! Why do people do that? I’m a guy going through that right now with a woman that I fell for… and it sucks."
"Man... I just broke up with a girl who accused me of this too many times. The first time was shortly after our first date and I was like 'WTF?'"
"'We've talked every day including this morning and have another date set later this week.' The last time she said I was icing her out, but I had already told her I was stressing about some unrelated issues that I had already talked to her about a few times."
"That she cheated on everyone she had ever been with."
"I had cheated on everyone I was with before I got sober. I have never cheated since (15 years) - I completely changed my entire lifestyle."
"I would never cheat again, I was a different person then, young, dumb, and loaded all the time making horrible decisions. Since getting sober, I’ve had 3 long term relationships that all ended for other things I have issues with. Haha. But not cheating! But I agree - most situations - would not be like this."
It was weird...
"When I realized she had to take her bestie literally everywhere. It was weird. We would hang out and she would come. We'd go on a date and she'd come. We'd go to a movie and she would either come or be texting her the entire time. Every night she would just come over and watch TV with us. It really got old."
"We are still friends on Facebook. My old crush is married now and I see all these pictures of her and her husband in Greece, Paris, Safaris in Africa, and you guessed it, the 3rd wheel is in all the pictures."
Just CuzSeth Meyers Lol GIF by Late Night with Seth MeyersGiphy
“'I dump people to feel something' nah no way."
"Recently was seeing a girl that had a family emergency in her life. She decided to end things with us because she felt destructive and wanted to feel in control."
Some people really need deeper therapy sessions before they get into relationships.
RudeTv Show Reaction GIF by The Daily Show with Trevor NoahGiphy
"Asked her on a date, said yes. Ghosted me."
6 Months In...
"Guy still flirted with other girls after expressing interest in me and let them sit on his lap. I ended it before it even really began. A year later he asked if I wanted to fool around. I said no. About a month after that I saw he had a girlfriend when she tagged him in a FB post saying 'happy 6 month anniversary.'"
The Way We See It
"Mutual codependency. I had a friend that I genuinely didn't notice a problem until I was pregnant and my daughter's father mentioned that she wouldn't be in the room for the birth. That never occurred to me. And then I was thinking of my life and how she was there for like everything. Had to set up some boundaries. She didn't like that and eventually cut herself from my life. She doesn't see it that way."
"She cheated on her bf on an international trip. He was a cool dude, felt bad for him on that one. I haven't spoken to her in years."
"Similar thing happened to me too, I liked a guy who had a girlfriend at the time (I realise this sounds bad, I couldn’t help having a crush on him but I never would’ve acted on it). Anyways he was on an international school trip with us and he was cheating on his girlfriend the whole week. Instantly couldn’t even stand the sight of him."
Instantred flag GIF by Steve Harvey TVGiphy
"'I'm not allowed to work with children' instant red flag."
Follow the clues. Read the signs. Never be afraid to run.
As consumers, we know better than to spend our hard-earned cash on things we don't really need. But we do it anyway.
That doesn't mean we should refrain from indulging every now and then in spending money on the things we really want.
But sometimes, the things we thought we really desired in our heart of hearts turn out to be impulsive purchases on things–like new clothes we never end up wearing despite looking great on us when we tried them on in the dressing room.
That is an example of buyer's remorse. And we have paid the price, so to speak, for spending frivolously on inconsequential things.
Curious to hear from previous customers of having a moment of regret, Redditor pepperpeppington asked:
"What is your greatest buyers remorse?"
The concept seemed legit, but these customers realized they had a lot to learn after committing to new prospects.
The Wrong Perspective
"Got talked into buying progressive lens glasses. I spend most of my day either reading, writing, or staring at a computer screen. With the new glasses I could only read things if it was in one particular spot in front of me or if I tilted my head to an odd angle. Hundreds of dollars down the drain. Ended up going back to buy reading glasses and they worked better than the progressives ever did."
Learning About Credit The Hard Way
"Back in the late 90’s when I was just graduating high school, I went to the mall one day (Lazarus to be exact, I know, I’m old) and some salesperson walked up wanting to know if I wanted a credit card. $500 max to be exact. Being the naive dumbass I was, I signed and got my card that day and bought $500 worth of clothing."
"It didn’t occur to me then about high interest rates and missing payments. It ended up costing me around $1500-$2000 to pay this sh*t off because I missed some payments. Teach your kids how to manage money and to be on the lookout for vultures. You’ll be doing them a favor."
That Sinking Feeling
"A Leesa mattress. I was super happy with it when we first got it because it was SO comfortable, but after a year it started sinking, and after three years I feel like I wake up in a trough every morning. I definitely need to get a new mattress because my back feels so much better any time we sleep on hotel beds."
"It's pissing me off that it only lasted three years but I've rotated that f'ker so many times that there's a trough in every direction. And it's still so comfortable when I first lie down, too."
