Etiquette Hell

A Civil World. Off-topic discussions on a variety of topics. Guests, register for forum membership to see all the boards. => Trans-Atlantic Knowledge Exchange => Topic started by: Two Ravens on November 15, 2013, 10:52:53 AM

Title: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Two Ravens on November 15, 2013, 10:52:53 AM
I think this board is the best place for this. A very interesting article on things people could not believe about America (& Canada). I wonder if any other posters have opinions or something to add.

http://thoughtcatalog.com/michael-koh/2013/11/16-people-on-things-they-couldnt-believe-about-america-until-they-moved-here/#QVCi2tDAywsOrL2r.01

The one that struck home for me was:
Quote
I wasn’t from Chicago, New York, or Hollywood. Or Sacramento. That’s all there is in America, according to movies/I-dont-know-what.

When I was abroad, someone I met told me they had a cousin living in Chicago, and seemed bewildered when I said I'd never been there.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: mumma to KMC on November 15, 2013, 11:12:55 AM
Years ago, my dh did a project in Paris and met a great group of people while working on it. One of the people from the project was coming to the States (NYC) and wanted to get together. Well, we lived in Ohio at the time and told him he'd either have to rent a car or catch a flight. He was pretty sure he could catch a train and make it to our house. We tried to explain it to him, but he just didn't quite get it...until he got to the States and saw how trains work here. :)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: GlitterIsMyDrug on November 15, 2013, 12:03:43 PM
I think this is just the most intreasting thing to read! I worked in a hotel for a few years and my favorite thing was talking to people from other coutries about how different the US is. I remember once I was driving two men to dinner in our shuttle and they noted a cross and some flowers on the side of the road and asked what it was for. I explained that when someone dies in a traffic accident there are often memorials by the sides of the road, I still remember one of them saying "And that's allowed? It's not against the law to display a cross?", I said no not at all and that generally the memorials are left alone. They told me in their country it would be illegal to to display a religious symbol in such a public place.

One of my friends from China, she was surprised when she met me that I was in my early 20s, unmarried, and lived completely on my own. She just couldn't fathom it (why was I not living at home?), she even asked once if my father was ok with this. When I told her that I didn't know my father and he'd never been involved in my life, well I've never seen someone's eyes get so big! She told me, point blank, that would never go over in her culture. My father would've married my mother, no questions asked. He would've provided for us. She even said "Where was his father? Or your mothers? To make sure he did the right thing?", at which point I decided explaining my family to her was going to require a lot of time. She finally got it but it still baffles her, how a man could just leave a girl her got pregnant. Her exact words one night "Not much of a man", I agreed completely. I've actually had a lot of friends from other cultures who can't fathom a man just not being there when he has a child. They can't understand how this allowed. If you get a girl pregnant, you marry her, her support her and the child, you make a family. End of discussion.

I love reading everyone's reactions to our country. I loved how they talk about how nice and smooth our traffic is! That's like, our number one complaint. Teaches you to be greatful.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: menley on November 15, 2013, 12:11:00 PM
I'm an American living in Europe and it's always fascinating to be having an ordinary conversation with my European friends and to find that something in my life that is very typical is unusual or unheard of to them. I can't really think of a good example offhand but I think the one that comes up the most often is that my husband has a concealed carry handgun license and has firearms, but he's not either a police officer or a Mafia criminal ;) They are truly baffled that an ordinary person who is not a criminal has firearms.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: GlitterIsMyDrug on November 15, 2013, 12:14:35 PM
Quote
The credit system in America will create a numerical value (credit score) to asses everyone’s financial fitness. No one know how the score is calculated but you need that to get a loan… or two… or three… and beyond.
However, in order to get a credit score, you need to get a loan e.g car financing. In order to get a loan… well… you need a credit score (notice the circular reference). Your credit score can also be created by using credit card. You just need a credit score to apply for a credit card.

This made me laugh. As someone born and raised in the US...I feel the exact same way.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: MummySweet on November 15, 2013, 12:36:02 PM
When I lived overseas I was always surprised at how many people thought all of the US must be like Florida or Texas.   I am originally from Minnesota and was asked more than once if I usually wore cowboy boots at home.   Minneapolis...not so much unless you're going to a country western bar.   :)

When we moved from the UK to Alabama, people couldn't wrap their head around the fact that the entire UK and the single state of Alabama have nearly the same land mass in Sq. miles.

In reading the link I am left with both pride that so many of the points were very positive, and sadness that we don't use our resources more responsibly. 

Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Lynn2000 on November 15, 2013, 12:46:16 PM
What a fascinating article. Some things I'm not surprised about, like how big the US is (I get that a lot from my co-workers from other countries), how big the food portions are, how necessary cars are, how big the houses are, moving away from/not living with family. The part about America consisting of only a few major cities was kind of funny... I tend to think that even people in America, at least in the media, seem to believe this as well!

I was surprised that several people said they found it unusual to build a house out of wood--someone from I think Germany said that there, you only build a wooden house if you're poor or making an environmental statement. What other material do people use? Steel and concrete would be typical here for, say, a skyscraper, but do people use that for ordinary homes in other areas? Another person made the point that sound travels through wooden houses, which is a peeve of mine, so I want to know how I can build a house that's quieter! :)

I was also surprised at other people's surprise about religion being more prominent in America than they were expecting. I suppose it depends on what kind of country they're from, and if their expectation of America as being more secular was positive or negative to them. I couldn't tell from a lot of the comments which angle they were coming from. For some reason I have it in my head that a lot of countries are more religious than America is--kind of the "Old World conservative traditional" stereotype. I've worked with people who originated in a lot of other countries (South Korea, India, Bangladesh for example) and they generally strike me as being more religious (for example, attending religious services regularly) and holding views that in America would be called traditional/conservative (for example, that women should not travel alone but only with their husbands, which of course they have). I kind of got the sense that many of these people found America alarmingly liberal and secular.

Another thing that I've heard from non-US natives is their amazement about the gun culture. Interestingly, in this article one person was surprised that they weren't always being shot at (so, fewer guns than they were expecting), and others said there were more guns than they'd expected. My co-worker from South Korea is quite shocked that I have cousins who enjoy recreational hunting with guns and other weapons. And at the number of criminals who use guns--a few months ago there was a report in town of something being swiped from someone as they sat outside, and the person who ran off with it had a gun. My South Korean friend said that in his country, a group of people would probably have started chasing the thief, who would not have had a gun. But of course here that would be very odd, and quite likely dangerous. His mind has also been boggled by the history of slavery in this country.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: MrsJWine on November 15, 2013, 01:09:10 PM
I thought this was really interesting, too. It's nice to see that many of them realized that yes, in most place in the US, it is necessary to drive nearly everywhere. We're not just lazy.

I loved that almost every single one cited the large portions. That's something I love about going out to eat. I get a huge plate of food that I didn't have to make and that tastes delicious. I take 2/3 of it home and get to eat two more delicious meals that I didn't have to make. You're not required to eat the whole thing right there in the restaurant.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: magicdomino on November 15, 2013, 01:22:28 PM
You're not required to eat the whole thing right there in the restaurant.

That's another thing that boggled a brain or two, that you can get part of your meal wrapped to go home with you.  On the other hand, my brain is slightly boggled that other countries don't do that.  Sure, the portions are much smaller, but what if you aren't feeling well or the appetizer was more filling than you expected?
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: nutraxfornerves on November 15, 2013, 02:05:40 PM
Wooden houses--in many countries the common material for building houses is concrete blocks. Older houses might be stone or brick.

I've mentioned that I hang out on a travel board. I'd say that the biggest surprises for visitors and potential visitors have to do with transport. People are very surprised that there are so many famous places that you can't get to by without a car or a tour. Yellowstone, Death Valley, Big Sur, for instance. People are also surprised to discover that there is only one passenger train company and one major long-distance bus company.

Car buying. Australians seem to be the most surprised at how hard it can be to buy a car. In the US, laws are set by the individual states, but Registration includes some insurance. So, in Australia there is a traveler's market in used cars. You just buy one from someone who is finishing a trip, take care of minor paperwork and you are on your way. In the US, each time a car changes hands, it must be registered anew. You have to produce an address in the state where you want to register it. Some states require you to prove you live there, say, with an electric bill in your name. Some states have ID requirements that are impossible for most non-residents to fulfill. Then there's having to get the mandatory insurance.

Camping. In the US, camping is seen as a way to experience nature, so most campgrounds are out in the wilderness. In many countries, camping is an inexpensive lodging alternative. Campgrounds are located in or near cities, with convenient public transit. They may have cafes, laundries & other amenities. People are surprised that they cannot visit a large city, stay in a campground, and use transit to get around.

People are also surprised to find that it is hard ot find campervans for rent, as opposed to larger RVs, and that a rental car + a cheap motel may be less expensive.

In many countries, "Wild" or "free" camping is allowed or at least tolerated. That's were you pull over at a likely spot at the side of the road & set up for the night. As long as you are respectful and quiet, you are probably OK. In the US, you may just meet a police officer or an angry landowner. So, people are surprised that they can't save money by renting that campervan and doing wild camping.

Distances, yes. We once had someone planning to drive from Chicago to the Grand Canyon in one day.

That American B&Bs are usually luxury lodging, often in restored old homes furnished with antiques. Not some rooms with shared bath in a home or small hotel, often described as "cheap and cheerful."

Edited to add: a visitor from Brazil wondered if the high number of wooden buildings was the reason there were so many fires. Every day in Los Angeles, he saw fire trucks racing somewhere. He was surprised to find that the Fire Dept responded to everything--fires, medical emergencies, traffic accidents, hazardous waste spills… (My local FD recently released a report showing that something like 80% of calls were medical.)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Ticia on November 15, 2013, 03:23:40 PM
This topic has the potential to get very political. Please keep the controversial stuff (such as gun control) off of this forum. However, all is not lost! We invite serious and thoughtful political discussion over on http://www.civilizedpolitics.com

We'd love to hear your thought on gun control or other political issues over there. Thanks so much!
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: CakeEater on November 15, 2013, 03:36:06 PM
You're not required to eat the whole thing right there in the restaurant.

That's another thing that boggled a brain or two, that you can get part of your meal wrapped to go home with you.  On the other hand, my brain is slightly boggled that other countries don't do that.  Sure, the portions are much smaller, but what if you aren't feeling well or the appetizer was more filling than you expected?

Part of the issue in Australia with this is that eating establishments are worried about people not storing the food properly, getting food poisoning and suing the restaurant. It just doesn't happen here. You eat what you can, and leave the rest on your plate.

I haven't been to the US, but things that have surprised me from reading here are just how small things are different that you don't see on TV.

Coupons - they're not nearly as prevalent here. You can't spend time clipping coupons and save money on your weekly shop.

Holidays - everything is a celebration there, it seems. Valentine's Day, Halloween, and other holidays exist here, but they're just not as big a deal, and not as widely celebrated by everyone.

Banking - I find it amazing that the banking systen there is so complicated.

Pyjamas - (Contoversial here, I know) People on this site insisting that it's OK to walk around in public, attend university lectures etc in pyjamas. I have never in my life seen anyone walking around in public in their pyjamas, and certainly never at something like a university lecture, or on an aeroplane.

And one from TV:
Kids speaking confidently - I'm always amazed at how confident children being interviewed in the US are. They speak like they're assured that they have something important to say and that everyone should be listening.



Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: GlitterIsMyDrug on November 15, 2013, 03:41:42 PM
Holidays - everything is a celebration there, it seems. Valentine's Day, Halloween, and other holidays exist here, but they're just not as big a deal, and not as widely celebrated by everyone.

The last time Partner and I went to church and the pastor was talking about celebrations and said "I know we love to celebrate here, but I'm from Trinidad, and if you wanna talk celebrations, we have celebrations to prepare for the celebration and afterwards, we celebrate that we celebrated!", so I ran this by one of my friends who isn't from Trinidad but has family who is and she confirmed that yes. If people think the US do it big, they need to see how they do it!
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Peppergirl on November 16, 2013, 01:03:05 AM

Pyjamas - (Contoversial here, I know) People on this site insisting that it's OK to walk around in public, attend university lectures etc in pyjamas. I have never in my life seen anyone walking around in public in their pyjamas, and certainly never at something like a university lecture, or on an aeroplane.


Oh dear, no.  Many, or dare I say *most* of us find it appalling that people wear pajamas in public quite often here.

This is one topic I've railed against, yet several of my friends and acquaintances think it's absolutely fine.

Mind boggling!
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: marcel on November 16, 2013, 01:46:18 AM
I was surprised that several people said they found it unusual to build a house out of wood--someone from I think Germany said that there, you only build a wooden house if you're poor or making an environmental statement. What other material do people use? Steel and concrete would be typical here for, say, a skyscraper, but do people use that for ordinary homes in other areas? Another person made the point that sound travels through wooden houses, which is a peeve of mine, so I want to know how I can build a house that's quieter! :)
concrete or bricks are the most common building materials here. (Off course, here we have loads of sand and canals everywhere to easily transport sand by ship.)

Off course, with these materials houses tend to last much longer. I once read here about people thinking that a 20 year old house is getting old (for maintenance etc.) I just bought an 18 year old house, so it is still relatively new and in great condition, only the interior needed a cosmetic fix-up and the wooden window- and doorframes were badly maintained. People live in 400 year old houses here that are still in good condition (though they have often been completely upgraded on the interior to make them suitable for modern standards.)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Katana_Geldar on November 16, 2013, 02:00:46 AM
I've lived in a house with wooden window frames, when the wind would blow the entire house sounded like it was going to shake itself apart. Most houses here are brick, but we do have wooden houses like Queenslanders.

Can someone explain why no one carries cash? Or why fruit and vegetables are more expensive?

Credit cards and EFTPOS is used here, but some places don't face them and you need cash. And fruits and vegetables are usually good value here...within season. There was one year storms took out a lot of banana crops and prices went sky high.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Peppergirl on November 16, 2013, 04:33:06 AM
^^  No idea on the fruits/veggies thing, but on the no-cash thing - I'm guilty of that.

Even in rural areas (I just moved to central Florida) it's *rare* for a place not to take credit or debit, so I generally don't carry more than 2 or 3 dollars on me at any given time.  It helps me control my spending a bit.  I find that I spend more when I carry and pay for things with cash.

Even the local fruit stand (under a tent) takes credit/debit cards.  ;D  It really is widespread over here.  I tend to think that if a lot of places didn't take it, people would carry more cash.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Katana_Geldar on November 16, 2013, 04:37:32 AM
A lot of places here don't take cards for small purchases. To $10 or $20. They say it's because of bank fees.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: menley on November 16, 2013, 04:57:06 AM
<snip>

Can someone explain why no one carries cash? Or why fruit and vegetables are more expensive?

Credit cards and EFTPOS is used here, but some places don't face them and you need cash. And fruits and vegetables are usually good value here...within season. There was one year storms took out a lot of banana crops and prices went sky high.

Cash is just rarely needed - even small vendors take card. I actually kept track once because a European friend asked me about it. I went over a year without needing cash for anything.

With regard to fruit and vegetables, it's because so many are imported so that we can have the same ones year-round. Unless you shop at a farmer's market, there's not an emphasis on seasonal fruits and vegetables. It's actually one of the biggest adjustments I've had to moving to Europe. In the US I could get strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries all year round (albeit at slightly higher prices… but we're talking $5 versus $2). Here in central Europe, there's a brief window of the summer where I can get them, unless I go to one of the expat imported goods stores where I can buy them for like $20 per kilo ;)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Katana_Geldar on November 16, 2013, 05:17:12 AM
Here many fruits are snap frozen so we can have them year round, but there are exceptions like cherries and mangoes. And yes, they are pricier at certain times of the year as well.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: camlan on November 16, 2013, 07:25:15 AM
I was surprised that several people said they found it unusual to build a house out of wood--someone from I think Germany said that there, you only build a wooden house if you're poor or making an environmental statement. What other material do people use? Steel and concrete would be typical here for, say, a skyscraper, but do people use that for ordinary homes in other areas? Another person made the point that sound travels through wooden houses, which is a peeve of mine, so I want to know how I can build a house that's quieter! :)
concrete or bricks are the most common building materials here. (Off course, here we have loads of sand and canals everywhere to easily transport sand by ship.)

Off course, with these materials houses tend to last much longer. I once read here about people thinking that a 20 year old house is getting old (for maintenance etc.) I just bought an 18 year old house, so it is still relatively new and in great condition, only the interior needed a cosmetic fix-up and the wooden window- and doorframes were badly maintained. People live in 400 year old houses here that are still in good condition (though they have often been completely upgraded on the interior to make them suitable for modern standards.)

About older houses--a lot depends on where you live and what your personal feelings about older houses are.

On the east coast, you can still find a few houses, built of wood mostly, that were built in the 1600's. Some of these are still lived in, but many have been turned into museums. The Paul Revere house in Boston is an example. There's a house in my town that was built in 1875-ish, that is part of the local historical museum.

Four hundred years for any building in the US is going to be a stretch--there simply weren't that many non-Native Americans here at that time to be building a typical European style house. (You can still see the remains of some pretty incredible adobe dwellings built by Native Americans in the southeast, though.)

In general, along the east coast, in the older cities and towns, there are plenty of houses that are 100-150 years old. Most are of wood, but in the cities, you'll find row houses of brick or stone. Think of the New York City brownstones, which appeared sometime after 1830.

My city, which has been around in one form or another since the 1650s (which is old for the US), as a lot of housing stock that is over 100 years old, which is old for us. My house was built in 1900.

There are problems in dealing with an older house--money has to be spent upgrading the plumbing, the electrical system, the heating system. More repairs have to be done on the roof, the windows, that sort of thing.

The fact is, a lot of newer houses (but not all) aren't as well constructed as the older homes. And if they aren't maintained well, they do show signs of age within 20-50 years.

Those of us who like older houses like the solid plaster walls that reduce the amount of noise that travels from room to room, the details that newer homes sometimes lack, such as nice wood trim around doors and windows, the craftsmanship that went into the older buildings.

But in many places in the US, even on the east coast, there simply aren't very many older buildings. You really have little choice but to buy a newer home. And hope that the builder did a good job on it.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: kherbert05 on November 16, 2013, 08:53:26 AM
I've lived in a house with wooden window frames, when the wind would blow the entire house sounded like it was going to shake itself apart. Most houses here are brick, but we do have wooden houses like Queenslanders.

Can someone explain why no one carries cash? Or why fruit and vegetables are more expensive?

Credit cards and EFTPOS is used here, but some places don't face them and you need cash. And fruits and vegetables are usually good value here...within season. There was one year storms took out a lot of banana crops and prices went sky high.
Key words within season. Most fruit and vegetables are available year around here.


The no one carries cash isn't true. I get out my budget for the week each Saturday. Helps me stay in budget.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: perpetua on November 16, 2013, 09:35:03 AM
You're not required to eat the whole thing right there in the restaurant.

That's another thing that boggled a brain or two, that you can get part of your meal wrapped to go home with you.  On the other hand, my brain is slightly boggled that other countries don't do that.  Sure, the portions are much smaller, but what if you aren't feeling well or the appetizer was more filling than you expected?

You can here in the UK, depending on what kind of restaurant it is, I think. If I go to my local Indian or Chinese I have no problems asking for leftovers to be boxed up to take home.

