Thursday, February 12, 2015

Typical American things

Hi everyone,
In this post I want to tell you about some typical American things that are usually a lot different in Europe and the Netherlands. For the Americans this are just normal everyday things, but for me (and other exchange students) they are really special. I can't wait to experience all these things when I'll be living in the USA. I've only been to the USA once, so correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this are the most important things:

 1. The Food
I think the food in the States is something you can't compare to other countries. The food portions are often quite big and the food is not always really healthy. But there's also much delicious food, like the hamburgers, pancakes and bagels. America does have some really weird food like peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and corn dog. Americans generally like bacon very much, so why won't you use bacon toothpaste? To be honest, I can't wait to try all this weird and amazing food. But maybe just not the toothpaste.

2. The Friendliness
I'm not saying here that Europeans aren't friendly, but Americans are known for their hospitality and friendliness. They are helpful and open to people that they don't know well. They talk more often to strangers and are really good at 'small talk': just talking about topics like the weather. Actually, in the Netherlands we are also very good at talking about the weather, I really don't know why we are so obsessed with it.

3. The country is so big
I think the picture says enough. If you compare the USA to the Netherlands there's a huge difference. I can drive to the other side of my country in four hours. In America that will be around four days. You can't just see the country in one trip, because everything is really far apart. There are also many differences in nature. There's desert, forest, mountains... It's the only country in the world that has all six climate zones: from a polar climate in Alaska to a tropical climate in Hawaii and Florida. I don't have my placement yet so I don't know where I'm going to live: it's really exciting that it can be anywhere in the country.

3b. They are driving anywhere
If I hear something about a road trip, I immediately think about the USA. Americans are willing to drive for a long time to see their family, or just to visit nice places.

4. They don't have a metric system
There are only three countries in the world not using a metric system: the USA, Liberia and Myanmar. Instead they use the Imperial System, with miles, feet, yards and inches. I think I'll really have to get used to this. Also, temperatures are given in Fahrenheit instead of degrees. The freezing point of water is 32 ºF instead of 0 ºC, so all temperatures are higher.

5. Huge supermarkets like Walmart
If you compare the supermarkets in the USA to the supermarkets in the Netherlands, they are much bigger. And you can buy (almost) everything you want there. I even read that you can buy guns in the supermarkt. I don't know if this is true, but it's a fact that there are many things you can buy in American supermarkets!

6. All the circumstances around prom
At my school, there are just a school dance and gala every year. Often I don't even go there, because I think it's more something for the younger grades. Maybe it's different at other schools, but we definitely don't have something like prom where a boy has to ask a girl to go there, you have to wear a long dress and go on pictures together. It seems really nice to me though, I'm glad I get to experience it next year. School spirit is also a big thing in the USA, like supporting your school during sport games. 

What are typical American things for you?