Atlanta is ridiculously stratified. In terms of wealth distribution it is probably like any other city, but structurally it is very divided.Where I live, there are lots of doctors and lawyers and BMWs and people who are probably actually middle class. If you drive 15 minutes away, there are a lot of Latino immigrants and Vietnamese immigrants and the area is economically depressed. Drive another 20 minutes and you are in the swankiest suburbs with tennis courts and waterfalls and ridiculous golf courses. If you are in one of these bubbles, it is hard to interact with the others. Unlike other cities in the US, there is not a lot of mingling among the classes here. Also, I think I work with some kids that go to the school the author went to and they are almost all mini-frat bros/sorority gals and if you ask them where they are considering going to school they rattle off a list of Ivy League schools. And the school costs more than my out of state public university tuition cost.
@Kokuanani Schwartz@facebook I know it is not the same thing, but a book by the name of "The Healing of America" by T.R. Reid is about pre-Obamacare healthcare in the US as compared to other countries. A fast and interesting read. Our system is a mess, and there are a lot of reasons for that aside from the free-market and for-profit insurance companies aspects. If you want to read an old but respectable book on that subject, check out "The Social Transformation of American Medicine" by Paul Starr. You will never look at the AMA the same again.
@Mae I'm doing an Masters in Public Health, which is a really handy degree for working in non-profits, government agencies, education, social justice areas, research, and so much more. I completely agree with a lot of other commenters, grad school is rough. For some reason, maybe having known masters students over the years, I went into it thinking it would be interesting and exciting. And it is, some days. Other days it is a slog through subject areas I am not that interested in. I'm in the thick of it now, so we will see how it works out. And one caveat, though not a lot of people get a PhD in public health, a lot of people in my area get another degree, too (MD, BSN/RN, MSW, PA, DVM, MSed are common).
@Emma Peel I love love love YDFM! The spices cost very little for the amount and quality. The produce is pretty good, and they have a lot of variety. If you need cheap food go there or to one of the Asian marts ( H mart, Great Wall) that are North. I'm new to the area and can't quite remember where they are, one is in Duluth I think?
@Alex Shepard@facebook One of the challenges of developing a universal healthcare system is switching the burden of care from specialty providers to general practitioners and community health clinics staffed by nurses and NPs. Unfortunately in the US there are not enough GPs or nurses to successfully transition, and the American Medical Association has not helped anything by lobbying for restrictions on nurse practitioners. That is one issue, another is the lack of funding for public health that makes it difficult to effectively implement preventive care measures. The ACA is, possibly, a step in the right direction, but it will not succeed without further reforms. This process is not a one shot issue, it will take years, possibly decades, before we have improved our system. Personally, I think that the for-profit insurance industry is worthless and we should get rid of them, or at least make sure that they are providing useful insurance plans that actually help people. But that is not to say that costs in other areas don't need to come down, including physicians salaries. We also need to change our attitude towards health, as a country.
I've never worked retail, but I have worked foodservice and I can agree, things are typically better outside of a big business. They both have their strong suits, but if you want to work somewhere that is not all about you being a walking advertisement for the corporation, avoid big businesses and stick to family/locally owned deals. The corporate places want you to be invested in their brand (like I really want to be invested in cheesy fried things and sugary drinks) and sell those stupid loyalty cards. On the down side, I have had a crazy manager in a locally owned business who made my time at that job absolutely miserable.
This sounds like an amazing experience! The "for tourists only" pricing is not limited to Thailand, but is fairly common in low and middle-income countries where most of the tourists come from much wealthier (typically western) countries. In most parts of Africa, for example, it is pretty easy to pick out Europeans or Americans who can pay more than a few cents for something. Unless I feel like I am being seriously ripped off, I usually don't mind.