Electrical appliances and cars are essential, but these Redditors wanted the best of the best and thought the high price tag instantly made things better.
Spoiler alert–it didn't.
"Latest remorseful purchase was my ~$2k GE refrigerator. It lasted 2.5 years and was too expensive to repair. It would have been 1,200 to fix it and even then the repair guy couldn't guarantee that it would work properly."
"I found a 'scratch and dent' Whirlpool for the same cost, brand new. So far, so good."
"ETA: before this, I've never had issues with GE appliances. This is either a fluke, or the brand is deteriorating."
"An Audi Q5 hybrid. We had a decent warranty so we thought we were okay. $6000 in repairs in one year of owning it. We traded it in and got upside down on a new car, but it was worth it to get out of that dumpster fire of a car."
Going Nowhere Fast
"Dumping 10 grand into a car worth 7k just because I wanted to make it faster. I still have the car and I love it, but that was not a smart financial decision, and I wouldn't do it again."
People didn't put any thought into these purchases and instantly regretted it.
It Didn't Compute
"My last laptop. I didn't really research properly, cheaped out and have spent the last three years regretting it."
Hard To Swallow
"I went to a burger place near Brisbane in Australia with my brother. They advertised that they had the 'hottest burgers' in the world and if you could finish, they put your name on the wall. I started to realise my mistake when the burger came out with latex gloves and a huge glass of milk. By the 2nd bite, i felt my soul start to detach from my body and my brain was recoiling in horror as pure lava was going down my throat. Halfway through, while trying to stop the tears flowing down my face, I said no more. For days after the burger my intestines couldn't handle anything stronger then yoghurt and the pain started again everytime I went to the toilet."
Taking A Stab At It
"A 400$ dagger back in 2002.. still have it, never knew what to do with it."
Went With The Flow
"A kayak that never gets used. Spent over 1 year's allowance (200$) on that thing."
Just A Stick
"buying a harry potter style wand at age 9 thinking it would actually work. it was hella expensive too."
Such A Waste
"Squatty Potty. What the f'k was I thinking? I could've just used a box, or literally stacked some books on top of each other, but to be fair I was pretty desperate."
So I saw the coolest leather jacket at a thrift store. Because I was so enamored of it–and the size was a perfect fit–I bought it there on the spot, no refunds.
I was thrilled about the prospect of looking like a greaser (because that's so my style...not), I realized I wouldn't be wearing it for a while considering L.A.'s blistering summer temperatures. Sadly, by the time temperatures cool down, I'll have forgotten all about it.
It will remain in my closet along with my other outfits I haven't worn in ages.
Careful spending money on too many clothes. You'll wind up donating them to a thrift store where another sucker like me will make an impulsive purchase.
With all the stress and anxiety in our world today, it's important to take a breath and appreciate there are still things in the world that can bring a smile to our faces.
Whether it's cuddling with a pet who adores you no matter what kind of day you're having, or sharing some cheesecake with old friends in the kitchen, we must not forget to revisit the things that bring us peace in a chaotic world.
Curious to hear what strangers online consider calming, Redditor subornion asked:
"What are some VERY comforting facts?"
In moments of reclusiveness, knowing we share the planet with other species can be a source of relief.
When Talking To Rabbits
"You can talk to your pet rabbit by quickly pushing your lips downwards and upwards as if you were trying to look up your nose in a mirror. Do it quickly and you're chatting. It mimics the nose movements they make and you can see them wiggle their noses faster out of interest. Copy their rhythm to and watch them talk back."
"Also, stomping your foot like they do as well as turning your back on them when annoyed is understood too. If they have chewed something they shouldn't have you can stomp one foot and turn around with your arms folded. Have a look over your shoulder to make sure they see you. They should come to check on you and if they don't stomp and make sure they see your back is turned. Eventually they get it and come over to make sure your ok. Then let the nose waggling commence."
"You can expect them to do the same to you as well, like when you clean their enclosure."
Wonders Of Evolution
"The North Pacific humpback whale population is estimated to be 15x greater then it was 60 years ago."
"I once found a ladybug in my room in the middle of winter. I tried to look up if I could feed it somehow, and found countless other people asking the same question."
"The world is full of people who have compassion enough to feed a lone bug in the winter."
Our Feathered Friends
"Crows will let other crows know if you’re a good person. Feeding a crow in your backyard can quickly become many crows over time since the rumour spreads. And nearby crows in your area will know you as one they like. They can also be known to be protective of you and even bring you gifts. Sufficed to say, crows are one of the most intelligent creatures on the planet and they are truly underrated."
People share wisdom pertaining to your health, well-being and healing.
You Will Come Out Of It
"If you're having a general anaesthetic for a routine operation, and worried about dying while under, please be aware there are about 7 different 'levels' of stuff we can do to bring you back."
"So if the thing we normally do doesn't work, we've got plan B, then we've got plans C, D, E, F, G& H. ( and we rarely need to even go to Plan C, let alone the rest!)"
