People arrive in the States with different attitudes. Some expect everything to be so much better, bigger, greater (add superlative here.......) in the US. They have stars in their eyes like a newlywed couple. And then, when the honeymoon period is over, reality sets in and it's different. Not bad or unbearable, but different. One has to come to grips with that or the marriage will end in a divorce.
There are those who arrive here with a highly skeptical and negative outlook in general, which begs the question: Why did they come here in the first place? Nothing seems to satisfy them. Americans are stupid. The food is crap. Americans are fat. American chocolate tastes horrible. (I might somewhat agree with that one though... ) They don't know how to braai. Why don't they like Marmite and Fish Paste? What's wrong with these people? And their football..!
And then you get those who arrive on American soil knowing full well that the road ahead will not only be littered with challenges, but also opportunities. Those kind of people are known as realists.
Yes, it is human to feel lost in the beginning when:
you go to a store and find (almost) nothing familiar on the shelves,
American English is confusing - more so if your home language is not English,
heavy rains and snow - even hurricanes and tornadoes - are suddenly part of your life in some states,
the workplace is different, having different priorities, attitudes and terminology,
you miss family, friends and the familiarity of all things South African.
The realist however will also realize that these "obstacles" are manageable and rather concentrate on the opportunities on offer. They will always remind themselves of the reasons why they packed their bags for the USA in the first place. Once you have made your bed, sleep in it. It's the only way.
Obviously things don't always work out well for everybody, no matter how realistic or positive you are in outlook. Life can be a hard taskmaster and some people don't succeed for different reasons. There is nothing wrong with that. We are all human and have different needs - it doesn't make somebody a failure.
Please be aware of the fact that emigrating will be the tough. It is very difficult to leave your comfort zones behind and it takes time to create - or get used to - new comfort zones. But please, give it a try. Don't give up. My father-in-law's late father (my grandpa-in-law, if there is such a term) always said: "You can run out of money but you must never run out of ideas".
And remember, one has to adapt to the American way as soon as possible. I'm not saying that people have to adopt the American way, but they have to adapt to it. Nobody advises immigrants to give up their identity, but if they are going to be on the sidelines all the time they will never join in the game, and life is going to be miserable.
Americans will accommodate us as best they can, but remember, they don't have to adapt to our ways.
It's after all their country. We are the visitors.