So, on 12 March 2015 when I was waiting in the Chicago O'Hare airport waiting for my last flight to reach Tucson, Arizona I decided to sit down and journal. I had just used by Starbucks app on my phone to get myself a caramel machiatto (the dream!) and had figured out a way to put my phone on the charging station, so that my broken charger would still somehow charge my phone.
First off, Uganda DOES NOT have charging stations. But, those are less easily found except in airports anyhow.
So, 5 things were glaringly different between Uganda and America when I stepped into the Chicago (probably aided by the fact that I was jet lagged, so bright lights were even an issue).
Customer service exists, and it's a magical thing.
I haven't heard "sorry for the delay" and "it's my fault" from really ANYONE in the last 9 months. Yes. I hear 'sorry', but in Uganda the meaning is more "I'm sorry for your misfortune", not "I'm sorry that I caused your misfortune".
So, good job Starbucks employee. You rocked the costumer service. Also, caramel machiatto's thankfully still taste just as good as I remember them.
Queues (lines) exists- and there is even organization within the line. I not only had to follow a line to the customs counter, but while I was in line I had to stand behind a different colored line to ensure I was in the right place, so that everyone would be aware that I was the next individual getting checked.
As mentioned above, there are charging stations for phones and other electronics. Also, THERE ARE TRASHCANS EVERYWHERE!
Everyone is in there own little world. Don't get me wrong. I love building relationships and having conversations. Ugandans seem to really know how to make everyone feel welcome which I do miss a little (more now that I have officially been back for a week), but after I had gotten off of my 2nd plane and was sitting in my 3rd airport, waiting for my final plane that was taking me to my final destination I was not in the mood, and my brain would not have been able to function if someone was to strike up a conversation. Yes, I talked to people in the airport, but it consisted of "Is this seat taken?", "Thank you.", and "Oh, no problem. You two can sit together. Let me just scoot over". All conversation related to the task at hand and then quickly ended.
There was no dust. Everything is clean and orderly at all times. People seemed shocked if there was a crying baby or a sudden outburst and it was shushed quickly. Everyone seemed to believe in personal space and was apologetic that some space had to be reduced due to standing in line or sitting next to each other.
So, I don't have reasons for why those 5 things stood out to me. I am also not making a judgement call on if one is better or worse.
The two places that I call home just run a little differently. At this moment I am thankful for the order of American life. Meetings run on time and I am able to drive my car through manageable traffic to those meetings. Give me 5 more weeks and I will probably be wishing for a little of the chaos to be back in my life.