"It's ridiculously rare for you to never wake up from a routine op, of course it happens occasionally, but for every case you've heard about it happening, there's THOUSANDS of identical operations where it didn't. I've been qualified 15 years and it's literally never happened anywhere I've worked."
Wonders Of Medicine
"A middle or even low income people in developed countries are living a much more comfortable life than the richest people centuries or even millennia ago, in large part thanks to modern medicine making death from a mere infection no longer a near guaranteed death."
There's Still Time To Ditch Bad Habits
"If you quit smoking by age 40, your life expectancy is the same as a non-smoker."
"Also: it's never too late to quit."
A Good Investment
"Switzerland has implemented a scheme ‘Time Bank’; which is an old-age assistance programme, under which, people can volunteer to look after the elderly who require assistance, and then, the number of hours they spend with or caring for seniors gets deposited in their individual social security account. Eventually, when the volunteer reaches that old age when he or she requires support, this ‘Time Bank’ can help them by providing time-based services which include consultations, babysitting, hairdressing, gardening, tutoring, or any other time-consuming job in addition to being looked after by a volunteer as well. About 34 countries are trying to apply this scheme."
"Very Wholesome and humane!"
It's the little things that can be uplifting when we're feeling low.
Best Neighbor Ever
"All of the cardigans Mister Rogers wore on camera were knit by his mother."
"There is a group of bikers called bikers against child abuse who support child abuse victims in court by looking tough and giving the kids confidence to testify against their abusers it’s actually an international group."
"Jupiter has been protecting earth from almost every stray asteroid strike coming in from out of the solar system since the planets first formed."
On The Mend
"The ozone layer is slowly repairing itself."
When I found out that pets will forgive you when you step on them, not only did that factoid bring much joy, it also made me wonder why people aren't as capable of letting minor grievances roll off their backs.
Animals are much more intellectual than we give them credit for. And knowing that my future Siberian Husky will always have my back no matter what makes me sleep at night.
'Til the day I become a Husky daddy, I'll be thinking of that to bring me a sense of calm in any kind of storm.
When you go to the food court in any of the fast-disappearing malls across America, you may find cuisine from many parts of the world.
Italy is epitomized by its delicious food staples, pizza, and pasta. Let's head to Sbarro's.
Craving Chinese food? Panda Express and other similar knock-offs using stereotypical names have got you covered.
But what is the taste of America? Is any food, distinctly American? Even hot dogs are a cultural import from Germany, as are hamburgers.
Maybe those tailgate party staples are distinctly American after they've been popularized in the heartland.
Expanding on the notion of the flavor of America, Redditor SalmonSoup15 asked:
"If American was a flavor, what would it taste like?"
Likening the flavor of America to condiments was the first thing that came to Reddtors' minds.
The Very Definition
"It IS a flavor: it’s how ranch gets named in some European countries."
"I was in the Caribbean when I found out Cool Ranch Doritos are called Cool American in some countries."
What's In It?
"Ranch dressing is an American salad dressing usually made from buttermilk, salt, garlic, onion, mustard, herbs, and spices mixed into a sauce based on mayonnaise or another oil emulsion. Sour cream and yogurt are sometimes used in addition to, or as a substitute for, buttermilk and mayonnaise. The dried version on chips is delicious."
The German Interpretation
"In Germany, American dressing is Thousand islands."
Effect On Buffalo
"Buffalo is appalled to learn this."
Let's Not Forget...
"With beer, whiskey and cigars!! Murica!"
What U.S. teenagers haven't participated in this atrocious soda trend?
The Everything Elixir
"You know when you used to mix every drink at the soda machine as a kid?"
Washingtonians Call It:
"WA state here."
"We called them 'Graveyards.'"
It Does Sound Toxic
"We called them 'suicides'"
"Edit: love hearing all the different names. I wonder if it's a geography/generational thing? I grew up in the Midwest in the 80s."
Candy You Can Drink
"We called it skittles soda."
The taste of America wasn't necessarily thought of as anything that would be beneficial to our health.
The Ingredients Found In All American Junk Food
"Partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, milk solids, ascorbic acid, xanthum gum, red dye #5, MSG, marshmallow fluff, and hollow point bullets."
Vegetable Oil Jacuzzi
"That deep fried bar and grill taste. Where it's good dipped in ranch, but after a basket of any deep fried food... it just tastes and feels heavy. Like way too much of whatever it is."
Interestingly, having grown up in Los Angeles–where authentic Mexican food was in abundance–I associate the flavor of America with chili con carne in chili colorado sauce.
Additionally because of my Japanese heritage, I also associate teriyaki sauce–which my dad marinated chicken skewers in for our backyard BBQs–with 'Murica.
My American flavors are a kaleidoscopic mish-mash of different cultures. Because aren't we supposed to be a melting pot anyway? Or so I've thought.