Admittedly I've never been to the States so my sole knowledge of eating out comes from TV and I'm sure it's all embellished for the purposes of entertainment, but I watch programmes about US restaurants with a mixture of fascination and horror. The portions are just *so* gluttonously huge, and there never seems to be any fresh veg - all meat and carbs. I remember when Jamie Oliver did his programme over there he said it was cheaper for low income families to eat junk in fast food places 7 nights a week than it is to buy food to cook at home and I found that a bit staggering.

On the subject of house building materials - and again obviously my knowledge comes from news reports on TV - I never understood why houses in tornado areas always seem to be built of wood. Doesn't that make them more likely to blow down? Or is the thought pattern 'it's going to blow down anyway, may as well build it out of something cheaper to rebuild than brick' ?
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: 123sandy on November 16, 2013, 09:43:46 AM
Absolutely the enormous food portions! Shortly after arriving in Georgia we went out for a quick bite, I wasn't very hungry so just ordered a ham sandwich. What arrived at the table was at least three inches thick, with a mound of crisps (way more than a standard sized bag in the UK) and a pickle spear leaking juice into it all. I promptly lost my appetite.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: perpetua on November 16, 2013, 09:54:49 AM
Absolutely the enormous food portions! Shortly after arriving in Georgia we went out for a quick bite, I wasn't very hungry so just ordered a ham sandwich. What arrived at the table was at least three inches thick, with a mound of crisps (way more than a standard sized bag in the UK) and a pickle spear leaking juice into it all. I promptly lost my appetite.

I'm not surprised - that sounds horrible!
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Thipu1 on November 16, 2013, 10:04:55 AM
Our neighborhood has a number of small wooden houses that date from around 1820.  At the time they were built, wood was the building material of choice.  It was readily available as trees were being cleared for grazing land. Only the really wealthy had houses made of stone or brick. Many of these small wooden houses are quite stylish.     

Later in the century, the balloon frame made houses of considerable size available to people of quite modest means.  It was even possible to buy house 'kits' from catalogue merchants such as Mongomery Ward or Sears & Roebuck. 

When we visit Family in the upper Midwest, frame houses are the norm. 

Until I read this thread, I never considered that wooden houses would be considered odd.     

That's one of the things I love about E-Hell.  There are always new ideas and points of view to consider. 
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: sparksals on November 16, 2013, 10:12:23 AM
What a fascinating article. Some things I'm not surprised about, like how big the US is (I get that a lot from my co-workers from other countries), how big the food portions are, how necessary cars are, how big the houses are, moving away from/not living with family. The part about America consisting of only a few major cities was kind of funny... I tend to think that even people in America, at least in the media, seem to believe this as well!

I was surprised that several people said they found it unusual to build a house out of wood--someone from I think Germany said that there, you only build a wooden house if you're poor or making an environmental statement. What other material do people use? Steel and concrete would be typical here for, say, a skyscraper, but do people use that for ordinary homes in other areas? Another person made the point that sound travels through wooden houses, which is a peeve of mine, so I want to know how I can build a house that's quieter! :)

I was also surprised at other people's surprise about religion being more prominent in America than they were expecting. I suppose it depends on what kind of country they're from, and if their expectation of America as being more secular was positive or negative to them. I couldn't tell from a lot of the comments which angle they were coming from. For some reason I have it in my head that a lot of countries are more religious than America is--kind of the "Old World conservative traditional" stereotype. I've worked with people who originated in a lot of other countries (South Korea, India, Bangladesh for example) and they generally strike me as being more religious (for example, attending religious services regularly) and holding views that in America would be called traditional/conservative (for example, that women should not travel alone but only with their husbands, which of course they have). I kind of got the sense that many of these people found America alarmingly liberal and secular.

Another thing that I've heard from non-US natives is their amazement about the gun culture. Interestingly, in this article one person was surprised that they weren't always being shot at (so, fewer guns than they were expecting), and others said there were more guns than they'd expected. My co-worker from South Korea is quite shocked that I have cousins who enjoy recreational hunting with guns and other weapons. And at the number of criminals who use guns--a few months ago there was a report in town of something being swiped from someone as they sat outside, and the person who ran off with it had a gun. My South Korean friend said that in his country, a group of people would probably have started chasing the thief, who would not have had a gun. But of course here that would be very odd, and quite likely dangerous. His mind has also been boggled by the history of slavery in this country.


If you think the US is big, check out Canada, which is the 2nd largest country in the world in land mass.  It is very easy to drive across a State or two in the US in one day, but it can take days to drive N/S in a province.   


I was also VERY surprised that the US can be so conservative and have strong religious views.  Coming from Canada, which is very diverse, but still very secular - religion is more private.  I am always surprised by the number of churches here.  We were driving through KY a few years ago and there were churches everywhere, but it was very rural.... I dont' know where the people were coming from for all these churches.


My town in MN has about 10 churches within a few miles. 
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: #borecore on November 16, 2013, 10:26:37 AM
The fruit more expensive than meat thing is just objectively untrue. I mean, if you want imported starfruit vs. frozen  ground turkey, sure it'll be more expensive, just as Kobe beef will be much more expensive than in-season local apples. But I posted a link recently on a thread where someone mentioned a vegetarian diet being more expensive than a meat-eating diet that showed the unit prices of various staples nationwide and almost all vegetables and fruits were cheaper per pound than meats.

I can find fresh or frozen produce year-round in any regular grocer. The quality of fresh goes down in the winter (and prices rise), but that's just the way agriculture works.

My friends from other (European) countries are surprised by how noisy we are on public transit, which is interesting. It bugs me, but I don't know any different. :)

They are also annoyed by how captivated we are by their accents. Even when they're perfectly understandable, people will gawk. (Case in point, a guy whose parents are Chinese but who grew up in a posh British setting and has the accent to go with it--some people don't "get" that there are immigrants in other countries, or something. He says people have told him to his face that he "sounds weird.")

Funny that someone mentioned the Paul Revere house. I was just there and it's in great condition ... because it has been completely restored in recent years. I'm not sure there's much left from the original construction! It is still a neat place to visit because of the replication of old techniques. I'd love to go to other countries where things older than 300 years aren't as rare.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: hyzenthlay on November 16, 2013, 10:49:49 AM
On the subject of house building materials - and again obviously my knowledge comes from news reports on TV - I never understood why houses in tornado areas always seem to be built of wood. Doesn't that make them more likely to blow down? Or is the thought pattern 'it's going to blow down anyway, may as well build it out of something cheaper to rebuild than brick' ?


Well the quick and easy answer is that concrete walls don't do much good when the tornado rips off the roof.

But most people just don't get how destructive 'just wind' can be. An F5 has winds of up to 250 miles per hours. Take a car, throw it at a building at 250 miles per hour, see if the building holds up. Now try and price that at a level suitable for family homes . . .

Even an in home shelter runs $4,000 or more. Doing a whole home that way won't happen any time soon.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: MommyPenguin on November 16, 2013, 11:08:06 AM
I find that fruits and vegetables are a hugely expensive part of our grocery bill.  Meat, however, is pretty expensive, too.  Chicken is similar in price per pound to some fruits, depending on the season, but just about any other meat is more expensive pound for pound.  However, we also don't eat as much meat as we do fruit.  I tend to mostly buy inexpensive, in-season fruit, but we still spend more on it than meat.  Frozen vegetables are relatively cheap, and we tend to eat more of them than fresh.  But for fruit, fresh fruit just isn't the same as frozen (more crisp and crunchy, less mushy).  Bananas, thank goodness, are one of the cheapest fruits.  I say thank goodness, because we probably go through at least 6 a day.  The first things we run out of between grocery trips are milk and bananas.

With old houses, we visited Mount Vernon recently.  My understanding is that Mount Vernon was in pretty poor repair, and had become more than the landowner (descendant of Washington) could afford to maintain, so it was falling apart.  He sold it, and a women's society (Ladies of Mount Vernon, something like that?) bought it and restored it.  I'm sure some of it has been pretty much replaced, but as much of it was preserved as possible.  It's an absolutely lovely home and property, and gives a great view of life at the time.

I wouldn't say that a 20-year-old house was old, or even a 50-year-old house, if reasonably well-maintained.  We own a house from Victorian times.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Luci on November 16, 2013, 11:14:03 AM
Midwest US here with knowledge of the southern coast: Every house I know of except one has a wood frame. Some multifamily buildings are concrete block, but even brick is just brick siding on a wooden frame. For a few years there was a trend for steel frame but that was found to be very impractical because beams that small react to temperature changes so drastically even in a temperature controlled building. Wood is much more stable.

I've noticed hotels being built. One or two stories are nearly always wood frame.

Most of my friends and family carry enough cash for small purchases. I for one will not use a credit card for purchases under $20.

The US is so diverse! The only thing I found that is everywhere is that restaurant food portions are huge. It's fine with me. I just carry out the leftovers and have lunch the next day.

Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Twik on November 16, 2013, 11:39:40 AM

Pyjamas - (Contoversial here, I know) People on this site insisting that it's OK to walk around in public, attend university lectures etc in pyjamas. I have never in my life seen anyone walking around in public in their pyjamas, and certainly never at something like a university lecture, or on an aeroplane.


Oh dear, no.  Many, or dare I say *most* of us find it appalling that people wear pajamas in public quite often here.

This is one topic I've railed against, yet several of my friends and acquaintances think it's absolutely fine.

Mind boggling!

I've seen it, and it's not pretty.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: RingTailedLemur on November 16, 2013, 12:15:43 PM
I can't imagine living in a wooden house.  Doesn't it get cold?
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: sparksals on November 16, 2013, 12:18:52 PM
I can't imagine living in a wooden house.  Doesn't it get cold?


They are filled with Insulation.  We also have furnaces in winter and some have AC in summer.
Title: .
Post by: Judah on November 16, 2013, 12:38:16 PM
I can't imagine living in a wooden house.  Doesn't it get cold?

They aren't just wood. It's usually an outer layer of siding or stucco, followed by a layer of tar paper, followed by the wood frame, then the insulation, followed by a vapor barrier, followed by drywall. My 50-year-old wood frame house is actually pretty warm in the winter. And in the summer, the shade trees keep it nice and cool.  Of course, it helps that we have a furnace and central air too.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: jedikaiti on November 16, 2013, 01:10:22 PM
I almost never carry cash. Cash is easy to lose, and easy to spend with little to show for it. I rarely go anywhere that I can't use plastic, which can be replaced if lost, spending is easier to track, and offers me rewards points for buying the stuff I was going to buy anyway.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Wordgeek on November 16, 2013, 01:16:23 PM
When I was in Queensland, I was amazed by the wood houses.  On *stilts*, no less.  I had never seen a house with legs before.  An American friend told me some places in the southern US also have houses with legs.

Canadian houses mostly come with basements, because of the cold.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Katana_Geldar on November 16, 2013, 01:39:55 PM
Ah yes, the Queenslander. Basements are rare here, we have an 'under the house' instead.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: camlan on November 16, 2013, 01:46:14 PM
On the subject of house building materials - and again obviously my knowledge comes from news reports on TV - I never understood why houses in tornado areas always seem to be built of wood. Doesn't that make them more likely to blow down? Or is the thought pattern 'it's going to blow down anyway, may as well build it out of something cheaper to rebuild than brick' ?


Well the quick and easy answer is that concrete walls don't do much good when the tornado rips off the roof.

But most people just don't get how destructive 'just wind' can be. An F5 has winds of up to 250 miles per hours. Take a car, throw it at a building at 250 miles per hour, see if the building holds up. Now try and price that at a level suitable for family homes . . .

Even an in home shelter runs $4,000 or more. Doing a whole home that way won't happen any time soon.

We have a lot of wood here, and it is relatively easy and inexpensive to harvest. Bricks are more expensive to make, and stone is more expensive to quarry. Homes made out of stone or brick or even just a brick facade, are just more expensive.

We do have brick and stone houses, and in some areas of the country, they are much more common and popular. But people tend to build with the materials that are to hand, and for much of the US, that has meant wood houses.

Most houses do have a concrete foundation, even if the framework is wood. Older houses will have stone foundations. Even houses with no basement will have a concrete slab for the foundation.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: camlan on November 16, 2013, 01:58:11 PM
If you think the US is big, check out Canada, which is the 2nd largest country in the world in land mass.  It is very easy to drive across a State or two in the US in one day, but it can take days to drive N/S in a province.   


I was also VERY surprised that the US can be so conservative and have strong religious views.  Coming from Canada, which is very diverse, but still very secular - religion is more private.  I am always surprised by the number of churches here.  We were driving through KY a few years ago and there were churches everywhere, but it was very rural.... I dont' know where the people were coming from for all these churches.


My town in MN has about 10 churches within a few miles.

On the east coast, where the states are much smaller than on the west coast, I can drive from Maine through New Hampshire, then through Massachusetts and Rhode Island and into Connecticut in less than 5 hours.

In Texas, that amount of time might take you to the next city.

As for the churches, don't forget that a good number of the early settlers from Europe came here for religious reasons. The country has a long history of religion affecting the laws, population movement, and popular culture. Stands to reason that religion is very important in many areas of the country.

As for all the churches--many of these small churches have correspondingly small congregations.

One small city I lived in had two Catholic churches, kitty-corner across the street from each other. One was founded by Irish immigrants, the other by Ukrainian immigrants. The small city I live in now once had two Catholic churches, the one founded by Irish immigrants and the one founded by the French Canadian workers who came down to work in the mills. Since at the time all Masses were conducted in Latin, it wasn't just a language barrier that prompted them to form separate churches--I suspect the churches were a stabilizing social force and helped to create community, as well as a place where you could meet people who shared your cultural background.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: nutraxfornerves on November 16, 2013, 02:05:43 PM
Where I live, it used to flood a lot. So, houses were built with what was called a "flood basement," a first story designed so a flood wouldn't hurt  it. The  part you live in was about 6-10 ft (2-3meters) above the ground. Most flood basements have now been converted to living areas, often an apartment for rent.

(http://thumbs.trulia-cdn.com/pictures/thumbs_3/ps.57/1/b/b/8/picture-uh=546445442b5fad7460a7144eded9744-ps=1bb87e179531ba7738927ef413459639.jpg)

The houses were wood because wood was plentiful and the right kind of clay for brickmaking was not. Wood construction also makes it easier to upgrade or remodel a house. Tearing down a concrete wall so you can add on a bathroom is not my idea of fun.

Wood generally is better if you live in earthquake country--although there are lots of conditions & caveats to that. Since wood is flexible, it can withstand some of the force better. If a wood building does collapse, it's ore likely there will be pockets where people can survive. Wood, being lighter, is also not going to fall into a crushing mass of debris.
Title: Re: .
Post by: Thipu1 on November 16, 2013, 02:08:49 PM
I can't imagine living in a wooden house.  Doesn't it get cold?

They aren't just wood. It's usually an outer layer of siding or stucco, followed by a layer of tar paper, followed by the wood frame, then the insulation, followed by a vapor barrier, followed by drywall. My 50-year-old wood frame house is actually pretty warm in the winter. And in the summer, the shade trees keep it nice and cool.  Of course, it helps that we have a furnace and central air too.

I grew up in a house that was built in the 1840s.  From the outside, it appeared to be a wood house. 

It wasn't. 

In the 19th century, the area in which we lived was a major source of bricks for the buildings in NYC. Since bricks were literally as cheap as dirt, everything in our little town was made of brick.   It wasn't unusual to have the proverbial brick 'you-know-what' in the back yard. 

    Our house was an example.  Both the exterior and all the interior load-bearing walls were brick.  This made changing the arrangement of rooms impossible. The original owners added the clapboard siding to make the place look more genteel. 

It's odd that I'm now living in a brick building that was constructed in the 1860s.  It could be said that I'm living surrounded by my native soil.  Would writers of Vampire fiction find that something interesting to consider in a plot? 
   
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: VorFemme on November 16, 2013, 02:39:44 PM
You're not required to eat the whole thing right there in the restaurant.

That's another thing that boggled a brain or two, that you can get part of your meal wrapped to go home with you.  On the other hand, my brain is slightly boggled that other countries don't do that.  Sure, the portions are much smaller, but what if you aren't feeling well or the appetizer was more filling than you expected?

You can here in the UK, depending on what kind of restaurant it is, I think. If I go to my local Indian or Chinese I have no problems asking for leftovers to be boxed up to take home.

Admittedly I've never been to the States so my sole knowledge of eating out comes from TV and I'm sure it's all embellished for the purposes of entertainment, but I watch programmes about US restaurants with a mixture of fascination and horror. The portions are just *so* gluttonously huge, and there never seems to be any fresh veg - all meat and carbs. I remember when Jamie Oliver did his programme over there he said it was cheaper for low income families to eat junk in fast food places 7 nights a week than it is to buy food to cook at home and I found that a bit staggering.

On the subject of house building materials - and again obviously my knowledge comes from news reports on TV - I never understood why houses in tornado areas always seem to be built of wood. Doesn't that make them more likely to blow down? Or is the thought pattern 'it's going to blow down anyway, may as well build it out of something cheaper to rebuild than brick' ?

Part of the high cost of ingredients to make food is that poorer families don't always live within walking distance or even mass transit riding distance of reasonably priced food stores.  The closest places to them for them to buy "stuff" are expensive convenience stores attached to gas stations and priced much higher due to higher costs (downtown property, higher taxes, possibly higher theft risk, shoplifting, and some merchandise having to be tossed because of spoilage).

And mass transit is not an affordable option in many USA locations, either.  You almost have to have at least a bicycle of your own if you want to get further than you can walk - and bicycles aren't cheap & they can be a target for theft - whether as a bicycle or as "scrap metal".
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: VorFemme on November 16, 2013, 02:48:57 PM
I can't imagine living in a wooden house.  Doesn't it get cold?

They aren't just wood. It's usually an outer layer of siding or stucco, followed by a layer of tar paper, followed by the wood frame, then the insulation, followed by a vapor barrier, followed by drywall. My 50-year-old wood frame house is actually pretty warm in the winter. And in the summer, the shade trees keep it nice and cool.  Of course, it helps that we have a furnace and central air too.

I grew up in a house that was built in the 1840s.  From the outside, it appeared to be a wood house. 

It wasn't. 

In the 19th century, the area in which we lived was a major source of bricks for the buildings in NYC. Since bricks were literally as cheap as dirt, everything in our little town was made of brick.   It wasn't unusual to have the proverbial brick 'you-know-what' in the back yard. 

    Our house was an example.  Both the exterior and all the interior load-bearing walls were brick.  This made changing the arrangement of rooms impossible. The original owners added the clapboard siding to make the place look more genteel. 

It's odd that I'm now living in a brick building that was constructed in the 1860s.  It could be said that I'm living surrounded by my native soil.  Would writers of Vampire fiction find that something interesting to consider in a plot? 
   

But would baking the soil into brick remove whatever essence it was that made it "native soil" - I seem to remember the Saint-Germaine Chronicles by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro had the vampires have to replace the native soil in their resting places (or the soles of their shoes - wherever they had it stashed) once it had been "used" for a while.  I just haven't read it recently enough to remember how often...

