Don't Leave Home Without It! A Frank and Fearless Guide to Understanding Americans

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Why do Americans watch endless sports on TV, put ice cubes in their drinks, and why are they always smiling? These are just some of the questions foreigners ask author Diane Asitimbay and she fearlessly answers in her second edition of What's Up, America? A Foreigner's Guide to Understanding Americans.

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The author of What's Up, America? Diane Asitimbay is no stranger to weird questions. To write her book, Asitimbay collected real questions from international students and visitors and answered them in her funny guide called What's Up, America? A Foreigner's Guide to Understanding Americans (Culturelink Press, 2009)

The first edition of this book has been tremendously popular with the international crowd for the way the author gives readers an insider's view of our collective behavior while answering all those embarrassing questions outsiders have.

Now in its second edition, What's Up, America? is even funnier than the first edition. The second edition has grown with two new chapters on health care "Ills, Pills & Medical Bills," and sports, "A Game for All Seasons. These additional chapters cover questions such as "How does the alphabet soup of U.S. health care work? Asitimbay explains the difference between HMOs and PPOs, acronyms that border on alphabet soup to international visitors. The author also takes the mystery out of American football customs such as homecoming, pep rallies, and tailgate parties in the sports chapter.

This guide will fit perfectly into the suitcase of international visitors coming to the U.S. and American students on their way to study abroad. Both foreigners and Americans alike will find this a "don't leave home without it" kind of book because any time you notice strange American behavior that you don't understand, or someone asks you a crazy question while you are traveling like "Why are Americans walking smiley signs?," you can simply pull this book out and look it up. Ta-dah! You'll be able to give the curious and confused a smart answer ( the book is carefully indexed by subject.)

How do Americans make friends? Mostly by the activity we share with them, Asitimbay writes. What is American food? Do we have anything besides hamburgers and hotdogs? Yes, of course, we do, says Asitimbay. A copy of many other countries food with some modifications, of course. We shorten cooking methods, usually we fry other countries' food to prepare it faster, and we use different ingredients. So we've turned tortillas into fast food burritos, sushi into California rolls and made toasted and buttered garlic bread a key part of every Italian meal in the U.S. Though foreigners easily recognize the difference in taste and cooking method of their country's food, Americans seldom realize that they have reinvented someone else's food and that we are actually eating an American dish.

Readers also get a visual picture of the American people in illustrations, pie charts, and informational graphics. The travel guide is full of examples, statistics and historical background. The book is easy to read because it has been written in a no-nonsense style with the graphics.

Diane Asitimbay holds a degree in International Relations, is a widely-traveled writer and continues to teach English to international students at University of California - San Diego. She also trains U.S.-bound employees and speaks to various organizations on cross-cultural topics.

Asitimbay has appeared on a national television FOX & Friends Show, Pace Cable TV, and KPBS, a local affiliate of National Public Radio.

What's Up, America? A Foreigner's Guide to Understanding Americans SECOND EDITION (ISBN 0-9759276-3-9) is available for $14.95 at fine independent bookstores, online at, or by calling Book Clearing House Toll-free at 800-431-1579.


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