Welcome, dear reader, to my spirited list of grievances! Before we dip into the deep end, let me assure you – this isn’t your usual rant of discontent. No, this is more of a humorous jab, a quirky examination, a light-hearted roast if you will, of the peculiarities I’ve come across as an immigrant in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
This tongue-in-cheek listicle is my attempt to showcase the American idiosyncrasies that, despite driving me up the wall at times, have contributed to an exciting and unique journey of cultural exploration. So, let’s embark on this rollercoaster ride – a journey through the humorous, maddening, and utterly human aspects of American life that have caught this outsider’s eye.
The Baffling Imperial System
Who needs the simplicity and logic of the metric system when you can calculate distances in feet, yards, and miles or measure temperature in Fahrenheit? Ah, the imperial system. If you’re from one of those sensible countries that use the metric system, this one can be notably puzzling.
Even when I try to convert my recipes into ‘American measurements,’ they never quite turn out right!
Peanut Butter Obsession
It’s tasty, but does it need to be in everything from candies to hamburgers? Speaking of recipes, Americans seem to love peanut butter. It’s a staple in many pantries and appears in everything from sandwiches to desserts.
I’m not complaining; I am also a big fan of the nutty spread. But it surprised me how much people here rely on it for their culinary creations!
A minor cold could potentially leave you bankrupt. Affordable healthcare isn’t too much to ask. This issue affects everyone in the US, and it is one of my main shockers in this country.
The prices for even primary medical care are staggering; I can’t help but compare them to what I’m used to at home, and it’s a pretty noticeable difference.
Obscene Portion Sizes
Everything is supersized, from burgers to soft drinks. A single meal could feed a small village! When it comes to food, bigger isn’t always better. In the USA, portion sizes seem much more significant than in other countries.
It’s like restaurants want you to get your money’s worth in one meal—which usually means overindulging on unhealthy snacks and high-calorie meals!
It’s not just about being generous; it’s an expectation and a social rule you don’t want to break. In many other countries, tipping is not expected. However, in the US, it’s customary to leave a tip for most services; if you don’t leave even a small amount (usually 15-20%), your server might be offended or surprised.
It can be confusing to figure out when and how much to tip, but as long as you follow the basic rules, you should be fine. Ultimately, it doesn’t hurt to ask or leave a little extra money for good measure if in doubt.
Sales Tax Surprise
The price you see is never the price you pay. Beware of the checkout line! When you’re browsing for items in a store, don’t forget to remember that most US states add extra sales tax on top of the price tag.
This differs from VAT or GST in many other countries, where the taxes are included in the item’s cost when it was first priced.
Coffee, Coffee Everywhere
A land where the coffee flows like water. No matter where you are, coffee is available. While the prices might vary from city to city, it’s usually affordable and a great way to start the day.
You may find that the quality of coffee varies by region, so keep an open mind when trying new cups.
One moment, you’re enjoying a show; the next, you’re being yelled at to buy car insurance. Commercials can be loud and distracting.
Whether you’re watching TV or listening to the radio, it’s hard to avoid them. They come in all shapes and sizes, but most try to convince you that their product is the best thing since sliced bread.
Soccer is ‘Soccer,’ Not Football
The rest of the world calls it football, but America had to stand out, didn’t it? In the United States, football is more popular than soccer. Even though it’s called “soccer” in most of the world, people here tend to call it “football.”
It can be confusing when Americans refer to “American Football” as simply football and think that other countries only have one kind of sport known as football. For some, this is a source of confusion when talking to people from different countries, but for many, it’s just another quirk of American culture.
The never-ending, mind-boggling rollercoaster that is American politics. Politics can be crazy, no matter where you live. People in different countries may have different opinions about their governments and the world around them, but one thing remains true: politics is always a hot topic of conversation.
Whether people are debating differences in economic structures or just talking about the latest news story, politics will most likely be discussed at some point.
Obsession with Guns
Do people really need firearms with their morning cereal? The American obsession with firearms is something that stands out to many people from other countries, including me.
In the United States, it can be easy to get a firearm, and many Americans own multiple guns. While gun control laws are in place and there are restrictions on certain types of weapons, some people still see this as an issue compared to other countries where guns aren’t as easily accessible at all.
Overly Air-conditioned Buildings
It’s a sweltering day outside, but you need a winter jacket inside. Have you ever stepped out of a chilly office into the blazing summer heat and been shocked?