I do remember a vampire that had lost her supply of native earth resorted to looking through the hulls of ships, looking for ballast from her native country...there was none to be found in port at that time and she did not survive until the next night.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Wordgeek on November 16, 2013, 03:18:11 PM
The old joke is that, in Europe, a hundred miles is a long way while, in North America, a hundred years is a long time.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Psychopoesie on November 16, 2013, 04:31:39 PM
For those talking about differences in country size, you can overlay different countries and states to get a better idea of size and distance here http://overlapmaps.com/ (http://overlapmaps.com/) It's fun to play with.  :)


Although Canada and US are larger, Australia is built on a similar scale (6th largest country).
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America
Post by: Oh Joy on November 16, 2013, 04:37:12 PM
DH's family is continually amazed at how warm people are here.  Much of their surprise is based on regional misperceptions about Americans, but things that prompt admiration or discussion include:
*  How strangers passing on a park trail or an office building will make eye contact and greet each other.  They finally stopped asking 'Do you know them?'
*  How cashiers will make small talk.
*  The graciousness of employees (the highlight of MIL's visit this spring was my taking her to the hair salon, where she reigned supreme) even with foreigners.
*  The amount of time our extended family members spend together because we like each other (very contrary to the anti-family image we have over there).
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Elfmama on November 16, 2013, 07:58:04 PM
I remember when Jamie Oliver did his programme over there he said it was cheaper for low income families to eat junk in fast food places 7 nights a week than it is to buy food to cook at home and I found that a bit staggering.
I would not agree with Mr. Oliver.  DH was in the military for many years, and eating at fast food places was a rare treat.  I could feed 4 people on home-cooked hamburgers and fries for the same price as a Big Mac meal.  Still can, as a matter of fact.

But that people BELIEVE that it's cheaper to eat at McD's, yes. Or that actually cooking is "too hard" and should be left to professionals. Last time we donated to the food bank, the staffers told us not to bother donating flour and sugar, even for holiday meal baskets.  No one will take them, because they don't know what to do with them.  And that they'll take oatmeal only if it's instant, and only then if there is no other cereal available.

Some years ago one of the governors of a large west coast state was astonished to find that the food stamp allotment was $21 per week.  To prove that point, he took a camera crew to a supermarket and bought random foodstuffs like steak and eggplants, then pointed to "how little" you could get for $21.

When someone on another forum declared that the gov had a point, I took that as a challenge.  He didn't buy food for MEALS. Starting from the premise that I had NOTHING in my cabinets, not even salt, I took an imaginary $21 to the local supermarket and came out with the makings for a week's meals.  And I posted it, with prices and recipes, on the forum.  (OK, I cheated a bit.  I would have had to spend 3 cents over the allotment.)  I even had food "left over" at the end of the week, if you can consider having more salt and rice and flour and sugar than I needed to be "leftovers" instead of "staples."   Yes, there was oatmeal on the menu for every breakfast, and yes, leftovers from previous meals were scheduled on two different days, and yes, I would have baked my own bread from actual flour instead of buying it, but it WAS possible, even in a high-priced area of the country like Maryland.

But you do have to be willing to actually cook stuff from scratch instead of just heating stuff up.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: MommyPenguin on November 16, 2013, 09:24:06 PM
Wow, Elfmama, I'm in NoVA... will you come help me figure out how to cook for a week for $21?  I already make my own bread, so surely I'm partway there?  I'm very impressed with your mad skills.  :)

I agree, too, that it's definitely cheaper to eat at home than eat out, but it's going to depend on what you're making and such.  But you certainly *can* cook for cheaper at home.  It costs us about $10 at a minimum to get fast food for the whole family, and that's with all the kids sharing a 20-pack of chicken nuggets and no drinks.  Getting drinks and fries and happy meals would probably make it more like $20.  Even a meal of chicken with a very basic seasoning (not an expensive packet, just a multi-use jar of "chicken seasoning" or something really basic like that), frozen veggies, and rice would be less than $10 for our family of six (depending on how much chicken we made, it could cost more than $10 but make two meals).  And, of course, meals without meat are cheaper.  Macaroni and cheese or spaghetti would be a cheap, simple option a few times a week. 

We had the BSA collecting for a food bank a few weeks ago, and I had a bag with some mac & cheese, angelhair, and spaghetti sauce, but unfortunately I forgot to put my bag out in time.  But I figured those were reasonably easy meals to make even if you weren't much for cooking.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: kherbert05 on November 16, 2013, 10:48:02 PM
Stilted houses are used along the Gulf coast so that storm surges can flow under the house, hopefully saving the house in a storm. The small storage place under the house is made to breakaway. The stilts are much stronger than you would think. If the ground is left under the house the house can often be saved.

http://thumbs.trulia-cdn.com/pictures/thumbs_3/ps.57/8/e/9/9/picture-uh=f9803c238ff59e4cfdc3af796cce8e29-ps=8e99d2f2f5f979c4f25abbcb3fc1dc6.jpg (http://thumbs.trulia-cdn.com/pictures/thumbs_3/ps.57/8/e/9/9/picture-uh=f9803c238ff59e4cfdc3af796cce8e29-ps=8e99d2f2f5f979c4f25abbcb3fc1dc6.jpg)

Wooden houses also called balloon framing has airspace between the inner and outer falls that is filled with insulation. THis picture shows the foam insulation between the studs. Sheetrock will be placed over the studs.
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ue7ph6OhSrs/TooK44M_XbI/AAAAAAAAAQQ/HtzWa2tJiMM/s1600/DSCN8747.JPG (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ue7ph6OhSrs/TooK44M_XbI/AAAAAAAAAQQ/HtzWa2tJiMM/s1600/DSCN8747.JPG)


Houston is old swam land. Some older homes (Houston time) were build on cinder block pillars. They were more about it was difficult to build a foundation on black gumbo soil than elevating the house for floods. The old buildings on our farm were built like this.


http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ue7ph6OhSrs/TooK44M_XbI/AAAAAAAAAQQ/HtzWa2tJiMM/s1600/DSCN8747.JPG (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ue7ph6OhSrs/TooK44M_XbI/AAAAAAAAAQQ/HtzWa2tJiMM/s1600/DSCN8747.JPG)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Peppergirl on November 16, 2013, 11:44:39 PM
I second MommyPenguin!  I'd very much like ElfMama to teach a class for us on how to stretch our food dollars! :)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: MrsJWine on November 17, 2013, 12:31:08 AM
I love to cook, and I am pretty good at planning the week's meals for cheap, but I have the luxuries of time, a spouse, and easy transportation. I think it's completely possible to stretch a very thin budget to allow for a healthy diet, and to do it much more inexpensively than a McDonald's diet would cost.

But there are many factors involved. The first is that a some poverty-stricken people are working full time or more than full time, with more than one job, just to get by. Then they have to come home and be parents. I know that if I had only one hour with my kids per day, I probably wouldn't want to spend it cooking.

The other was brought up in this thread already: with poor transportation, many people only have the option of shopping at the local convenience store, where the healthier foods are incredibly overpriced. I have a vehicle. It's old and ugly, but it gets me from point A to B whenever I want it to, and I don't have to pay extra for parking. In the US, good food just doesn't tend to be within walking or biking distance of residences, especially in urban areas.

There's also marital status (or live-in partner). If I can shop while my husband watches the kids, I won't have to hire a babysitter while I go shopping after they're in bed. I won't have to drag them with me, either. Or I can ask my husband to pick things up on the way home.

So, all else being equal, I think it is fairly easy to maintain a healthy or at least semi-healthy diet on a thin budget. However, all else is not equal most of the time. Sure, it's possible, but there's much more to it than just making a meal plan and sticking to it.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Katana_Geldar on November 17, 2013, 12:37:15 AM
We're some people not taught basic cooking then? That's rather sad.

I remember reading one of a certain politicians memoirs where he lived in a major US city and he said mothers thought it was healthy to fed their kids potato chips.  ???
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: MrsJWine on November 17, 2013, 12:51:47 AM
We're some people not taught basic cooking then? That's rather sad.

I remember reading one of a certain politicians memoirs where he lived in a major US city and he said mothers thought it was healthy to fed their kids potato chips.  ???

I took a home ec class in middle school. It was every other day for half a school year. We learned how to cook maybe two things, and I think they were out of boxes. It was a joke. I was the youngest of five children, and my parents were kind of poor. Because of where we lived, they were able to feed us very well (out in the country for the poorest of those years, space for a garden, lots of canning, etc), but my mom hated it; it was a ton of work. By the time I was old enough to learn, she was probably just DONE with it and tired. And then she went to nursing school.

She or my dad cooked a decent meal just about every night, but it wasn't the sort of thing where they had time or energy to also teach a kid how to do it. I learned some very basic things, but otherwise they spent their energy on other things with us. I don't fault them for that at all. They did the best they could with what time and energy they had. In fact, I think they went above and beyond in a lot of ways.

I taught myself how to cook when I got married, and I didn't really learn how to cook well-rounded meals every single day until our first child was old enough to eat solid foods (so, about 5 years ago). Now I'm pretty good at it, but I kind of had to claw my way up to that level of knowledge and ability.

But, here's the thing. I grew up in a stable family. We ate dinner together nearly every night. There was always at least one vegetable. I may not have learned how to cook, but I ate a well-rounded diet. I knew, more or less, what was healthy and what was not, and my palate was accustomed to that. I was extremely lucky; despite my parents' situation, they did a great job feeding us well. That's something that isn't totally normal. Poor diet is just as self-perpetuating as poverty can be. Combine that with other things (how spread out US cities can be, how terrible public transit usually is, etc), and it's not all that surprising that some people think the best they can do is McDonald's every night.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Katana_Geldar on November 17, 2013, 01:21:47 AM
You think it starts with parents? I learned to cook from my parents as it meant they could have the help if myself and my sisters or even have me making the meals myself.

I think all children need to learn how to cook before they leave home. And how to do laundry.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: perpetua on November 17, 2013, 02:27:37 AM



The other was brought up in this thread already: with poor transportation, many people only have the option of shopping at the local convenience store, where the healthier foods are incredibly overpriced. I have a vehicle. It's old and ugly, but it gets me from point A to B whenever I want it to, and I don't have to pay extra for parking. In the US, good food just doesn't tend to be within walking or biking distance of residences, especially in urban areas.



*nods* - If I recall correctly, this particular place that Jamie Oliver was visiting was also a place that had a 'supermarket drought', as I think he termed it - the kind of place where businesses who sell fresh healthy food just hadn't moved into because there's no money to be made there. The majority of the businesses in the area were junk food merchants who sold burgers for a dollar, so people there thought it was cheaper to just go and do that, with predictable results.

The overwhelming impression I have of the US from my very limited knowledge from TV/reading - but also from the posts I read here - is that generally, it just isn't 'set up' very well. That it isn't at all… practical? Local communities often seem not to have access to shops, transport etc in their local area, and if you don't have a car, you're stuffed because of the 'can't walk anywhere, there's no pavements' issue. I gotta wonder what the town planners were on when they came up with that; it kinda boggles my mind.

That can be an issue here in the UK too, but generally only for people who live in very rural areas that might have one overpriced (and small) village shop, a pub and a post office. I live in a fairly low-rent area of a big city,  not the kind of place that well-to-do shops would move into, but even so, I have access to everything I could possibly need on my local high street a couple of minutes away, and if you lived in a town you'd have all these facilities and more generally within walking or bussing distance.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Peppergirl on November 17, 2013, 02:32:47 AM
We're some people not taught basic cooking then? That's rather sad.



I have great parents, but they both worked full time and we ate a lot of simple meals.  I never truly learned to cook.

In a serious role reversal, my ex husband was a GREAT cook, so I did everything else around the house and he did that.

I was really in a quandary when, at age 34, we divorced and I had to cook for my kids.  I was so embarrassed that I didn't really know how. 

I do okay now and my kids are grown and gone, but I still don't care for it. :-[
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: iridaceae on November 17, 2013, 03:57:07 AM
You think it starts with parents? I learned to cook from my parents as it meant they could have the help if myself and my sisters or even have me making the meals myself.

I think all children need to learn how to cook before they leave home. And how to do laundry.

If you come from a very poor background you may well have been living with no working fridge or freezer (or it is a dorm fridge or maybe barely works) and maybe one burner on the stove. Slumlords still exist and they will resist fixing appliances. And if you complain too much you get evicted and have to find another place to live as cheaply.


GlitterisMyDrug you must live in the Southwest ; the roadside cross memorials are mainly found there. (Also Central and South America- kids didn't believe me when I described them after coming back from Venezuela as a kid).

Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: camlan on November 17, 2013, 05:52:52 AM




The overwhelming impression I have of the US from my very limited knowledge from TV/reading - but also from the posts I read here - is that generally, it just isn't 'set up' very well. That it isn't at all… practical? Local communities often seem not to have access to shops, transport etc in their local area, and if you don't have a car, you're stuffed because of the 'can't walk anywhere, there's no pavements' issue. I gotta wonder what the town planners were on when they came up with that; it kinda boggles my mind.

That can be an issue here in the UK too, but generally only for people who live in very rural areas that might have one overpriced (and small) village shop, a pub and a post office. I live in a fairly low-rent area of a big city,  not the kind of place that well-to-do shops would move into, but even so, I have access to everything I could possibly need on my local high street a couple of minutes away, and if you lived in a town you'd have all these facilities and more generally within walking or bussing distance.

The town or city or suburb planners just assume everyone has a car. Because most people do have cars. It is simply a different model of planning than what is used in Europe.

The older cities and towns used to have a center where you could find most basic services--grocery stores and the like. But because we have a car-centric culture, those stores have moved to the outskirts of the cities where there is room for more parking and the stores can be larger.

In places like Boston and the surrounding towns and cities, just finding enough land that can be purchased for a large supermarket is difficult. And large supermarkets are what people what. And they make more money than a small shop. Add in the difficulty of also finding enough land for parking adjacent to the supermarket, and you can see why the larger stores have migrated to the suburbs or outskirts of a city.

Cities like Boston and New York can still be lived in without a car. If you can't buy it and walk home with it, many places will deliver, for a fee, large and heavy purchases. But you pay higher prices for the same item because of the higher overhead costs of running a store in a city.

While some people like to shop in small, locally-owned stores, most people also want access to the large big-box stores like WalMart, Target, Home Depot, TJ Max and the like. The business model for those stores requires lots of land. And you just aren't going to find lots of land available in the center of town.

So in my city, which is fairly old by US standards, the small grocery stores and mom-and-pop drug stores and clothing stores and the book store that also carried newspapers from all over, which at one time were all up and down Main Street, have closed and in their place are small greeting card shops and jewelery stores and artsy boutiques. There's a bakery that's been there for 75 years and probably isn't going anywhere. But most people do their necessary shopping a couple of miles away on a road that crosses the border of the next town and which has all the big-box stores you could want. Thirty years ago, that road was surrounded by open country.

There's a plan and it makes sense. It's just that it makes sense only if you have a car. But since most people have cars . . . , well, you end up with planners who allow for the cars and not pedestrians.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America
Post by: Oh Joy on November 17, 2013, 06:24:49 AM
GlitterisMyDrug you must live in the Southwest ; the roadside cross memorials are mainly found there. (Also Central and South America- kids didn't believe me when I described them after coming back from Venezuela as a kid).

We see them plenty here in the Midwest.  Crosses, artificial flowers, balloons, etc.  It can be a sensitive issue as the city/county/state must decide how long to leave the memorial up.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: iridaceae on November 17, 2013, 06:25:46 AM
I'd add San Francisco to the cities where you can live without a car.

You have to remember that the US is big so developers got away with making cities and towns big and sprawling and car-dependent.

ETA: Makeshift temporary memorials are in the Midwest,  yes; I grew up there and remember seeing them. But they don't do the permanent crosses that you'll see here. Usually metal and meant to be permanent.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: kckgirl on November 17, 2013, 06:38:09 AM
GlitterisMyDrug you must live in the Southwest ; the roadside cross memorials are mainly found there.

I see them all over every day in my northeast USA region.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: iridaceae on November 17, 2013, 06:50:04 AM
GlitterisMyDrug you must live in the Southwest ; the roadside cross memorials are mainly found there.

I see them all over every day in my northeast USA region.
Permanent metal ones?
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: kckgirl on November 17, 2013, 06:59:31 AM
GlitterisMyDrug you must live in the Southwest ; the roadside cross memorials are mainly found there.
I see them all over every day in my northeast USA region.
Permanent metal ones?

All kinds. Most are very well maintained (by family members, I guess).
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: kherbert05 on November 17, 2013, 07:28:14 AM
About food/cooking. I teach in a Title I school - so very low socio/eco level. There is 1 grocery store within a mile, no sidewalks and they have to walk along a 5 lane 45 - 55 MPH FM road to get to that one (over priced food because they know the neighborhood is trapped). The 3 apartment complexes a majority of our kids live in are slum lord with a large gang/drug dealer presence. We can't use out stove because it catches the kitchen on fire - is not an infrequent comment (yes we do file complaints with the appropriate people.) At least 2 times I've restrained students from running into a burning unit because we went out for recess and found their apartment/the one next to it was on fire (both times the family escaped unharmed but lost what little they had). I've done home visits were I thought I was going to fall through the floor to the apartment below.

Many of our kids get 2 meals a day at school, and several hundred get Lunches of Love bags for meals on weekends. For longer holidays LOL comes to the school once a day to deliver a bagged lunch and breakfast each day. The kids meet the van in the school parking lot. Because the food has to be shelf stable it is processed not fresh.

For some it is generational poverty. But for many I hear we had a nice apartment (or even a house) until Mom/Dad - (got hurt at work, had an heart attack, got cancer, other medical crisis) now we don't have anything.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: MommyPenguin on November 17, 2013, 07:53:32 AM
And of course when Walmart tries to move into an area that only has those expensive convenience shops, the city changes its laws to keep Walmart out/force it to pay more than those workers are worth to it, because it pays minimum wage, so people are stuck buying expensive groceries.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Luci on November 17, 2013, 08:05:00 AM
And of course when Walmart tries to move into an area that only has those expensive convenience shops, the city changes its laws to keep Walmart out/force it to pay more than those workers are worth to it, because it pays minimum wage, so people are stuck buying expensive groceries.

Not here! Walmart pays above minimun and has many longtime permanent employees. They are really kind and hardworking. I am often shocked at the hatred of Walmart I read about. We only have one other far more expensive full service grocery store in town and three convenience stores at gas stations.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Mopsy428 on November 17, 2013, 08:32:51 AM
A few things on the list:

1. "Quality of Chocolates": I'd urge anyone NOT to buy Hershey chocolate. Yes, we have great chocolate here. It's just usually sold at chocolate/candy stores, and is usually quite expensive. *resists urge to go down to the local chocolate store and buy a pound of fudge*

2. "Monotonous Cities, cookie-cutter homes": The cities are not monotonous. To me, Boston looks nothing like NYC, San Francisco, or Chicago. I guess if you aren't from around here, then they could all look the same...I suppose. Also, the homes...again, it depends where you go. Where I live, we have a large variety of styles of homes.

3. Jaywalking: It depends where you live.

Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: MrsJWine on November 17, 2013, 08:40:39 AM
Yes, it's hard to say that X is the same everywhere in the US. Things are so widely varied from city to city and state to state. For instance, I've never lived in a place where there weren't sidewalks, though that seems to be a thing for a lot of US residents here. And not every place has a poverty-stricken inner city without access to grocery stores.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved
Post by: Two Ravens on November 17, 2013, 09:39:52 AM
3. Jaywalking: It depends where you live.

This item made me laugh because the person that mention it said they lived in Seattle. IME, Seattle is the hardest city on jaywalking in the US. They still write out hundreds of tickets for it each year. I don't think this is true of any other US city. (Jaywalking still isn't a good idea for the most part, though)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: jedikaiti on November 17, 2013, 09:54:02 AM
You think it starts with parents? I learned to cook from my parents as it meant they could have the help if myself and my sisters or even have me making the meals myself.

