Restaurants And Compliments: A Cheat Sheet For American-born People With Immigrant Friends

Vicky Kuperman
The Foreigner Blog
Published in
2 min readJun 17, 2021

Photo Credit: Olga Pukhalskaya

If you were born in the U.S. and raised by parents who were also born in the U.S., then your immigrant friends will probably not understand much of the terminology you use.

After-School Programs

Hilarious that your parents spent extra money on this. Just hilarious.


This is where we can find a commonality on the Venn diagram! We also had babysitters…*

*Our grandparents

Childhood Bedrooms

Don’t ask us if our childhood bedrooms were turned into offices or gyms. It’s where our grandparents live now. It’s always going to be where our grandparents live now. Stop asking.


We do not receive these from family members. We do not know what these are. This is why we stare in awe when your parents and extended family members say things like “I love you,” “way to go,” and “you’re enough.” Give us a minute to collect ourselves. Oh, and if the compliments are unsolicited, please have smelling salts handy.

Destination Weddings

If by “Destination Wedding” you mean that the destination of the wedding is a deep discount at your uncle’s catering hall on a highway that nobody has ever heard of, then yes, we can relate.


We had these, too!**

**Our grandparents

Lunch Money

Paying for prepared food is sacrilege to an immigrant family. There is only one option for school lunch and that option is a lunchbox that smells like fish that will ensure that you eat alone and become a comedian later in life.


We don’t understand this. We did not get taken to restaurants as children unless we were celebrating a birthday*** or graduation. Delivery and take-out fall under the “Restaurant” category as well.

***Of a well-liked family member. The losers didn’t get restaurant birthdays.

Summer Vacations

No, we didn’t go to all-inclusive resorts or white-water rafting trips as a big happy family. We got watched by our grandparents while teaching them English and helping them schedule their medical appointments.

Taking A Gap Year Before College

Legend has it that there was once a child of immigrants who attempted a gap year backpacking through South America. Their body was never found. And that’s the story their family is sticking to.

The Family Dog

You asked for a family dog and got one? We don’t understand what you mean.

Hope this helps!