After 24 years of teaching and research in Hong Kong, I have moved back to the Midwest, to St Louis, Missouri. Things are still new, and there are new discoveries every day. Missouri, or at least St Louis, is generally considered part of the Midwest, and since my wife and I grew up in the Midwest (Indiana, to be exact), there is some cultural affinity. People are generally very nice to one another; little road rage (people alternate when merging on the highway, and don't cut in line or fight for every space like in Hong Kong), and service personnel are "friendly" (I realize that is partially a culturally defined term). There is a lot going on in St Louis, and it is much nicer than many people had let me to believe. Among initial (superficial) observations:
Everything is big. The egg tarts (蛋塔) are labeled "European Bakery Creme Filled Tart" and the size of a fist.
The choices in the supermarket are overwhelming. It takes us over an hour to go shopping each time as we have to a) find things in these enormous stores, organized in ways that I still don't understand (except that the milk is in the back; see Planet Money story on this) and b) the choices are so great.
SUVs are now the normal car in the US; the rise of "SUV culture" occurred while I was out of the US, so I have not caught up to the style. Keith Bradsher, now a NY Times correspondent in Shanghai, wrote a great book about the rise of the SUV. I insisted on getting a regular sedan, and my choices were constrained because SUVs are so common. SUVs are also considered cool, and one pays a premium for it. The Subaru WRX is the SUV version of the Impreza, and one pays about $8000 more for turbo and the privilege of riding 5 inches higher off the ground.