I think all children need to learn how to cook before they leave home. And how to do laundry.

If you come from a very poor background you may well have been living with no working fridge or freezer (or it is a dorm fridge or maybe barely works) and maybe one burner on the stove. Slumlords still exist and they will resist fixing appliances. And if you complain too much you get evicted and have to find another place to live as cheaply.


GlitterisMyDrug you must live in the Southwest ; the roadside cross memorials are mainly found there. (Also Central and South America- kids didn't believe me when I described them after coming back from Venezuela as a kid).

We see them here in CO too, although if too much stuff is left at the memorial I think the loacal roads authority takes it down after a time. But sometimes the crosses remain for quite some time.

And in South Dakota, there are signs put up for road fatalities (I think I was once told that they're paid for by an insurance company?) that says "Think!" On one side and "Why die?" On the other.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Venus193 on November 17, 2013, 09:56:37 AM
Our food portion size shocks me, too, and I live here.  The unfortunate thing is that at least half of those foods are things that don't reheat well, so it's either eat it all, share it, or let half go to waste.

For the record, I started learning to cook when I was 9 years old.

In NYC there are also more single-person households than anywhere else.  It's harder to prepare food from scratch because of the smaller quantities and relatively small refrigerators in NYC apartments.  In the winter I often prepare vats of soup from scratch, but end up getting tired of it easily.  I should find a cooking meetup where people do exchanges.

I once met a Mexican singer who said he loved coming to NYC because of how the neighborhoods change every 10 blocks or so.  I wonder whether other cities are like that.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America
Post by: Elfmama on November 17, 2013, 10:43:30 AM
GlitterisMyDrug you must live in the Southwest ; the roadside cross memorials are mainly found there. (Also Central and South America- kids didn't believe me when I described them after coming back from Venezuela as a kid).

We see them plenty here in the Midwest.  Crosses, artificial flowers, balloons, etc.  It can be a sensitive issue as the city/county/state must decide how long to leave the memorial up.
I've seen them all over the US.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America
Post by: jedikaiti on November 17, 2013, 11:06:19 AM
GlitterisMyDrug you must live in the Southwest ; the roadside cross memorials are mainly found there. (Also Central and South America- kids didn't believe me when I described them after coming back from Venezuela as a kid).

We see them plenty here in the Midwest.  Crosses, artificial flowers, balloons, etc.  It can be a sensitive issue as the city/county/state must decide how long to leave the memorial up.
I've seen them all over the US.

I haven't seen permanent markers of the type the PP mentioned, though, aside from the signs in South Dakota.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: katycoo on November 17, 2013, 05:06:11 PM
Quote
That you cannot purchase alcohol unless you are 21 but can purchase a gun if you are 18.

I'm totally with this guy.

I'm an American living in Europe and it's always fascinating to be having an ordinary conversation with my European friends and to find that something in my life that is very typical is unusual or unheard of to them. I can't really think of a good example offhand but I think the one that comes up the most often is that my husband has a concealed carry handgun license and has firearms, but he's not either a police officer or a Mafia criminal ;) They are truly baffled that an ordinary person who is not a criminal has firearms.

I understand why an ordinary person might own firearms.  I cannot fathom why anyone who is not in the military or law enforcement would need to carry, let alone carry concealed.

I was surprised that several people said they found it unusual to build a house out of wood--someone from I think Germany said that there, you only build a wooden house if you're poor or making an environmental statement. What other material do people use? Steel and concrete would be typical here for, say, a skyscraper, but do people use that for ordinary homes in other areas? Another person made the point that sound travels through wooden houses, which is a peeve of mine, so I want to know how I can build a house that's quieter! :)

Brick.  Most houses in Australia are brick.

You're not required to eat the whole thing right there in the restaurant.

That's another thing that boggled a brain or two, that you can get part of your meal wrapped to go home with you.  On the other hand, my brain is slightly boggled that other countries don't do that.  Sure, the portions are much smaller, but what if you aren't feeling well or the appetizer was more filling than you expected?

Tough.  You don't finish your meal.

Car buying. Australians seem to be the most surprised at how hard it can be to buy a car. In the US, laws are set by the individual states, but Registration includes some insurance. So, in Australia there is a traveler's market in used cars. You just buy one from someone who is finishing a trip, take care of minor paperwork and you are on your way. In the US, each time a car changes hands, it must be registered anew. You have to produce an address in the state where you want to register it. Some states require you to prove you live there, say, with an electric bill in your name. Some states have ID requirements that are impossible for most non-residents to fulfill. Then there's having to get the mandatory insurance.

Hmm.  Its not quite that simple in Australia -  every vehicle is registered to an owner, and there's got to be at least a mailing address.  Also, we have mandatory insurance too - in my state its called a Green Slip, and it covers third party injury but not third party property damage.
Whether tourists here simply don't bother and don't get caught, I don't know.  I mean, technically nothing is stopping you from buying a car privately at a backpacker market and just don't completing the paperwork.  If the registered owner is no longer in the country nothing will likely come back to them over it - especially if they can prove that the car was sold.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: katycoo on November 17, 2013, 05:09:09 PM
Midwest US here with knowledge of the southern coast: Every house I know of except one has a wood frame. Some multifamily buildings are concrete block, but even brick is just brick siding on a wooden frame. For a few years there was a trend for steel frame but that was found to be very impractical because beams that small react to temperature changes so drastically even in a temperature controlled building. Wood is much more stable.

Most brick homes in Australia are also wooden framed but Western Australia seems to still do old-school double-brick.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: katycoo on November 17, 2013, 05:22:33 PM
Quote
Online money transfer between bank is done via cheque – In USA (at least in PA), whenever I want to transfer money to someone, the bank will issue a cheque and post it to the address of the cheque recipient. The recipient will then cash in the cheque. This procedure will take few days normally and applies even to customers who transfer money to another customers within the same bank.

Is this one true?  That is NUTS!
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Psychopoesie on November 17, 2013, 05:24:07 PM
In some areas of Australia, weatherboard houses are fairly common. My hometown in NSW, for example.

Fibro was also a common building material at one time, unfortunately. It's asbestos cement sheeting.

Stilt houses were also traditional in Darwin, NT, although not in the queenslander style. Building codes were changed after a devastating cyclone, cyclone Tracy, wiped out most of Darwin. A lot of the newer buildings were made of cement.

(http://moblog.net/media/b/i/l/billynomates/darwin-old-stilt-house.jpg) old style stilt house (also made of fibro, I'm fairly sure).

(http://images.realestateview.com.au/pics/577/13-Tennison-Crescent-Anula-NT-0812-Real-Estate-photo-1-large-6156577.jpg) house built after cyclone Tracy. I lived in this type of house.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: NyaChan on November 17, 2013, 05:29:29 PM
Quote
Online money transfer between bank is done via cheque – In USA (at least in PA), whenever I want to transfer money to someone, the bank will issue a cheque and post it to the address of the cheque recipient. The recipient will then cash in the cheque. This procedure will take few days normally and applies even to customers who transfer money to another customers within the same bank.

Is this one true?  That is NUTS!

That's not how it works for everyone.  I can transfer money purely electronically through my bank.  I've not had to wait for someone to receive a check for the amount I sent online.  Chase definitely lets you send account to account payments.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: kherbert05 on November 17, 2013, 05:43:54 PM

Hmm.  Its not quite that simple in Australia -  every vehicle is registered to an owner, and there's got to be at least a mailing address.  Also, we have mandatory insurance too - in my state its called a Green Slip, and it covers third party injury but not third party property damage.
Whether tourists here simply don't bother and don't get caught, I don't know.  I mean, technically nothing is stopping you from buying a car privately at a backpacker market and just don't completing the paperwork.  If the registered owner is no longer in the country nothing will likely come back to them over it - especially if they can prove that the car was sold.
In Texas you have to have your insurance card to get your car inspected and to register it.


At least in the Houston/Harris County/Fort Bend/Richmond/Rosenburg area you CANNOT drive a week without a cop car pulling behind you and running your plates - and pulling you over for not being registered. Which is a real pain in the rear when you have insurance, did register (granted at the end of the window) but Harris County had a 45 day back up on getting people in the #*(Q#@*Q@*$@! state computer.


Which meant after the 10 day grace period - I spent 5 weeks being pulled over multiple times, even was accused of forging my window sticker because the computer said my car was not registered. A couple of times the cops in Fort Bend County were really confused because Harris County lets you pay at the grocery store so I had a Kroger Receipt attached to the paper work.


I go to the court annex now - and get registered for 2 or 3 years. I do it the first Weekday in July (My registration is due July 31st)  that they are open.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: jedikaiti on November 17, 2013, 06:51:53 PM
You're not required to eat the whole thing right there in the restaurant.

That's another thing that boggled a brain or two, that you can get part of your meal wrapped to go home with you.  On the other hand, my brain is slightly boggled that other countries don't do that.  Sure, the portions are much smaller, but what if you aren't feeling well or the appetizer was more filling than you expected?

Tough.  You don't finish your meal.

Why waste the food? I go to a restaurant, get something yummy, but it's too much to eat in one sitting. No problem! It's lunch tomorrow! If I just leave it, it's landfill.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Katana_Geldar on November 17, 2013, 06:56:03 PM
People have sued restaurants as they've taken he stuff home and no refrigerated and/or reheated it properly, then get food poisoning and blame the place. So, it's just easier to take it to the kitchen.

Also, having the box it up option requires the restaurant to actually have take away boxes, which a lot don't have.

But there are places that do that. DH and I went to hurricanes grill with my Dad, I ordered ribs and my dad took the rest if my ribs home as I couldn't eat them.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Psychopoesie on November 17, 2013, 07:12:16 PM
A lot of ordinary suburban restaurants in Canberra will bag up leftover food if requested. I've only run across a couple that said they wouldn't. I remember that one blamed the local laws (which wasn't true when I checked up on it later). Think it's more to do with restaurant policy, concerns a about food safety and fear of being sued.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: kherbert05 on November 17, 2013, 07:20:15 PM
People have sued restaurants as they've taken he stuff home and no refrigerated and/or reheated it properly, then get food poisoning and blame the place. So, it's just easier to take it to the kitchen.

Also, having the box it up option requires the restaurant to actually have take away boxes, which a lot don't have.

But there are places that do that. DH and I went to hurricanes grill with my Dad, I ordered ribs and my dad took the rest if my ribs home as I couldn't eat them.
I've been in situations here that the entree was way to much but I wasn't going home or home was 30 min - 1 hour away. When I refuse to get a box I get the waiter asking if there was a problem, the host/hostess asking if there was a problem, and then the manger showing up and asking if there was a problem.

The food was great - it just won't be great after I stop to run errands on the way home and have to leave the food in the car in the Texas heat.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: jedikaiti on November 17, 2013, 07:26:59 PM
People have sued restaurants as they've taken he stuff home and no refrigerated and/or reheated it properly, then get food poisoning and blame the place. So, it's just easier to take it to the kitchen.

And here I thought the US was supposed to be the land of the frivolous lawsuit.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: perpetua on November 17, 2013, 07:33:24 PM
You're not required to eat the whole thing right there in the restaurant.

That's another thing that boggled a brain or two, that you can get part of your meal wrapped to go home with you.  On the other hand, my brain is slightly boggled that other countries don't do that.  Sure, the portions are much smaller, but what if you aren't feeling well or the appetizer was more filling than you expected?

Tough.  You don't finish your meal.

Why waste the food? I go to a restaurant, get something yummy, but it's too much to eat in one sitting. No problem! It's lunch tomorrow! If I just leave it, it's landfill.

Or the restaurants could just serve proper portion sizes in the first place. I don't get it. I've just been browsing the menu at Denny's, which was the first US chain that occurred to me off the top of my head. The portion sizes are monstrous and there isn't a single vegetable to be seen, and it really isn't the kind of stuff that would reheat well or even be easy to box up and take home.

The breakfasts in particular grabbed my attention. Do people really eat a 13oz T-bone steak plus eggs, hash browns and toast for breakfast?!

There's something called a 'hearty breakfast skillet'. It's sausage, potatoes, peppers, mushrooms, onions, topped with 2 eggs and cheese. 990 calories.

Or you could have a Philly Cheesesteak Omelette: prime rib, peppers, onions, mushrooms and melted cheese, served with hash browns *and* bread.  890 calories without the bread.

This is breakfast food? These portions are larger than a huge evening meal. My mind really does boggle. I've been watching Man V Food recently, thinking it was all exaggerated for entertainment. Obviously, not so much!
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: cabbagegirl28 on November 17, 2013, 08:01:50 PM
I've seen many people eat one of those entrees for breakfast, perpetua. I could probably eat one of those entrees by myself, to be honest. I don't think that eating a breakfast that size every once in a while is a bad thing (and I'm not saying that you said that), as long as the person has an otherwise healthy, normal diet.

Also, IMO, it makes the most sense for me to eat my biggest meal at breakfast, because then I have the most time to burn off the calories.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Gwywnnydd on November 17, 2013, 09:47:45 PM
Quote
Online money transfer between bank is done via cheque – In USA (at least in PA), whenever I want to transfer money to someone, the bank will issue a cheque and post it to the address of the cheque recipient. The recipient will then cash in the cheque. This procedure will take few days normally and applies even to customers who transfer money to another customers within the same bank.

Is this one true?  That is NUTS!

That's not how it works for everyone.  I can transfer money purely electronically through my bank.  I've not had to wait for someone to receive a check for the amount I sent online.  Chase definitely lets you send account to account payments.

My credit union will handle me making account-to-account transfers within their account structure, or to other credit unions' account structures.
My previous bank would not. They may have changed since I closed my account with them.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: iridaceae on November 18, 2013, 12:44:08 AM
The breakfasts in particular grabbed my attention. Do people really eat a 13oz T-bone steak plus eggs, hash browns and toast for breakfast?!

You are missing three things here:
1. People don't eat out every day.
2. At breakfast time many people have already been up for hours. I work nights. I'm usually starving at breakfast time.
3. Denny's is not what every American restaurant menu looks like.

Something like the T-bone is often called a farmer's or trucker's breakfast after two professions that are understoood to have already been up and working for a few hours before breakfast.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: English1 on November 18, 2013, 04:15:19 AM
I suppose those dishes are like our 'Full English' breakfast, and they have a similar calorie level. I don't know anyone who eats a full English every day - it's a treat. Spent a few days in a B&B in the summer, and it's what you get for breakfast, traditionally. First couple of days were  ;D but by day three it was more  :o  :-\ :-X

OH used to work night shifts a lot and go and have a breakfast out when he finished - that was really his dinner.

I'm surprised about the banks sending cheques through post if you want to do a transfer. That's bizarre these days, but a few of the respondents mentioned it, so it can't just be one backwards bank, can it?

I really can't wrap my head around the sheer scale and size of some other countries, including the US, I have to remind myself it's more like a continent than a country. Which isn't true either, but I have no hope of really grasping the size of the continent of North America.

A friend of mine has moved from UK to Seattle with her family - a bit of culture shock but on the whole she likes it, and it's much what she expected.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: perpetua on November 18, 2013, 04:31:27 AM
Oh, I know, but we're discussing portion sizes and the shock at them by non-USers (or at least I was), and that shocks me. Even our full englishes don't tend to be that huge. I just can't wrap my head around how the restaurants think anyone needs *that* much food in one sitting, especially when it's something you can't box up and take the leftovers home. The wastage must be phenomenal - surely they'd lose less money if they served properly sized portions in the first place, or is the 'bigger is better' attitude so ingrained over there that they won't lure the customers in without it?
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Katana_Geldar on November 18, 2013, 04:54:09 AM
Interesting fact: in the US entrees are the main meal. Everywhere else they come before the main meal.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entrée
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: iridaceae on November 18, 2013, 05:04:20 AM
Oh, I know, but we're discussing portion sizes and the shock at them by non-USers (or at least I was), and that shocks me. Even our full englishes don't tend to be that huge. I just can't wrap my head around how the restaurants think anyone needs *that* much food in one sitting, especially when it's something you can't box up and take the leftovers home. The wastage must be phenomenal - surely they'd lose less money if they served properly sized portions in the first place, or is the 'bigger is better' attitude so ingrained over there that they won't lure the customers in without it?

Most people who are going to order something like that are going to eat the entire thing. Again it is often eaten by people who have been up and working hard - hard manual labor- for hours.

Most people if they can't finish their meals take home doggie bags.

And personally I find all this harping on "proper sizes" of meals to be annoying.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Venus193 on November 18, 2013, 05:35:21 AM
There are Irish pubs in my neighborhood who do the full Irish breakfast on weekends.  The last time I had it about 10 years ago I almost collapsed outside the place afterward.  Nothing in it will reheat well, so no doggie bags are generally requested.

I have yet to see people sharing something like this, but that sounds like the best solution.  If enough people did this then US restaurants would probably reduce their portion sizes.  A diner that was in my area had such huge portions when they opened that every customer was requesting a doggie bag.  A month later they reduced their portions by a third.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Jones on November 18, 2013, 06:58:35 AM
I don't go to Denny's often, as there isn't one near here, but when I took the kids on a spring break weekend this year we walked around the block and chose a Denny's for our dinner. We ordered a plate of dipping veggies, a plate of fries (chips) to share, and an adult dinner--with two small empty plates please. The waitress was not shocked, apparently they get a few sharers at that establishment. The food was good and a great value for the money. We took the leftover vegg back to the hotel and nibbled them while watching Nickelodeon that night.

I think that's why the portions are larger; when an establishment caters to those with a large appetite (night workers and laborers) those people want to perceive a value for their hard earned cash. Add 10 cents (or so) to the bill and fry up another potato to make the customer's plate fuller, and give a heavy eater the perception they got soooo muuuuch food at such a great price, keeping them happy? Yep!
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Margo on November 18, 2013, 08:26:02 AM
Going back a few posts to the comment in the original article about fruit and veg being expensive compared to meat - I think the person making that comment was originally from Bangladesh - I suspect that there is little factory farming , so meat is likely to be a *lot* more expensive, in the same way as buying free-range is more expensive. Ditto the comment about beef being preferred to chicken.

Historically, in the UK, chicken was a luxury and beef was a more 'everyday' meat, because chicken was more expensive to raise. Once factory farming / battery farming came in, chicken got much, much cheaper, (and also a lot less healthy and tasty!) so was no longer the luxury it used to be.

I think it depends a lot on what meat and what veg you buy.

Junk food being cheaper than cooking - I remember a couple of years ago reading an article in (I think) the Guardian newspaper here (in the UK) which looked at this, and at the cost of trying to feed a family / eat healthily for those on very low incomes. Some of the points it riased were;

 - no car & no easily accessible supermarket = less choice, and higher prices.
- no car = much harder to get savings by buying in bulk
- low income = much harder to get the 'capital' to allow you to buy in bulk, even though this might be significantly cheaper long term
- cost of gas/electricity = having the stove on for long enough to cook cheap., healthy meals may be an insurmountable problem - so stews / casseroles . curries made with cheap cuts of meat, lentils and other pulses become less practical, as you can't afford the cooking time.
- cost of electricity and ability to meet the bills may mean you can't afford to run a freezer, or can't be sure that you can keep it running consitently, so  cooking large quantities and freezing them for future use is impractical
- limited storage space / overcrowded housing - makes it very hard to store larger quantities of food.

there is also the limited education issue - it's certainly possible to eat both well and cheaply, but you do need to be able to cook. And that can be hard to learn, if you haven't ever been taught, particularly if making a mistake means you have to miss a meal.


