Image courtesy of Maricel Serra Amat
I have been in the United States for one month and one week. OMG! Time is flying.
This month, I've learned some customs, traditions, and other interesting things about American culture. Although I found some of these customs strange at first, now I have gotten so used to them that I don't even realize that I'm slowly becoming more American! Here are 10 interesting things that I've learned about the U.S. so far!
1. Hello, How are you?
Here in the U.S., when you go to a store, a museum, or anywhere else, the person working at the counter will always say, "Hello, how are you?" However, they aren't really waiting for you to respond, "Doing well," or "I'm not very good." At first, I'd always answer, "Fine thanks, and you?" and then the person ignored me. One day, I asked my host mom, and she said that it's just a custom and you don't have to respond. I think it's a strange custom to ask someone how they are, but not wait for a response.
2. The bread! It's not what I am used to.
Image courtesy of Pexels
Here, they don't know about "good bread". Sometimes my host mom and I buy bread at the bakery, sometimes at the supermarket, but there's not really any good bread anywhere. Here, the bread doesn't smell like bread.
3. In the U.S., everyone is barefoot all day. (Okay, sometimes they wear socks. But no slippers!)
The first day I was living with my family, I remember that I brought my super slippers, and my host dad (who is from England) said, "Here in the U.S., we don't use slippers. Here we go barefoot. In England I used my slippers, but now that I'm here, I've gotten used to going barefoot." My host family doesn't mind if I use slippers or not, but I'm starting to get used to going barefoot.
4. In the United States, almost all the cars are automatic and they beep when you lock them!
At first, this surprised me. When I wasn't quite used to this yet, it happened in parking lots a lot, and I thought people were beeping at me for some reason! But nope, they just beep when they're closed.
5. You can turn right on red.
This was my first instance of culture shock! Here in the United States, you can turn right on a red light, as long as there is no sign prohibiting it. I don't know if this is the case everywhere in the United States, but in New York State, that's the way it is!
6. The supermarkets are massive!
Image courtesy of Maricel Serra Amat
Here, the supermarkets are huge. There are a few little ones around, but the majority are huge. You can find thousands of types of potatoes, thousands of types of apples, milk, cereals, and more.
The parking lots are big, too. They are so so big that the first time I went to the supermarket, I didn't know where I had parked my car! I knew that I had parked on a corner, but I wasn't sure in which row. So, I looked a little silly looking all over for my car.
Oh, yes! The pharmacies are huge, and you can find everything you could ever want: toilet paper, notebook, razors, and more.
7. Here, you have to give a tip no matter what.
Except at a fast food restaurant, where no one really waits on you. I don't think that a tip is necessary in this situation.
8. The climate really varies here in New York.
For example, this week on Monday, it was 11 degrees, and today it's been between 22 and 25. I never know if I need to wear a warm sweater or if I can just wear a t-shirt.
9. Here, saying "Thanks" and "Sorry" is sacred.
When I make food for the girls, they always say, "thanks for this food." It's a little strange for me because I expect to cook something for them without a thank you. But when my host mom cooks, I always tell her thanks. Now it's become my thing, and "sorry" and "thanks" come out of my mouth naturally!
10. The portions are huge!
If you go to a restaurant and order something, be careful, because the portions are very large and filling. I say this because I always order the small portion, but it still seems large.
That's all I can think of at the moment, but that's definitely not all! I am suprised by something new here all the time.
Check out Maricel's blog, Mi Rincon Au Pair, for more of her posts in both English and Spanish.