Drive-thrus for Everything
Banks, pharmacies, liquor stores – nothing is off limits. You can get a quick meal, deposit at the bank, or even pick up your prescription medication without stepping out of your car. Convenient, right? I find it weird.
Cheese from a Can
Who needs naturally aged cheddar when you can spray cheese directly into your mouth? It’s a crunchy, chewy, and flavourful snack. But it comes from a can and contains preservatives. Is this something you should be eating?
Spellings that Make No Sense
‘Color’ instead of ‘colour,’ ‘realize’ instead of ‘realise.’ Need I say more? How do you spell “diarrhea”? Is it two r’s or two h’s? Or is it spelled with an i instead of an e, like the discharge from a refrigerator? I’m not sure where to begin with so many different ways to spell words.
I don’t know about you, but these modern conveniences make me feel a little bi-polar! I’m unsure if I should embrace them or return to the old ways. What do you think?
Overly Friendly Strangers
Yes, Americans are friendly, but sometimes you just want to buy your milk peacefully. Must you have a stranger come up to you and start talking to you like an old friend?
They may not be exactly sure who you are, but they act as if they know all about your life. It’s hard to tell whether their intentions are good or bad, which can be quite unnerving.
The Pledge of Allegiance
An everyday school routine that feels strangely cult-like. What an exciting way to start off the day. While most people recite it without question, some ask why we must swear such loyalty for our country to accept us as citizens. I don’t see why we must be so rigid and formulaic with expressing our patriotism.
Sprawling landscapes of repetitive houses, as far as the eye can see. Homes line up in rows, each with its small plot of land. No wonder so many people feel like they’re living in a box, unable to break.
You need a car to get anywhere. Walking seems to be a forgotten concept. Do you know? According to a recent report by INRIX, Inc., the average American spends approximately 100 hours on the road each year! Unsurprisingly, major metropolitan areas like Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia take the cake for the most hours lost to pesky traffic jams. But wait, South Carolina isn’t off the hook either!
Not only does this create an unpleasant experience for drivers, but it also has severe environmental impacts. We need to start rethinking our transportation infrastructure and transition away from cars and towards more sustainable forms of transport.
The ‘American Dream’
The constant pressure to be bigger, better, and more successful. It’s exhausting. The concept of the “American Dream” was brought into the spotlight by James Truslow Adams in 1931. He passionately described it as a vision where life becomes better, richer, and fuller for all individuals, offering opportunities based on ability and achievement, regardless of social class or circumstances of birth. It’s a timeless idea that continues to captivate hearts and minds today.
It’s a part of our national identity and is often considered ideal for all Americans to strive for. However, we must redefine this notion to create a more sustainable future.
But despite all this, there’s something oddly endearing about America. It has its quirks, but maybe that’s what makes it unique. Thanks for reading!
15 Reasons Most Immigrants Would Not Migrate to the U.S., Even If Offered the Opportunity for Free
According to new estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, just over 46 million immigrants are in the U.S. Let’s face it: the U.S. is known as the land of opportunity. But it’s also the land of super-sized portions, monster trucks, and alarming reality TV shows.
13 Things That Creep Me Out About America as an African Immigrant
As an African immigrant, arriving in America has been an experience filled with fascination, discovery, and moments of culture shock. The United States, often called the land of opportunity, has a diverse cultural palette, progressive ideologies, and unique societal norms.
15 Reasons Why Most Americans Prefer Trucks to Cars
Let’s talk about an American love affair that’s endured longer than most Hollywood marriages – our undying passion for trucks! Yes, you heard it right. We’re wild about these big boys on wheels, and it’s not just about the extra elbow room or the feeling of invincibility they grant us on the road.
25 Things to Never Do in the United States
So you’ve decided to visit the good ol’ United States of America, the land of the free, home of the brave, and the birthplace of the hamburger. Excellent choice! While we’re known for our warm smiles and inviting spirit, a few things might raise our eyebrows or even grind our gears. Here are 25 things you should never do while you’re in the U.S.
15 Things People Should Shut Up About Unless They’ve Been Through Them
Let’s face it, folks: We live in a world where everyone has an opinion about everything. Freedom of speech is as delicious as your grandma’s secret apple pie recipe. Still, when it comes to specific experiences, unless you’ve walked a mile in those shoes—or stilettos, combat boots, or barefoot over a bed of hot coals—you should zip it.