Visiting the US from the UK, the things I noticed were:

- People driving everywhere . not only for journeys where some form of transport was necessary, but also much shorter ones (for instance, driving between different stores within he same (smallish) town centre.

- portion sizes. They seemed very big to me. I think even taking into account the culture of doggy bags in restaurants it seemed to me that what is a 'normal sized' portion for (most) Americans in just larger than a 'normal sized' portion in the UK.
- Insularity - among individuals, there's obviously a huge range of outlooks and levels of knowledge, but I was surprised at how little National, let alone International news you seem to get. 

- The size of the place. I thin this is one of those things you can *know*, but not really appreciate (incidentally, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who has visited  Europe from Alaska a few times. She was describing a conversation she'd had with someone in Germany - my friend had been appalled that the German people had set out to drive to an event, in the snow, without taking supplies of food, water, blankets etc. They pointed out that at no point on their journey would they be more than about a mile from a town or village, so the ability to trek for help, or to dig in and survive for several days, if they broke down, was not really a consideration.




Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Thipu1 on November 18, 2013, 08:58:40 AM
Believe it or not, the size of restaurant meals in the US can be economical for diners. 

There was a steak place we liked because one visit gave us six servings for the price of two.   There was the meal we ate on the premises, the meal we ate at home from his left overs and the meal we ate at home from my left overs.

We'd just order the prime rib a bit more rare than we liked.  We'd eat the outer portion in the restaurant and take the more rare inner parts home.  They were perfect when reheated. 

We weren't the only people who did this.  Doggie bags were almost a given.   
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Venus193 on November 18, 2013, 09:07:55 AM
Another food thing:  One thing I noticed in London when I made a few acquaintances there was that refrigerators are smaller than the smallest apartment fridges in the US.  Someone I met who had a prestigious job in education had a fridge that was 3/4 the size of mine, which is a standard size for a one-bedroom apartment.  I'm always wanting a larger one, but the space allotted for it in my kitchen can't accommodate a larger one.

With regard to leftovers from restaurants, it can be more cost-effective to order something big and make three meals out of it, especially if it's something not worth the effort to make in a small quantity.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: sparksals on November 18, 2013, 10:09:57 AM
If you think the US is big, check out Canada, which is the 2nd largest country in the world in land mass.  It is very easy to drive across a State or two in the US in one day, but it can take days to drive N/S in a province.   


I was also VERY surprised that the US can be so conservative and have strong religious views.  Coming from Canada, which is very diverse, but still very secular - religion is more private.  I am always surprised by the number of churches here.  We were driving through KY a few years ago and there were churches everywhere, but it was very rural.... I dont' know where the people were coming from for all these churches.


My town in MN has about 10 churches within a few miles.

On the east coast, where the states are much smaller than on the west coast, I can drive from Maine through New Hampshire, then through Massachusetts and Rhode Island and into Connecticut in less than 5 hours.

In Texas, that amount of time might take you to the next city.

As for the churches, don't forget that a good number of the early settlers from Europe came here for religious reasons. The country has a long history of religion affecting the laws, population movement, and popular culture. Stands to reason that religion is very important in many areas of the country.

As for all the churches--many of these small churches have correspondingly small congregations.

One small city I lived in had two Catholic churches, kitty-corner across the street from each other. One was founded by Irish immigrants, the other by Ukrainian immigrants. The small city I live in now once had two Catholic churches, the one founded by Irish immigrants and the one founded by the French Canadian workers who came down to work in the mills. Since at the time all Masses were conducted in Latin, it wasn't just a language barrier that prompted them to form separate churches--I suspect the churches were a stabilizing social force and helped to create community, as well as a place where you could meet people who shared your cultural background.


The churches we saw across rural KY were large, amongst a very flat land that didn't seem to have many inhabitants.  They could have lived off the main roads, though.   


Thanks for the very interesting history.  Makes a lot of sense.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America
Post by: sparksals on November 18, 2013, 10:19:28 AM
GlitterisMyDrug you must live in the Southwest ; the roadside cross memorials are mainly found there. (Also Central and South America- kids didn't believe me when I described them after coming back from Venezuela as a kid).

We see them plenty here in the Midwest.  Crosses, artificial flowers, balloons, etc.  It can be a sensitive issue as the city/county/state must decide how long to leave the memorial up.


Montana too. 
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: perpetua on November 18, 2013, 10:20:16 AM
Oh, I know, but we're discussing portion sizes and the shock at them by non-USers (or at least I was), and that shocks me. Even our full englishes don't tend to be that huge. I just can't wrap my head around how the restaurants think anyone needs *that* much food in one sitting, especially when it's something you can't box up and take the leftovers home. The wastage must be phenomenal - surely they'd lose less money if they served properly sized portions in the first place, or is the 'bigger is better' attitude so ingrained over there that they won't lure the customers in without it?

Most people who are going to order something like that are going to eat the entire thing. Again it is often eaten by people who have been up and working hard - hard manual labor- for hours.

Most people if they can't finish their meals take home doggie bags.


Well yes, and doggy bags are a great idea, but it would be difficult to take home half an omelette, was my original point. Things that aren't good for reheating, I would imagine, are designed to be eaten in one go in the restaurant rather than taking home.

Quote
And personally I find all this harping on "proper sizes" of meals to be annoying.

I'm sorry you feel like that, but this thread *is* about 'things people couldn't believe about America', and the gigantic portion sizes is something that the rest of the world does tend to see as not-usual and has difficulty wrapping their heads around, for many reasons which would probably be too political or close to the knuckle to get into here.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: sparksals on November 18, 2013, 10:22:40 AM
Quote
Online money transfer between bank is done via cheque – In USA (at least in PA), whenever I want to transfer money to someone, the bank will issue a cheque and post it to the address of the cheque recipient. The recipient will then cash in the cheque. This procedure will take few days normally and applies even to customers who transfer money to another customers within the same bank.

Is this one true?  That is NUTS!


I wish we had the money transfer system so widely used in Canada.  You can literally email money to another person.  It is an instant transfer between banks. 
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: sparksals on November 18, 2013, 10:26:14 AM
Quote
Online money transfer between bank is done via cheque – In USA (at least in PA), whenever I want to transfer money to someone, the bank will issue a cheque and post it to the address of the cheque recipient. The recipient will then cash in the cheque. This procedure will take few days normally and applies even to customers who transfer money to another customers within the same bank.

Is this one true?  That is NUTS!

That's not how it works for everyone.  I can transfer money purely electronically through my bank.  I've not had to wait for someone to receive a check for the amount I sent online.  Chase definitely lets you send account to account payments.


I can set up transfer from bank to bank if I set up the accounts first.  When I went to England, my relatives prepaid for Spamalot and our hotel, so I owed them some money.  Once I returned to the US, I had to set up their bank account number in mine.  It took several days for it to be verified and approved.  Once it was approved, it was a seamless transfer.  I have the same setup for my other bank accounts to go into this one if I need to transfer.


The Canadian version is an instant email.  When planning our reunion in Canada, to make it easy for everyone, people emailed to our designated email address.  There is a password the recipient provides.  The email address has to be on file with the bank.  Works like a charm and is very easy, seamless.  I really wish the US had this system. 
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Jones on November 18, 2013, 10:29:01 AM
I've used account transfers in my credit union many times; it's useful and immediately posts; I haven't tried with a bank before.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Judah on November 18, 2013, 10:29:45 AM
Quote
Online money transfer between bank is done via cheque – In USA (at least in PA), whenever I want to transfer money to someone, the bank will issue a cheque and post it to the address of the cheque recipient. The recipient will then cash in the cheque. This procedure will take few days normally and applies even to customers who transfer money to another customers within the same bank.

Is this one true?  That is NUTS!

This isn't my experience.  I have accounts at a credit union, a small local bank, and a major bank; I can transfer funds electronically from any of them, no checks necessary.  I suppose it's possible that some banks don't offer electronic transfers, but I've been able to do it for years.  People in the U.S. do use paper checks a lot more than people in other countries seem to, though.  I don't know why some of us are so attached to the paper.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: sparksals on November 18, 2013, 10:32:56 AM
Oh, I know, but we're discussing portion sizes and the shock at them by non-USers (or at least I was), and that shocks me. Even our full englishes don't tend to be that huge. I just can't wrap my head around how the restaurants think anyone needs *that* much food in one sitting, especially when it's something you can't box up and take the leftovers home. The wastage must be phenomenal - surely they'd lose less money if they served properly sized portions in the first place, or is the 'bigger is better' attitude so ingrained over there that they won't lure the customers in without it?

Most people who are going to order something like that are going to eat the entire thing. Again it is often eaten by people who have been up and working hard - hard manual labor- for hours.

Most people if they can't finish their meals take home doggie bags.


Well yes, and doggy bags are a great idea, but it would be difficult to take home half an omelette, was my original point. Things that aren't good for reheating, I would imagine, are designed to be eaten in one go in the restaurant rather than taking home.




There isn't anything by design with respect to doggy bags.  Pretty much any place, anywhere, in the US and Canada you can get a doggy bag.  The only exception are buffets.  They don't want people loading up their plate to get it boxed up.


We get doggy bags all the time.  My husband frequently reheats whatever it is for lunch the next day.  I have taken home an uneaten omelette before with no problems in reheating.     
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: MurPl1 on November 18, 2013, 10:40:23 AM
If you think the US is big, check out Canada, which is the 2nd largest country in the world in land mass.  It is very easy to drive across a State or two in the US in one day, but it can take days to drive N/S in a province.   


I was also VERY surprised that the US can be so conservative and have strong religious views.  Coming from Canada, which is very diverse, but still very secular - religion is more private.  I am always surprised by the number of churches here.  We were driving through KY a few years ago and there were churches everywhere, but it was very rural.... I dont' know where the people were coming from for all these churches.


My town in MN has about 10 churches within a few miles.

On the east coast, where the states are much smaller than on the west coast, I can drive from Maine through New Hampshire, then through Massachusetts and Rhode Island and into Connecticut in less than 5 hours.

In Texas, that amount of time might take you to the next city.

As for the churches, don't forget that a good number of the early settlers from Europe came here for religious reasons. The country has a long history of religion affecting the laws, population movement, and popular culture. Stands to reason that religion is very important in many areas of the country.

As for all the churches--many of these small churches have correspondingly small congregations.

One small city I lived in had two Catholic churches, kitty-corner across the street from each other. One was founded by Irish immigrants, the other by Ukrainian immigrants. The small city I live in now once had two Catholic churches, the one founded by Irish immigrants and the one founded by the French Canadian workers who came down to work in the mills. Since at the time all Masses were conducted in Latin, it wasn't just a language barrier that prompted them to form separate churches--I suspect the churches were a stabilizing social force and helped to create community, as well as a place where you could meet people who shared your cultural background.


The churches we saw across rural KY were large, amongst a very flat land that didn't seem to have many inhabitants.  They could have lived off the main roads, though.   


Thanks for the very interesting history.  Makes a lot of sense.

Also, the ones you saw could have all been different denominations (Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran) and may have only had 20 people as members.  Or they could have had a split within the congregation and there are two Baptist churches.  We had that situation here.  Our Baptist church is over 100 years old.  Got a new pastor who wanted to grow the church.  They bought land, built a new church and when the time came, part of the congregation said "no thanks, we're going to stay here in our little church"  So in our town of 18K, we have two Baptist churches within a half mile of each other.  And even with that, there are many Baptists in town I know who travel to other cities for services.  (Our car-centric nature at work ;) )
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Yvaine on November 18, 2013, 10:45:27 AM
You're not required to eat the whole thing right there in the restaurant.

That's another thing that boggled a brain or two, that you can get part of your meal wrapped to go home with you.  On the other hand, my brain is slightly boggled that other countries don't do that.  Sure, the portions are much smaller, but what if you aren't feeling well or the appetizer was more filling than you expected?

Tough.  You don't finish your meal.

Why waste the food? I go to a restaurant, get something yummy, but it's too much to eat in one sitting. No problem! It's lunch tomorrow! If I just leave it, it's landfill.

Or the restaurants could just serve proper portion sizes in the first place. I don't get it. I've just been browsing the menu at Denny's, which was the first US chain that occurred to me off the top of my head. The portion sizes are monstrous and there isn't a single vegetable to be seen, and it really isn't the kind of stuff that would reheat well or even be easy to box up and take home.

The breakfasts in particular grabbed my attention. Do people really eat a 13oz T-bone steak plus eggs, hash browns and toast for breakfast?!

There's something called a 'hearty breakfast skillet'. It's sausage, potatoes, peppers, mushrooms, onions, topped with 2 eggs and cheese. 990 calories.

Or you could have a Philly Cheesesteak Omelette: prime rib, peppers, onions, mushrooms and melted cheese, served with hash browns *and* bread.  890 calories without the bread.

This is breakfast food? These portions are larger than a huge evening meal. My mind really does boggle. I've been watching Man V Food recently, thinking it was all exaggerated for entertainment. Obviously, not so much!

It's largely a profit-driven move rather than a customer-appetite-driven one. Restaurants figured out that they could up the size of meals pretty cheaply but raise the prices out of proportion to how much their own costs went up. And I think one mindset we do have in the US, in general, is wanting to get a bargain and "get our money's worth" out of anything, so if the price is high but it's too much food and we have to take some home, we feel subconsciously like the price was justified and we don't mind that it was hiked.

On top of that, most of us do have a really huge meal occasionally, but not as a constant thing.

But these portion sizes tend to get interpreted in the media as "this is the amount of food that every American eats three times a day," and that's just not so.

ETA: I've also experienced what kherbert mentions about being fussed over if you don't take any home. For the same reasons--it's just not going to keep in a car for hours when I'm traveling, no matter how good it was in the restaurant.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: mime on November 18, 2013, 10:51:12 AM
For a few years in my college days I had a BF from India. His friends back home felt he hadn't *really* been to the US until he saw four things: Disneyworld, Niagra Falls, the Grand Canyon, and Chicago. I'm not sure how that list came to be, but it was the clear impression from both his friends and his family.

He took a lot of teasing after he'd been here five years and had only been to one of those places: Chicago. We were in Minnesota, so Chicago was an easy weekend. The folks back in India didn't grasp that going to the other places was not something we could do in a 2-day weekend, or (in the case of Disneyworld) afford as a couple of college students. It's kind of interesting now that my DH (who is not the college BF) drives 80miles each way to get to work and back, and we don't think much of it.

My BF was also amazed at stories of the civil rights era. He understood this part of our history, but hadn't realized it had been so recent.   :(

I also never quite figured this out, but when I ordered milk at a restaurant once, he was appalled that it came in a glass rather than in a closed container. He told me that if his mother was here, she'd be yelling at management over that. :o  I know it isn't common to order milk here (unless you're a child), but I still don't understand what was so horrible about it.




Oh-- and as for the chocolate: I agree that Hershey's should never be held up as the standard. Unfortunately one has to try a bit to get something decent, but there are some excellent choices: consider Rogue, Chuao, Theo, and Patric.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: MurPl1 on November 18, 2013, 11:50:12 AM
Mime, your comment about the civil rights era prompted me to want to add about the churches.  If Sparksals was in the south there were also likely white and black churches of many several denominations.  Actually, that's common across the country.  They say the most segregated time of the week in the US is Sunday morning.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: sparksals on November 18, 2013, 12:01:55 PM
If you think the US is big, check out Canada, which is the 2nd largest country in the world in land mass.  It is very easy to drive across a State or two in the US in one day, but it can take days to drive N/S in a province.   


I was also VERY surprised that the US can be so conservative and have strong religious views.  Coming from Canada, which is very diverse, but still very secular - religion is more private.  I am always surprised by the number of churches here.  We were driving through KY a few years ago and there were churches everywhere, but it was very rural.... I dont' know where the people were coming from for all these churches.


My town in MN has about 10 churches within a few miles.

On the east coast, where the states are much smaller than on the west coast, I can drive from Maine through New Hampshire, then through Massachusetts and Rhode Island and into Connecticut in less than 5 hours.

In Texas, that amount of time might take you to the next city.

As for the churches, don't forget that a good number of the early settlers from Europe came here for religious reasons. The country has a long history of religion affecting the laws, population movement, and popular culture. Stands to reason that religion is very important in many areas of the country.

As for all the churches--many of these small churches have correspondingly small congregations.

One small city I lived in had two Catholic churches, kitty-corner across the street from each other. One was founded by Irish immigrants, the other by Ukrainian immigrants. The small city I live in now once had two Catholic churches, the one founded by Irish immigrants and the one founded by the French Canadian workers who came down to work in the mills. Since at the time all Masses were conducted in Latin, it wasn't just a language barrier that prompted them to form separate churches--I suspect the churches were a stabilizing social force and helped to create community, as well as a place where you could meet people who shared your cultural background.


The churches we saw across rural KY were large, amongst a very flat land that didn't seem to have many inhabitants.  They could have lived off the main roads, though.   


Thanks for the very interesting history.  Makes a lot of sense.

Also, the ones you saw could have all been different denominations (Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran) and may have only had 20 people as members.  Or they could have had a split within the congregation and there are two Baptist churches.  We had that situation here.  Our Baptist church is over 100 years old.  Got a new pastor who wanted to grow the church.  They bought land, built a new church and when the time came, part of the congregation said "no thanks, we're going to stay here in our little church"  So in our town of 18K, we have two Baptist churches within a half mile of each other.  And even with that, there are many Baptists in town I know who travel to other cities for services.  (Our car-centric nature at work ;) )


They were pretty large churches, not small churches one would expect to see in the country or a rural area.  That is why we were so surprised. 

Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: VorFemme on November 18, 2013, 01:21:15 PM
You're not required to eat the whole thing right there in the restaurant.

That's another thing that boggled a brain or two, that you can get part of your meal wrapped to go home with you.  On the other hand, my brain is slightly boggled that other countries don't do that.  Sure, the portions are much smaller, but what if you aren't feeling well or the appetizer was more filling than you expected?

Tough.  You don't finish your meal.

Why waste the food? I go to a restaurant, get something yummy, but it's too much to eat in one sitting. No problem! It's lunch tomorrow! If I just leave it, it's landfill.

Or the restaurants could just serve proper portion sizes in the first place. I don't get it. I've just been browsing the menu at Denny's, which was the first US chain that occurred to me off the top of my head. The portion sizes are monstrous and there isn't a single vegetable to be seen, and it really isn't the kind of stuff that would reheat well or even be easy to box up and take home.

The breakfasts in particular grabbed my attention. Do people really eat a 13oz T-bone steak plus eggs, hash browns and toast for breakfast?!

There's something called a 'hearty breakfast skillet'. It's sausage, potatoes, peppers, mushrooms, onions, topped with 2 eggs and cheese. 990 calories.

Or you could have a Philly Cheesesteak Omelet: prime rib, peppers, onions, mushrooms and melted cheese, served with hash browns *and* bread.  890 calories without the bread.

This is breakfast food? These portions are larger than a huge evening meal. My mind really does boggle. I've been watching Man V Food recently, thinking it was all exaggerated for entertainment. Obviously, not so much!

A lot of long distance truckers more or less live on breakfast food - it's cheaper than other meals, filling, and is fast to prepare - which means they aren't stuck waiting for a "lunch" or "dinner" item to be prepared that takes two to four times as long.

But the lack of fruits & veggies (unless someone has fruit on their oatmeal and veggies in their omelet) would have an impact over months or years...
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on November 18, 2013, 01:31:55 PM
Quote
Online money transfer between bank is done via cheque – In USA (at least in PA), whenever I want to transfer money to someone, the bank will issue a cheque and post it to the address of the cheque recipient. The recipient will then cash in the cheque. This procedure will take few days normally and applies even to customers who transfer money to another customers within the same bank.

Is this one true?  That is NUTS!

As a Pennsylvanian myself, I can say that this isn't universal.  M and I have accounts in the same bank, and the transfer is applied even before I can log in to my account.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Anniissa on November 18, 2013, 01:32:07 PM

I also never quite figured this out, but when I ordered milk at a restaurant once, he was appalled that it came in a glass rather than in a closed container. He told me that if his mother was here, she'd be yelling at management over that. :o  I know it isn't common to order milk here (unless you're a child), but I still don't understand what was so horrible about it.


Just a guess based on having visited India several times with work - we were told that you should always expect drinks to be delivered in a sealed container (so soft drinks should either be in an unopened can or bottle) to ensure that the contents have not been diluted/adulterated which could cause stomach issues.  Perhaps that was the same concern his mother had warned him about?
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Katana_Geldar on November 18, 2013, 03:00:03 PM
This is particularly an issue with water. In a place like India you'd want bottled water and for it to be unopened.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: hobish on November 18, 2013, 06:23:53 PM
Oh, I know, but we're discussing portion sizes and the shock at them by non-USers (or at least I was), and that shocks me. Even our full englishes don't tend to be that huge. I just can't wrap my head around how the restaurants think anyone needs *that* much food in one sitting, especially when it's something you can't box up and take the leftovers home. The wastage must be phenomenal - surely they'd lose less money if they served properly sized portions in the first place, or is the 'bigger is better' attitude so ingrained over there that they won't lure the customers in without it?

Most people who are going to order something like that are going to eat the entire thing. Again it is often eaten by people who have been up and working hard - hard manual labor- for hours.

Most people if they can't finish their meals take home doggie bags.


Well yes, and doggy bags are a great idea, but it would be difficult to take home half an omelette, was my original point. Things that aren't good for reheating, I would imagine, are designed to be eaten in one go in the restaurant rather than taking home.

Quote
And personally I find all this harping on "proper sizes" of meals to be annoying.

I'm sorry you feel like that, but this thread *is* about 'things people couldn't believe about America', and the gigantic portion sizes is something that the rest of the world does tend to see as not-usual and has difficulty wrapping their heads around, for many reasons which would probably be too political or close to the knuckle to get into here.

There is a difference between “proper” and “different”. The continued insinuation that Americans somehow serve food improperly due to larger portions is off-putting, no matter how different from the rest of the world it may be. I thought this thread was to share differences, not to denigrate them.  ???

Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: MrsJWine on November 18, 2013, 07:05:04 PM
Oh, I know, but we're discussing portion sizes and the shock at them by non-USers (or at least I was), and that shocks me. Even our full englishes don't tend to be that huge. I just can't wrap my head around how the restaurants think anyone needs *that* much food in one sitting, especially when it's something you can't box up and take the leftovers home. The wastage must be phenomenal - surely they'd lose less money if they served properly sized portions in the first place, or is the 'bigger is better' attitude so ingrained over there that they won't lure the customers in without it?

Most people who are going to order something like that are going to eat the entire thing. Again it is often eaten by people who have been up and working hard - hard manual labor- for hours.

Most people if they can't finish their meals take home doggie bags.


Well yes, and doggy bags are a great idea, but it would be difficult to take home half an omelette, was my original point. Things that aren't good for reheating, I would imagine, are designed to be eaten in one go in the restaurant rather than taking home.

Quote
And personally I find all this harping on "proper sizes" of meals to be annoying.

I'm sorry you feel like that, but this thread *is* about 'things people couldn't believe about America', and the gigantic portion sizes is something that the rest of the world does tend to see as not-usual and has difficulty wrapping their heads around, for many reasons which would probably be too political or close to the knuckle to get into here.

There is a difference between “proper” and “different”. The continued insinuation that Americans somehow serve food improperly due to larger portions is off-putting, no matter how different from the rest of the world it may be. I thought this thread was to share differences, not to denigrate them.  ???

This is what I was trying to think of to say. I think curiosity, even surprise is fine. It makes for interesting discussion. It's also understandable because if you think that Americans eat at restaurants every day, or eat the same way at home as they do in restaurants, it can seem obscene. But despite explanations as to why we do things differently, it's been met with borderline disgust by some posters, or at least what seems like it. I love big portions. I'm not a glutton or a slob. I like to take my food home with me to enjoy later; sure, maybe it's not just as good the next day, but it's still enjoyable.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Katana_Geldar on November 18, 2013, 07:24:34 PM
A huge meal on my plate I find positively nauseating, this is also coupled with the 'clean your plate' mentality drummed into me since childhood. DH is trying to break me of this habit, thankfully. Most restaurants we go to have a decent amount of food on them that you can finish there without it being too much or too little.

Unfortunately, there are places that will pile food into your plate and sometimes have a rather high price for doing so. It becomes a game of too much food, we paid quite a bit for it but I'm so full I never want to lay eyes on it again.

Has anyone been to Outback Steakhouse? It's NOT Australian, about as Australian as an American flag, and it has made its way down under.

Here is the local menu, the portions are large but the prices don't increase when you get your bill.

http://outbacksteakhouse.com.au/index.php/foodandmenus
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Lynn2000 on November 18, 2013, 07:27:33 PM
I think we need some more data, like on how often Americans eat out. I eat out every weekday lunch (so, 5), and three to four dinners a week (including leftovers from an "out" meal). I think this is relatively high among people I know; most people I know, especially families on a budget, do a lot more cooking at home and often bring food from home to work for lunch. I'm single and I hate cooking, so. I'd be curious how this compares to other countries.

Katana_Geldar, that's hilarious about Outback opening restaurants in Australia! We have an Outback in town and I love it, but I am under no impression it serves authentic Australian cuisine. :) They do make the servers greet us with "G'day," though.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Katana_Geldar on November 18, 2013, 07:33:35 PM
Just looking at the US menu, they don't even have pavlova for dessert and that's not hard. It's also interesting to see how the menus are structured, there's a strong emphasis on sides on the US one  which doesn't happen here.

Soup and salad? Together? Really?!?

And I was actually asked how Australian that place is, it was the first time I'd ever heard of it so my answer was: "probably not a lot ".
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: MrsJWine on November 18, 2013, 07:35:17 PM
I pretty much expect any American "ethnic" restaurant--especially a chain--to not even remotely resemble authentic cuisine. It is kind of a joke. However, I still really love some of it. My Italian TAs always went into nearly violent outbursts anytime Olive Garden was brought up (can't really blame them, given how much emphasis they place on it being authentic in their commercials), but I still love it. I just don't expect it to be real Italian.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Yvaine on November 18, 2013, 07:35:49 PM


Here is the local menu, the portions are large but the prices don't increase when you get your bill.

http://outbacksteakhouse.com.au/index.php/foodandmenus

Oh!  ;D I didn't mean that US restaurants advertise one price and then surprise you with another that same night. This is a gradual thing. A place, for example, will raise the price of a soda by fifty cents from one year to the next, and increase the size of the soda by 12 ounces, but the extra soda only costs them ten cents. (That's an example and the numbers may not be right.) The same thing happens with some entrees.

Just looking at the US menu, they don't even have pavlova for dessert and that's not hard. It's also interesting to see how the menus are structured, there's a strong emphasis on sides on the US one  which doesn't happen here.

Soup and salad? Together? Really?!?

And I was actually asked how Australian that place is, it was the first time I'd ever heard of it so my answer was: "probably not a lot ".

Soup-and-salad-and-nothing-else is a really common thing in the US. Lots of sandwich-type places have a deal where you can get the soup and a small salad for a low price.

I don't know anyone who thinks Outback is authentic.  ;) It's kind of theme-park Australian.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Dazi on November 18, 2013, 07:40:33 PM
A huge meal on my plate I find positively nauseating, this is also coupled with the 'clean your plate' mentality drummed into me since childhood. DH is trying to break me of this habit, thankfully. Most restaurants we go to have a decent amount of food on them that you can finish there without it being too much or too little.

Unfortunately, there are places that will pile food into your plate and sometimes have a rather high price for doing so. It becomes a game of too much food, we paid quite a bit for it but I'm so full I never want to lay eyes on it again.

Has anyone been to Outback Steakhouse? It's NOT Australian, about as Australian as an American flag, and it has made its way down under.

Here is the local menu, the portions are large but the prices don't increase when you get your bill.

http://outbacksteakhouse.com.au/index.php/foodandmenus

I'm really surprised by the prices on that menu.  I live in tourist central and just about everything on that menu is $5 or more cheaper here.  Just some examples, the mushrooms or blooming onion runs about $8, the grilled mahi mahi is $15, the hamburgers about $8, the chicken alfedo is around $12
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Yvaine on November 18, 2013, 07:42:13 PM
A huge meal on my plate I find positively nauseating, this is also coupled with the 'clean your plate' mentality drummed into me since childhood. DH is trying to break me of this habit, thankfully. Most restaurants we go to have a decent amount of food on them that you can finish there without it being too much or too little.

Unfortunately, there are places that will pile food into your plate and sometimes have a rather high price for doing so. It becomes a game of too much food, we paid quite a bit for it but I'm so full I never want to lay eyes on it again.

Has anyone been to Outback Steakhouse? It's NOT Australian, about as Australian as an American flag, and it has made its way down under.

Here is the local menu, the portions are large but the prices don't increase when you get your bill.

http://outbacksteakhouse.com.au/index.php/foodandmenus

I'm really surprised by the prices on that menu.  I live in tourist central and just about everything on that menu is $5 or more cheaper here.  Just some examples, the mushrooms or blooming onion runs about $8, the grilled mahi mahi is $15, the hamburgers about $8, the chicken alfedo is around $12

I think the Aussie dollar is different.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Katana_Geldar on November 18, 2013, 07:45:07 PM
I meant tips and tax, what you see on that menu is what you pay, no mental arithmetic needed.

And I think it's even less than the theme park version, sort of an American steakhouse that's been attacked by some Aussie flags and animals that decided to stay.

Saying that, DH still wants to take me to the one near us..despite the fact we have two places like it in walking distance.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Dazi on November 18, 2013, 07:49:24 PM
I meant tips and tax, what you see on that menu is what you pay, no mental arithmetic needed.

And I think it's even less than the theme park version, sort of an American steakhouse that's been attacked by some Aussie flags and animals that decided to stay.

Saying that, DH still wants to take me to the one near us..despite the fact we have two places like it in walking distance.

That makes much more sense...shouldn't post when I'm dead on my feet.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: katycoo on November 18, 2013, 08:01:31 PM
A huge meal on my plate I find positively nauseating, this is also coupled with the 'clean your plate' mentality drummed into me since childhood. DH is trying to break me of this habit, thankfully. Most restaurants we go to have a decent amount of food on them that you can finish there without it being too much or too little.

Unfortunately, there are places that will pile food into your plate and sometimes have a rather high price for doing so. It becomes a game of too much food, we paid quite a bit for it but I'm so full I never want to lay eyes on it again.

Has anyone been to Outback Steakhouse? It's NOT Australian, about as Australian as an American flag, and it has made its way down under.

Here is the local menu, the portions are large but the prices don't increase when you get your bill.

http://outbacksteakhouse.com.au/index.php/foodandmenus

I'm really surprised by the prices on that menu.  I live in tourist central and just about everything on that menu is $5 or more cheaper here.  Just some examples, the mushrooms or blooming onion runs about $8, the grilled mahi mahi is $15, the hamburgers about $8, the chicken alfedo is around $12

I think the Aussie dollar is different.

Not much different. Generally speaking we pay more but we also earn more - but Australia is also quite an expensive place to live.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: baglady on November 18, 2013, 08:04:12 PM
I think the word "proper" as it's being used in this thread means more like "appropriate" or "acceptable" -- e.g., "what American restaurants consider a proper serving." Not that other portion sizes are "improper" -- just different.

Some restaurant meals are huge, but they aren't standard everyday fare. That humongous Denny's breakfast may be the only real meal a long-haul trucker eats all day. For many of us who aren't truckers, the big restaurant breakfast is an occasional treat, usually on a weekend, when (a) there's time to eat it, and (b) we're getting to it later than we would breakfast on a weekday -- because we've slept late or gone to church beforehand. Essentially it functions as brunch (combination breakfast and lunch), because nobody's going to be hungry at noon after eating a ginormous breakfast at 9 or 10 a.m.

Which has me wondering: How common is "brunch" in other countries? Here in the U.S. there are places that serve Sunday brunch buffets that include both breakfast and non-breakfast foods -- eggs and bacon and bagels, etc., but also a roast of some kind, pasta dishes, seafood Newburg, veggies and such. The classier ones also serve alcohol -- usually bloody Marys and mimosas. They generally serve from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., so you can get breakfast food, lunch food or both, depending on what you're in the mood for.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: katycoo on November 18, 2013, 08:06:55 PM
Australians love brunch.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Katana_Geldar on November 18, 2013, 08:08:48 PM
Yes , things can be expensive but you save money in other ways. You can get away with having a car here provided you live in the right place. We have a lot of things within walking distance to us or an easy bus ride.

A lot of places do serve late breakfasts on weekends until noon, but it's not usually called brunch. Breakfast is my favorite meal to go out for, it's so leisurely.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Venus193 on November 18, 2013, 08:22:10 PM
Red Lobster has its most common prices on its online menu, but with a footnote that prices are higher in Times Square and in Hawaii.  Uno's does not have prices on its online menu so you need to go to your local one.  Where they don't have cocktail prices on the menu, but we covered that one in another thread.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: katycoo on November 18, 2013, 08:25:53 PM
Yes , things can be expensive but you save money in other ways. You can get away with having a car here provided you live in the right place. We have a lot of things within walking distance to us or an easy bus ride.

The "right place" is often unaffordable in Sydney.

Public transport, if you're using it for all your travel, can also be substantially more expensive and time-sucking than driving.  As someone who commutes a fair bit, though our public transport is relatively wide-reaching it is not necessarily convenient or reliable.

I work and take classes and live in 3 different areas of Sydney.  Once a traffic accident prevented my husband from being able to pick me up.  There was NO public transport option for me, other than a cab, as the last bus ran at 7:00pm.  Anything later than that - you're on your own.  there would be a lot I would be unable to do without a car, but I could get to work and home if my car went kaput.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Katana_Geldar on November 18, 2013, 08:29:07 PM
I used to live in a rural area where the only "public transport" was a private bus company that seemed to run whenever it liked. And it only started running buses on wellness after I left the area.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: MurPl1 on November 18, 2013, 09:01:58 PM
Which has me wondering: How common is "brunch" in other countries? Here in the U.S. there are places that serve Sunday brunch buffets that include both breakfast and non-breakfast foods -- eggs and bacon and bagels, etc., but also a roast of some kind, pasta dishes, seafood Newburg, veggies and such. The classier ones also serve alcohol -- usually bloody Marys and mimosas. They generally serve from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., so you can get breakfast food, lunch food or both, depending on what you're in the mood for.

Around here, almost all brunches offer mimosas or bloody marys.  What I find amusing is the Mexican brunches that have mimosas, Belgian waffles and enchiladas.  Definitely get a variety :)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: MommyPenguin on November 18, 2013, 09:15:02 PM
I think we need some more data, like on how often Americans eat out. I eat out every weekday lunch (so, 5), and three to four dinners a week (including leftovers from an "out" meal). I think this is relatively high among people I know; most people I know, especially families on a budget, do a lot more cooking at home and often bring food from home to work for lunch. I'm single and I hate cooking, so. I'd be curious how this compares to other countries.

Katana_Geldar, that's hilarious about Outback opening restaurants in Australia! We have an Outback in town and I love it, but I am under no impression it serves authentic Australian cuisine. :) They do make the servers greet us with "G'day," though.

I don't know any figures for how often Americans eat out.  But when my husband and I were married without children, we probably ate out 1-3 times a month, with one time being a sit-down dinner and the others being fast food (and generally cheap fast food, we don't usually buy the meals).  Most people I know eat a sit-down dinner at a restaurant at most once a month.  However, there are some people who eat lunch out with some regularity, as much as a couple of times a week, but I think that's more common in the more high-paying jobs.  When I worked at the library, it was not common for somebody to eat out.  At my husband's engineering firm, I'd say a lot of people eat out 1-2 times a week for lunch.  But most of the time it's fast food, not a sit-down restaurant.

I do remember being amused by the part in Bridget Jones's Diary: The Edge of Reason, where she and Mark get back together again and they go to a grocery store to get some things.  He is astounded at the price and asks how long the food will last them.  She estimates about a week.  He is stunned.  Here they are, buying groceries that will last them a week, for the cost of a meal or two at a sit-down restaurant (which is where he, apparently, had been eating all of his meals).
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on November 18, 2013, 09:39:34 PM
We rarely eat out... we used to go to a diner for breakfast once a month, but haven't in almost a year.  (I wanted to stop until my finger healed from the break, and it just sort of never came up again... I think I'll talk to M about it, maybe we can start doing it again.)

However, we do get take-out and fast food occasionally.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: kherbert05 on November 18, 2013, 09:53:26 PM
About large numbers of different churches in smallish towns. In addition to the reasons already given (different races going to different churches, the astronomical numbers of different denominations in the US, splits in churches) In rural areas the town churches often serve a very very large area. The population could go way up over the weekend, when people came into town for marketing and Sunday Services.

VorFemme can correct me if I'm remembering this wrong but in San Angelo, Texas you still can see what are called sunday houses. Ranchers would build these little one room houses with a kitchen in town. They would come in for Saturday Market, stay overnight in the Sunday House, go to church on Sunday and go back to the ranch Sunday Evening.

This one is from Fredricksburg (http://goo.gl/uXq5NQ) - the ones I saw in San Angelo were made of field stone.

http://goo.gl/uXq5NQ (http://goo.gl/uXq5NQ)



As for eating out. I take my own lunch, even though I can get a school lunch for a couple of dollars. If I'm running late I get kolaches from the place around the corner for breakfast. If I don't have left overs I stop and get something from one of a couple of local places on Wednesday when we have faculty meetings. I would rather go to a local hole in the wall hamburger joint than a well known fast food chain.


Growing up we went out to eat every Saturday, and Mom and Dad had date night on Fridays - but Dad's job actually required him to eat at a customer's restaurant every Friday and Saturday evening. We mainly went to local independent places.  Sis and I would confuse non family members - because we often referred to restaurants by the owner's name.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: #borecore on November 19, 2013, 08:36:45 AM
"the average U.S. adult eats 4.8 meals per week in restaurant" (thanks, google)

We probably ate out once a week when we had jobs, sometimes once as a date and once with friends. I also ate in my company cafeteria, where lunches were deducted from my pay, but that was a big perk of the job where the food was amazing and healthy.

Now, as students, we probably eat out twice a month, once with friends and once as a date, and we might pick up coffee or a drink out with friends 2 times a month each. This kind of thing is very much a part of the social fabric around here.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: jedikaiti on November 19, 2013, 09:20:01 AM
Quote
Online money transfer between bank is done via cheque – In USA (at least in PA), whenever I want to transfer money to someone, the bank will issue a cheque and post it to the address of the cheque recipient. The recipient will then cash in the cheque. This procedure will take few days normally and applies even to customers who transfer money to another customers within the same bank.

Is this one true?  That is NUTS!

This isn't my experience.  I have accounts at a credit union, a small local bank, and a major bank; I can transfer funds electronically from any of them, no checks necessary.  I suppose it's possible that some banks don't offer electronic transfers, but I've been able to do it for years.  People in the U.S. do use paper checks a lot more than people in other countries seem to, though.  I don't know why some of us are so attached to the paper.

Me either. I haven't purchased checks for any of my accounts in YEARS.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: VorFemme on November 19, 2013, 10:12:01 AM
About large numbers of different churches in smallish towns. In addition to the reasons already given (different races going to different churches, the astronomical numbers of different denominations in the US, splits in churches) In rural areas the town churches often serve a very very large area. The population could go way up over the weekend, when people came into town for marketing and Sunday Services.

VorFemme can correct me if I'm remembering this wrong but in San Angelo, Texas you still can see what are called sunday houses. Ranchers would build these little one room houses with a kitchen in town. They would come in for Saturday Market, stay overnight in the Sunday House, go to church on Sunday and go back to the ranch Sunday Evening.

This one is from Fredricksburg (http://goo.gl/uXq5NQ) - the ones I saw in San Angelo were made of field stone.

http://goo.gl/uXq5NQ (http://goo.gl/uXq5NQ)



As for eating out. I take my own lunch, even though I can get a school lunch for a couple of dollars. If I'm running late I get kolaches from the place around the corner for breakfast. If I don't have left overs I stop and get something from one of a couple of local places on Wednesday when we have faculty meetings. I would rather go to a local hole in the wall hamburger joint than a well known fast food chain.


Growing up we went out to eat every Saturday, and Mom and Dad had date night on Fridays - but Dad's job actually required him to eat at a customer's restaurant every Friday and Saturday evening. We mainly went to local independent places.  Sis and I would confuse non family members - because we often referred to restaurants by the owner's name.

I remember seeing the owners of Zetner's Steakhouse and Zetner's Daughter's Steakhouse (she ate at a restaurant where I was waiting tables and told ME to comp her table because she'd comped the table for the owner's of the place I was working earlier that week - something that is not up to the waitress & the owner said "she have to pay" - so I got chewed out by Zetner's daughter - not a happy memory of San Angelo in the 1970s for me). 

But the steaks were good...Western Skies was incredible...the memories....

San Angelo knew how to handle a steak, I'll have to admit.  And the steaks at Rowena's Steakhouse were literally as large as the plates (which were small oval meat platters, not plates) - the fries (potato) came on a second plate and it was full, too.  I had my 22nd birthday dinner there, with VorGuy, just after we graduated college the end of May.  Good steaks!
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Elfmama on November 19, 2013, 10:42:10 AM
I remember seeing the owners of Zetner's Steakhouse and Zetner's Daughter's Steakhouse (she ate at a restaurant where I was waiting tables and told ME to comp her table because she'd comped the table for the owner's of the place I was working earlier that week - something that is not up to the waitress & the owner said "she have to pay" - so I got chewed out by Zetner's daughter - not a happy memory of San Angelo in the 1970s for me). 

But the steaks were good...Western Skies was incredible...the memories....

San Angelo knew how to handle a steak, I'll have to admit.  And the steaks at Rowena's Steakhouse were literally as large as the plates (which were small oval meat platters, not plates) - the fries (potato) came on a second plate and it was full, too.  I had my 22nd birthday dinner there, with VorGuy, just after we graduated college the end of May.  Good steaks!
DH's memory of Zetner's was a bit different.  He ordered a steak very rare.  Waitress tried to argue with him, but took the order.  Steak came out medium well, just barely pink in the middle.  DH sent it back.  Waitress popped out again in just a couple of minutes, slapped the plate down in front of him, then stepped back and crossed her arms.  DH cuts into the steak, and it's immediately obvious that the cook has slapped the steak on the grill, let it go sizzle sizzle sizzle, turned it over and repeated the sizzle sizzle sizzle, and served it up.  DH turns to the waitress and says "Perfect!" and starts chowing down.  And her mouth fell open.  She expected him to send it back again, because basically the man is eating raw meat. 

(This is a perennial arguement with him.  He insists that it's not raw, it's rare.  I say that if it's still cold and red in the middle, that part is RAW.)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: cwm on November 19, 2013, 11:06:17 AM
(This is a perennial arguement with him.  He insists that it's not raw, it's rare.  I say that if it's still cold and red in the middle, that part is RAW.)

Well, technically you're both not right. It's not rare, it's not raw, it's blue.

http://www.colinmcnulty.com/blog/images/cook-a-steak-blue-rare-medium-welldone.jpg

A blue steak is one that's barely seared on the outside, vaguely lukewarm on the inside.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: sparksals on November 19, 2013, 12:17:31 PM
Just looking at the US menu, they don't even have pavlova for dessert and that's not hard. It's also interesting to see how the menus are structured, there's a strong emphasis on sides on the US one  which doesn't happen here.

Soup and salad? Together? Really?!?

And I was actually asked how Australian that place is, it was the first time I'd ever heard of it so my answer was: "probably not a lot ".


Pavlova is definitely an Australian thing.  My sister lives in Australia and until I went to visit her from Canada, I had never heard of it. 


It is very common in Canada and the US to have soup and salad together.   They are also paired together at restaurants for a 'quick lunch' kind of schtick.  Just because you don't eat soup and salad together doesn't mean it is not done elsewhere and very common... as it is in North America. 



Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: magicdomino on November 19, 2013, 01:46:17 PM
Soup and salad is the way to go when you want a light meal instead of those huge main dishes. 
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: MrsJWine on November 19, 2013, 02:10:49 PM
I like it because it's nice and filling and stays with me (unless it's a thinner soup). AND it tends to be less expensive than other dishes in a restaurant.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: jedikaiti on November 19, 2013, 03:32:49 PM
(This is a perennial arguement with him.  He insists that it's not raw, it's rare.  I say that if it's still cold and red in the middle, that part is RAW.)

Well, technically you're both not right. It's not rare, it's not raw, it's blue.

http://www.colinmcnulty.com/blog/images/cook-a-steak-blue-rare-medium-welldone.jpg

A blue steak is one that's barely seared on the outside, vaguely lukewarm on the inside.

My friend's term for that is "show it the grill and scare it a little." Coined after her mother sent back a just-seared-on-the-outside tuna steak for being too well done.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: lady_disdain on November 19, 2013, 06:39:56 PM
Me either. I haven't purchased checks for any of my accounts in YEARS.

Buying checks is something completely alien to me. Here, the bank supplies checkbooks.

And one in reverse. Some people seem to think that the USA is the only large country. I took my parents on a long trip to the USA, from Miami up to Boston mainly by car. More than a few Americans took pity on me and told me it would take a long time. Yup, I was quite aware: we were taking 4 weeks to do it. They insisted that I didn't have an idea of how large the USA is.

Yes, I do. I come from a country that is larger than the continental US. I planned a lot of trips in my life. Cue jaws dropping and people saying "but America is huge." Yes. So are several other countries.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Bethczar on November 19, 2013, 06:55:45 PM
(This is a perennial arguement with him.  He insists that it's not raw, it's rare.  I say that if it's still cold and red in the middle, that part is RAW.)
A blue steak is one that's barely seared on the outside, vaguely lukewarm on the inside.
And totally delicious!  I generally order my steak "as rare as you will serve it".
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Onyx_TKD on November 19, 2013, 07:34:22 PM
And one in reverse. Some people seem to think that the USA is the only large country. I took my parents on a long trip to the USA, from Miami up to Boston mainly by car. More than a few Americans took pity on me and told me it would take a long time. Yup, I was quite aware: we were taking 4 weeks to do it. They insisted that I didn't have an idea of how large the USA is.

Yes, I do. I come from a country that is larger than the continental US. I planned a lot of trips in my life. Cue jaws dropping and people saying "but America is huge." Yes. So are several other countries.

They thought it would take more than 4 weeks to drive from Miami to Boston?  :o Please, please tell me that you had described weeks worth of sight-seeing plans along the way or that they misheard it as 4 days. My family has many times driven SC to NY over only two days with at least one several-hour sight-seeing stop along the way. Google maps predicts only 22-24 hours driving time for the Miami-to-Boston trip--sure, it's a lot of driving, but not when spread over 4 weeks!
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: lady_disdain on November 19, 2013, 07:50:03 PM
I think some just glossed over the time, some reacted  immediately, before I could describe our plans ("oh-oh, another foreigner who thinks she can get from Miami to Boston in a couple of hours"). And, yes, we did all sorts of wonderful things along the way: Savannah, Charleston, Asheville, the Blue Ridge mountains, Civil War sites, Pennsylvania, DC, Baltimore, NYC, etc. But the second part of the trip was by train, since I did not want to drive into NYC.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: jedikaiti on November 19, 2013, 09:14:04 PM
Me either. I haven't purchased checks for any of my accounts in YEARS.

Buying checks is something completely alien to me. Here, the bank supplies checkbooks.

And one in reverse. Some people seem to think that the USA is the only large country. I took my parents on a long trip to the USA, from Miami up to Boston mainly by car. More than a few Americans took pity on me and told me it would take a long time. Yup, I was quite aware: we were taking 4 weeks to do it. They insisted that I didn't have an idea of how large the USA is.

Yes, I do. I come from a country that is larger than the continental US. I planned a lot of trips in my life. Cue jaws dropping and people saying "but America is huge." Yes. So are several other countries.

Miami to Boston in 4 weeks is a really leisurely trip. Sounds like fun.

In my experience, banks in the USA provide only a few starter checks, and if you need more, you buy them. When I used checks, I would usually buy mine from an outside vendor.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: #borecore on November 19, 2013, 09:16:47 PM
My bank provides checks, as did my other banks in the past. If you want "cute" checks, they cost something extra, though.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: dawbs on November 19, 2013, 09:22:44 PM
My bank provides checks, as did my other banks in the past. If you want "cute" checks, they cost something extra, though.

IME, checks from the bank cost an arm and a leg.
You can get checks from an outside place (cute or otherwise) for 1/10th the cost.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Elfmama on November 19, 2013, 09:23:31 PM
Me either. I haven't purchased checks for any of my accounts in YEARS.
Buying checks is something completely alien to me. Here, the bank supplies checkbooks.
In my experience, banks in the USA provide only a few starter checks, and if you need more, you buy them. When I used checks, I would usually buy mine from an outside vendor.
Our credit union will give you free checks, but only the plain safety paper ones.  Most people who still use checks want fun pictures on them, so they buy them, either from the bank/credit union, or from an online dealer.

Most of our regular bills are paid electronically. DH still writes 4 or 5 paper checks a month, as his weekly donation to his church.  They keep urging him to let them do weekly electronic transfers, but neither of us like the idea of letting someone else have access to our account.  Especially since the church's last pastor left under implications of  "financial mismanagement." 
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Library Dragon on November 19, 2013, 10:22:15 PM
(This is a perennial arguement with him.  He insists that it's not raw, it's rare.  I say that if it's still cold and red in the middle, that part is RAW.)
A blue steak is one that's barely seared on the outside, vaguely lukewarm on the inside.
And totally delicious!  I generally order my steak "as rare as you will serve it".

I assure my servers that I'm happy if my steak moos a little.

DH and I were reminiscing that when we were first married and living in Germany it was cheaper for us to eat out than at home. 

My non US friends vary greatly on perception.

Our German friends are shocked at the low cost of housing here in the gulf states. 
Our Belgian friends are surprised not at the amount, but how inexpensive it is to eat out.
In Italy I've been teased about how seriously Americans take religion or encountered shock that we go to church at all.  The nun who wanted to serve a nice roast beef on a Friday during Lent. When reminded her comment was, "Oh, you Americans are so strict."

Churches here split over big and small issues.  In the 70s one local church was featured in Life Magazine. The congregation split over the issue of a member who wore a bathing suit in a beauty pageant.  The elders wanted her disfellowshipped and those who disagreed formed their own church.  Soon after lightning struck the original church. 
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: katycoo on November 19, 2013, 10:30:21 PM
Me either. I haven't purchased checks for any of my accounts in YEARS.
Buying checks is something completely alien to me. Here, the bank supplies checkbooks.
In my experience, banks in the USA provide only a few starter checks, and if you need more, you buy them. When I used checks, I would usually buy mine from an outside vendor.
Our credit union will give you free checks, but only the plain safety paper ones.  Most people who still use checks want fun pictures on them, so they buy them, either from the bank/credit union, or from an online dealer.

Most of our regular bills are paid electronically. DH still writes 4 or 5 paper checks a month, as his weekly donation to his church.  They keep urging him to let them do weekly electronic transfers, but neither of us like the idea of letting someone else have access to our account.  Especially since the church's last pastor left under implications of  "financial mismanagement."

I have never had to pay for cheques, and I've also never seen or heard of 'fun' cheques.  I don't think they're available here.

Re donations to church etc, here setting up an electronic donation wouldn't require giving the church access to our account.  They wouldn't come in and take the money like a service provider, but rather we would have it set up to send over whatever amount we set it to.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: MommyPenguin on November 19, 2013, 10:46:08 PM
I think some just glossed over the time, some reacted  immediately, before I could describe our plans ("oh-oh, another foreigner who thinks she can get from Miami to Boston in a couple of hours"). And, yes, we did all sorts of wonderful things along the way: Savannah, Charleston, Asheville, the Blue Ridge mountains, Civil War sites, Pennsylvania, DC, Baltimore, NYC, etc. But the second part of the trip was by train, since I did not want to drive into NYC.

4 weeks definitely doesn't sound bad to me!  We drove from Alabama to Maryland in about 14 hours, driving straight through.  And we've done Maryland to Boston, about 9 hours driving straight through.  Of course, I've never done both in a row.  14 hours is enough for me.  :)

My husband and I are considering driving from Virginia to California (and back) for my brother's wedding.  We'd probably take a month, at least, to do it.  The sightseeing would be cool, but... that's a lot of driving with small people.  We might also consider flying Space A, so I think I will root for that.  :)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: lady_disdain on November 19, 2013, 10:56:58 PM
I can solicit one or two checkbooks per month, free, from the bank (I am not sure since I don't use a checkbook a year, let alone a month). Buying checks from outside vendors is unheard of. Quite honestly, I am not sure I understand the concept of wanting a cute check. I won't be looking at it much, the people who receive them won't care, as long as they don't bounce. I prefer the uniformity, since it makes it harder for scammers (they can't just order checks in my name based on real checks I wrote). The bank will only send them to my confirmed address.

I guess this is a real "what you are used to" subject.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: baglady on November 20, 2013, 12:21:06 AM
I buy checks online because it's quicker and cheaper than ordering them through the bank. I buy a fairly simple design, although I have been tempted by some of the cute ones.

I've found non-Americans' perceptions of travel times in the U.S. to vary wildly. One person may see a car trip from New York to Florida as taking several days (I know people who have done it in one solid day of driving, although most will factor in a motel stay and do it over two), while another is surprised to discover that Niagara Falls isn't just a short hop from New York City.

Heck, I *am* American, and this sort of thing trips me up on occasion. I can get from Albany to Boston in about three hours, so I was shocked to learn that I couldn't take a similar day trip from San Jose to Los Angeles, or Phoenix to the Grand Canyon.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: katycoo on November 20, 2013, 12:34:02 AM
Oohh, I just thought of another one:

That it is common for entire rooms in USA houses to not have inbuilt lighting and must be lit via lamp.

So strange.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: iridaceae on November 20, 2013, 03:44:41 AM
Oohh, I just thought of another one:

That it is common for entire rooms in USA houses to not have inbuilt lighting and must be lit via lamp.

So strange.

It's a fad. My apartment is mainly "light the room yourself" and it annoys me. But because some idiot fashion designer or other liked it.....
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Margo on November 20, 2013, 04:09:16 AM
How does buying checks from an online dealer work? Here (UK) I get cheques from my bank - they are pre-printed with my bank details and cheque number. Do you have to give the dealer all your bank details to get checks? Or register them with you bank so they know that they are genuine?

Some banks do offer the option of different cheque designs - I have a chequebook for one of my accounts where the cheques have pictures of wild birds on them (I requested this option because I have two accounts with the same bank, and having different designs on the cheques means I can't accidentally write a cheque from the wrong account)

I don't know how many banks have this option as I haven't ever asked any of the other banks I have accounts with, but based on the cheques we get in at work from people paying their bills I don't think it is very common.

You don't pay for chequebooks here. My banks all automatically send a new chequebook out when you get close to the end of the book, unless you have manually disabled that  option (I have - I prefer to order online when I need a new chequebook, as that way, I know when to expect one so I will know if one were to go missing in the post)

I think most banks do offer variations such as left-handed chequebooks.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: camlan on November 20, 2013, 05:15:08 AM
Oohh, I just thought of another one:

That it is common for entire rooms in USA houses to not have inbuilt lighting and must be lit via lamp.

So strange.

I can think of two reasons for this, in addition to what iridaceae said.

One, it is cheaper to build houses or apartments without built-in lighting. Especially in large apartment complexes, the builders save money on paying people to run the wiring, the wiring itself and the light fixtures. For one house, it's not that much money; for a complex of 200 apartments, it's a lot.

Two, older houses. Mine was built in 1900 and originally had gas lighting. Usually, when older houses were electrified around here, the wiring was simply run through the old gas lines. Not in this house. With the plaster walls and ceilings, the two rooms that do now have overhead lighting only have it because the ceiling was lowered, to allow for running the wires.

It doesn't bother me much, because I prefer lamps.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Dazi on November 20, 2013, 05:22:55 AM
How does buying checks from an online dealer work? Here (UK) I get cheques from my bank - they are pre-printed with my bank details and cheque number. Do you have to give the dealer all your bank details to get checks? Or register them with you bank so they know that they are genuine?

Some banks do offer the option of different cheque designs - I have a chequebook for one of my accounts where the cheques have pictures of wild birds on them (I requested this option because I have two accounts with the same bank, and having different designs on the cheques means I can't accidentally write a cheque from the wrong account)

I don't know how many banks have this option as I haven't ever asked any of the other banks I have accounts with, but based on the cheques we get in at work from people paying their bills I don't think it is very common.

You don't pay for chequebooks here. My banks all automatically send a new chequebook out when you get close to the end of the book, unless you have manually disabled that  option (I have - I prefer to order online when I need a new chequebook, as that way, I know when to expect one so I will know if one were to go missing in the post)

I think most banks do offer variations such as left-handed chequebooks.

I don't know about others, but my bank has an approved outside vendor for their checks.  You go to the banks website, log into your account, then click on the order checks icon and it takes you to the check website.  All the details are auto imported from my bank directly to the check website.  I only have to pick my check design and font design, check all the spellings are correct, and confirm what I want.  The payment is taken directly from my bank account too.

It's super easy.  Plus it's fun to tease my DH that I ordered something like Care Bears, My Little Pony, or Hello Kitty checks.   >:D
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Hmmmmm on November 20, 2013, 08:59:05 AM
Me either. I haven't purchased checks for any of my accounts in YEARS.
Buying checks is something completely alien to me. Here, the bank supplies checkbooks.
In my experience, banks in the USA provide only a few starter checks, and if you need more, you buy them. When I used checks, I would usually buy mine from an outside vendor.
Our credit union will give you free checks, but only the plain safety paper ones.  Most people who still use checks want fun pictures on them, so they buy them, either from the bank/credit union, or from an online dealer.

Most of our regular bills are paid electronically. DH still writes 4 or 5 paper checks a month, as his weekly donation to his church.  They keep urging him to let them do weekly electronic transfers, but neither of us like the idea of letting someone else have access to our account.  Especially since the church's last pastor left under implications of  "financial mismanagement."

I have never had to pay for cheques, and I've also never seen or heard of 'fun' cheques.  I don't think they're available here.

Re donations to church etc, here setting up an electronic donation wouldn't require giving the church access to our account.  They wouldn't come in and take the money like a service provider, but rather we would have it set up to send over whatever amount we set it to.

With our bank and our church we can do it either way. We can set up an auto-transfer to them, or manually transfer to them.

Or we can give them the ability to set up an auto debit of our account. The church obviously prefers they set up the auto debit as it assures the monthly tithing ;).

Between DH and I, we write about 25 checks a year. Most of those are for things like buying school or youth fundraiser stuff.

I seldom have cash. I use a debit or credit card everywhere. We were at a Polish festival a few months ago that had vendors selling crafts. Each of them had a credit card processor attached to their cell phones so even then I didn't need cash but could use either a debit or credit card.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: nutraxfornerves on November 20, 2013, 09:45:16 AM
Quote
That it is common for entire rooms in USA houses to not have inbuilt lighting and must be lit via lamp.
Somewhere in this thread I mentioned a Brazilian visitor who wondered at all the fire truck activity. He also commented on the lighting. What he noticed was how dimly-lit American homes seemed to him. Where he lived, rooms, especially common rooms such as sitting or dining rooms, usually had bright, overhead fluorescent lights. The American preference for dimness (from his perspective) or warmth & coziness (from the perspective of many Americans) was puzzling.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: MommyPenguin on November 20, 2013, 10:05:48 AM
Quote
That it is common for entire rooms in USA houses to not have inbuilt lighting and must be lit via lamp.
Somewhere in this thread I mentioned a Brazilian visitor who wondered at all the fire truck activity. He also commented on the lighting. What he noticed was how dimly-lit American homes seemed to him. Where he lived, rooms, especially common rooms such as sitting or dining rooms, usually had bright, overhead fluorescent lights. The American preference for dimness (from his perspective) or warmth & coziness (from the perspective of many Americans) was puzzling.

My husband and I are not fans of dimness/coziness.  We really prefer overhead lighting.  But it's an expensive pain to put in later!  We've done it several times.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: cwm on November 20, 2013, 10:35:56 AM
Re: checks, my credit union does offer cheap checks past the starter checks. The free checks are reserved for employees. I know this because by a strict technicality (CU has majority ownership stake in my company) I am an employee.

Re: overhead lighting, the apartment I lived in before (and nearly every other apartment I've been in) only has overhead lighting in the bedrooms where there's a ceiling fan and they already had to run power to it. Usually hallways, kitchens, and bathrooms have overhead lighting, and bedrooms with no fans and any other living area (dining room, living room) don't have any built-in lighting.

The apartment I'm in now has overhead lighting in the bedroom, but with no fan, lighting in the bathroom, kitchen, and the hallway, but nothing in the living room. It's the only place I've seen where they light the bedroom without a fan, and the only lamp I have is a bedside table lamp. It's perched on the back of the TV, and whenever I'm at home in the evenings I'll have to open the blinds to the patio and turn that light on, in addition to the lamp, hallway light, and kitchen light. That's the only way I have to light the living room a sufficient amount to get by.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: lady_disdain on November 20, 2013, 11:49:40 AM
Quote
That it is common for entire rooms in USA houses to not have inbuilt lighting and must be lit via lamp.
Somewhere in this thread I mentioned a Brazilian visitor who wondered at all the fire truck activity. He also commented on the lighting. What he noticed was how dimly-lit American homes seemed to him. Where he lived, rooms, especially common rooms such as sitting or dining rooms, usually had bright, overhead fluorescent lights. The American preference for dimness (from his perspective) or warmth & coziness (from the perspective of many Americans) was puzzling.

Fluorescent lights? Where in Brazil was he from? In my experience (having lived in several states and having friends from all social classes), it is very rare to see fluorescent lights in homes and, then, only in kitchens. They are much more expensive and fiddly to set up.
Title: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: VorFemme on November 20, 2013, 02:07:32 PM
Oohh, I just thought of another one:

That it is common for entire rooms in USA houses to not have inbuilt lighting and must be lit via lamp.

So strange.

It's a fad. My apartment is mainly "light the room yourself" and it annoys me. But because some idiot fashion designer or other liked it.....

Houses that I lived in growing up built before 1975 or so had a ceiling fixture in the middle of the room - there might have been outlets for lamps, but they were "reading lights" or similar for extra lighting.

Our first house bought new in 1979?  Had ceiling lights in the hallway, dressing room in the master suite, the kitchen & the dining room, lights over the mirror in the bathrooms, and then were sconces on either side of the fireplace in the "family" room.

The entry hall, bedrooms and front living room had light switches that controlled a wall socket - so you had to do something with lamps, install a light fixture & swag a chain & cord to the wall outlet, or figure out something yourself.  It cut short unpacking the day we moved in, as it got dark & we realized that half the light switches in the house controlled NOTHING, unless you plugged a lamp in.  We owned none, because we'd been in a house built just after WWII that had ceiling lights in every room in the house.  I'm not sure that we owned a single lamp until the next day...wait - one small one that I'd had a teenager, for a bedside lamp.  Lil Sis had a matching one on her side of the bed - I have no memory of what happened to those small glass lamps with yellow roses on the milk glass shades...but the one was moved to the bedroom so we could get the bed made to go to sleep that night!
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Katana_Geldar on November 20, 2013, 02:26:01 PM
That wouldn't work in our place at all, we have very few power points here and they all have single sockets. Thank goodness for overhead lights.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: turtleIScream on November 20, 2013, 02:46:16 PM
I have never lived in a house with overhead lighting in the living room (Midwest US). The houses were built in 1920, 1968, 1994, 1992, 1945, and 1962. Our 1940's house did have built-in switched wall sconces, but we still had to supplement with lamps. Of the people we know, the only built in lighting in the living room tends to be accent lights over the fireplace, certainly not designed to light the whole room. Only my ILs have full overhead lighting, in the form of commercial looking fluorescents, which I find very harsh and glaring.

The aversion to overhead lights seems to only exist in living/family rooms.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: jedikaiti on November 20, 2013, 02:50:19 PM
How does buying checks from an online dealer work? Here (UK) I get cheques from my bank - they are pre-printed with my bank details and cheque number. Do you have to give the dealer all your bank details to get checks? Or register them with you bank so they know that they are genuine?

Some banks do offer the option of different cheque designs - I have a chequebook for one of my accounts where the cheques have pictures of wild birds on them (I requested this option because I have two accounts with the same bank, and having different designs on the cheques means I can't accidentally write a cheque from the wrong account)

I don't know how many banks have this option as I haven't ever asked any of the other banks I have accounts with, but based on the cheques we get in at work from people paying their bills I don't think it is very common.

You don't pay for chequebooks here. My banks all automatically send a new chequebook out when you get close to the end of the book, unless you have manually disabled that  option (I have - I prefer to order online when I need a new chequebook, as that way, I know when to expect one so I will know if one were to go missing in the post)

I think most banks do offer variations such as left-handed chequebooks.

I don't know about others, but my bank has an approved outside vendor for their checks.  You go to the banks website, log into your account, then click on the order checks icon and it takes you to the check website.  All the details are auto imported from my bank directly to the check website.  I only have to pick my check design and font design, check all the spellings are correct, and confirm what I want.  The payment is taken directly from my bank account too.

It's super easy.  Plus it's fun to tease my DH that I ordered something like Care Bears, My Little Pony, or Hello Kitty checks.   >:D

When I did it, I would have to include a voided check with my order, and the printer would copy the bank details from that.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Hmmmmm on November 20, 2013, 02:54:43 PM
Overhead lighting...

Most of the homes I've lived in were built in the 1960's. They all had overhead lighting in all rooms (kitchen, dining, breakfast, bedrooms, studies, family rooms) except the formal living rooms. Overhead lighting was considered too harsh for formal living areas and lamp lighting was considered more flattering.

In apartments, the only room to not have overhead lighting was the family room but most of the newer apartments I've been in have recessed lighting in these rooms too.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Venus193 on November 20, 2013, 03:09:18 PM
My mother's house was built in 1900.  It had no overhead lighting in the living room, which was the least-lit by natural light.  That was a real head-scratcher.
Title: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Two Ravens on November 20, 2013, 03:14:20 PM
I just moved from an apartment with no overhead lighting to a house (built 1984) that has overhead lighting (and ceiling fans!) in every room. We now have way too many lamps.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: MrsJWine on November 20, 2013, 03:44:15 PM
Every place I've lived since I moved out of my parents' house has had very little overhead lighting (1960s apartment, house built in 1908, brand new apartment, and now a house built in the 1950s). I hate it. Sure, we have lamps, but unless you stick one in the middle of your living room, you're going to have a great big dim spot in the middle. I like lots and lots of light. It's still cozy to me as long as it's not fluorescent. Fluorescent lighting makes me slightly nauseated. Blech.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: camlan on November 20, 2013, 04:02:02 PM
Now that I think about it, most of the military housing we lived in when I was a kid had overhead lights in every room. And my parents eventually bought an 1880s Victorian that had chandiliers in both the front and back parlors, and in the dining room.

The bedrooms all had a single wall sconce where the old gaslight used to be, plus a light bulb dangling down from the middle of the ceiling. After a few too many light bulbs got smashed by "accident" in my brothers' rooms, my parents had them all converted to ceiling fixtures. But we still had bedside lamps.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: MurPl1 on November 20, 2013, 04:08:48 PM
I've always had overhead lighting in the homes I've lived in.  I don't much use them except when I need a lot of light, but I sure like having them available.

And to throw in another regional quirk - when we built our house, we made sure every bedroom was pre-wired for ceiling fans, with a separate switch for them and the light part.   It was something I found I loved when I moved to Texas.  Our weather changes constantly so a ceiling fan is nice to keep air circulating.  (in the last three days we've had the heat on/fire going, windows open and the AC on - not all at the same time tho!)  I believe it's a Texas/Southern thing by the other comments I see on Pinterest about those fancy chandeliers in bedrooms. 
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: #borecore on November 20, 2013, 04:14:16 PM
Our early 1900s apartment has overhead lights in all rooms.
My last place had them only in the kitchen and bathroom, as have most of my apartments. I did have another (fairly remodeled) early 20th century home that had overhead lights throughout.

A few places with vaulted ceilings have had lights on ceiling fans in those rooms in addition to the kitchen or bathroom, and my only brand-new place did have lights in all the rooms, mostly ceiling fans.

My husband lived in a 1948 home that only had overhead light in the kitchen, and a vanity light in the bathroom. It wasn't remodeled, and was one of about 60 identical duplexes built as postwar housing. (Funny thing is, I feel like the neighborhood of identical homes has much more character than most suburban developments with 10 or so designs to choose from.)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: perpetua on November 20, 2013, 04:28:10 PM
Looking back at the original article again, something struck me:

"   •   Many schools have orchestras, bands, theaters of a very high, almost professional quality. Free.
"

This. I'm so impressed by the standard of US school bands. I'm sure some are better than others, but take a look at the Langham Creek symphonic wind band. I can't believe they're of school age; it's stunningly good. They're better than some professional wind orchestras.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VR_I4mwEF8

I really don't think you'd find an equivalent here. School bands here are almost an afterthought unless you're at a specialist music college, which I always think is a great shame.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: #borecore on November 20, 2013, 04:30:41 PM
... Again with the O/T, but I had several friends back in the day (before that video) who were in that very band, and incredibly dedicated to boot.

I never know if I'm impressed by music because I know nothing, or because it's actually amazing.  8)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: perpetua on November 20, 2013, 04:32:17 PM
... Again with the O/T, but I had several friends back in the day (before that video) who were in that very band, and incredibly dedicated to boot.

I never know if I'm impressed by music because I know nothing, or because it's actually amazing.  8)

What an amazing experience that must have been. They are stunningly, stunningly good. Their intonation is almost perfect. And that's hard with a wind orchestra.

But yes, I get the impression that music programmes in schools over there are very very good. We could do with a bit more of that in our education system.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: marcel on November 20, 2013, 04:48:27 PM
Me either. I haven't purchased checks for any of my accounts in YEARS.
Buying checks is something completely alien to me. Here, the bank supplies checkbooks.
In my experience, banks in the USA provide only a few starter checks, and if you need more, you buy them. When I used checks, I would usually buy mine from an outside vendor.
Our credit union will give you free checks, but only the plain safety paper ones.  Most people who still use checks want fun pictures on them, so they buy them, either from the bank/credit union, or from an online dealer.

Most of our regular bills are paid electronically. DH still writes 4 or 5 paper checks a month, as his weekly donation to his church.  They keep urging him to let them do weekly electronic transfers, but neither of us like the idea of letting someone else have access to our account.  Especially since the church's last pastor left under implications of  "financial mismanagement."

As I have said here before, I still find the whole concept of using checks bafling. I am 39 years old, and i can only remmebr having seen checks when I was a little kid (and when visiting the US). I have never used checks in my life, since they were already obsolete by the time I became responsible for my own finances. (well, probably at that time some people still used them, but they were definitely not common anymore even then.) Nowadays, most people in the netherlands will hardly know what it is if you give them a check, and definitely don't know what to do with them (except go to your bank and hope they can help you :)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Katana_Geldar on November 20, 2013, 04:50:22 PM
Do people still get paid by cheque? My work did, and a lot of people found it quaint and outdated.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: MurPl1 on November 20, 2013, 04:56:16 PM
I still pay by check because my employees are mostly under 24 and somewhat transient.  They bounce banks with every new offer.  I do have several on direct deposit but many prefer to be able to cash their checks.

Oddly, they also tend to find it odd when a customer wants to pay for their delivery with a check.  We don't take personal checks but we have a few companies that will pay that way.  They seem to find that a little shady or outdated.  But gladly take their paychecks ;)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: PastryGoddess on November 20, 2013, 05:09:58 PM
I still get a paper check from some companies when I take a new contract.  In fact, I'm getting paper checks now, because the company that runs payroll doesn't want to set up direct deposit for the 9 week contract I'm on.

Luckily, my credit union will make the full amount available as long as it's deposited by 4pm EST.

Here is a website for ordering checks http://www.checksunlimited.com/.  There are dozens more like it online
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: katycoo on November 20, 2013, 05:20:10 PM
Most of the homes I've lived in were built in the 1960's. They all had overhead lighting in all rooms (kitchen, dining, breakfast, bedrooms, studies, family rooms) except the formal living rooms. Overhead lighting was considered too harsh for formal living areas and lamp lighting was considered more flattering.

I guess I don't see why its forced?  I mean, nothing is stopping me from adding lamps to my loungeroom and choosing to use those instead of the ceiling lights. But I would prefer to have the option so that if I were doing something that required good light, like a puzzle, I could choose.

Except that I would always use the overhead lights because I personally prefer things to be as bright as humanly possible.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Hmmmmm on November 20, 2013, 05:47:07 PM
Most of the homes I've lived in were built in the 1960's. They all had overhead lighting in all rooms (kitchen, dining, breakfast, bedrooms, studies, family rooms) except the formal living rooms. Overhead lighting was considered too harsh for formal living areas and lamp lighting was considered more flattering.

I guess I don't see why its forced?  I mean, nothing is stopping me from adding lamps to my loungeroom and choosing to use those instead of the ceiling lights. But I would prefer to have the option so that if I were doing something that required good light, like a puzzle, I could choose.

Except that I would always use the overhead lights because I personally prefer things to be as bright as humanly possible.

Oh, I think most new homes today have overhead lighting in all rooms. It's usually some type of canned or indirect lighting. Or like us, people in older homes will add some canned overhead lights. Our house was built in the 60's so the formal living didn't have overheads so we put it in. I personally do not like most lamp lighting for day to day life. It's fine when throwing a party but that's pretty much it.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: violinp on November 20, 2013, 06:03:26 PM
Looking back at the original article again, something struck me:

"   •   Many schools have orchestras, bands, theaters of a very high, almost professional quality. Free.
"

This. I'm so impressed by the standard of US school bands. I'm sure some are better than others, but take a look at the Langham Creek symphonic wind band. I can't believe they're of school age; it's stunningly good. They're better than some professional wind orchestras.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VR_I4mwEF8

I really don't think you'd find an equivalent here. School bands here are almost an afterthought unless you're at a specialist music college, which I always think is a great shame.

I was listening to the symphonic orchestra I was a part of in high school (public school - people from top band got to play with the string orchestra), and I realized, for the first time ever, how truly good we were. We could play intricate classical pieces as well arrangements from movie soundtracks like Superman Returns and Pirates of the Caribbean. While I was in high school, I always thought we sucked, because I always heard the mess - ups (and I still can, even after more than 4 years!), but now I realize how very hard those pieces were. Cabbage and I were in one of the best music programs where we lived, and the directors never let up on us or let us be slackers.

Unfortunately, there are even schools in the US where music programs are only an afterthought, and that really saddens me. One of the best things that ever happened to me was joining orchestra in middle school (11 years old), because I got a creative outlet and lots of friends I wouldn't have otherwise had, because I was so bullied otherwise.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: katycoo on November 20, 2013, 06:06:55 PM
Most of the homes I've lived in were built in the 1960's. They all had overhead lighting in all rooms (kitchen, dining, breakfast, bedrooms, studies, family rooms) except the formal living rooms. Overhead lighting was considered too harsh for formal living areas and lamp lighting was considered more flattering.

I guess I don't see why its forced?  I mean, nothing is stopping me from adding lamps to my loungeroom and choosing to use those instead of the ceiling lights. But I would prefer to have the option so that if I were doing something that required good light, like a puzzle, I could choose.

Except that I would always use the overhead lights because I personally prefer things to be as bright as humanly possible.

Oh, I think most new homes today have overhead lighting in all rooms. It's usually some type of canned or indirect lighting. Or like us, people in older homes will add some canned overhead lights. Our house was built in the 60's so the formal living didn't have overheads so we put it in. I personally do not like most lamp lighting for day to day life. It's fine when throwing a party but that's pretty much it.

What do you mean by "canned light"?
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: magicdomino on November 20, 2013, 06:43:42 PM

What do you mean by "canned light"?

Also known as recessed lights.  It's one lamp in a can sunk into the ceiling.

Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Katana_Geldar on November 20, 2013, 07:07:15 PM
Oh, you mean down lights. They're a bit of a fad here. I hate them.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on November 20, 2013, 07:38:30 PM
This house has one room with no overhead light... the rear bedroom.  Instead, one socket (and I do meant one socket... the other one on the same plate is normal) is operated by the light switch.  It's baffling to me.  I prefer lamps, but if you drop something and can't find it, overhead is the way to go!
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: #borecore on November 20, 2013, 08:51:50 PM
This house has one room with no overhead light... the rear bedroom.  Instead, one socket (and I do meant one socket... the other one on the same plate is normal) is operated by the light switch.  It's baffling to me.  I prefer lamps, but if you drop something and can't find it, overhead is the way to go!

Makes sense to me (because I've lived it). You don't want the switch to control both things plugged into the socket. What if you have a lamp in one (which you'd want to turn on when you walked in) and an alarm clock or computer in the other, and someone flicks the switch without thinking?
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Elfmama on November 20, 2013, 10:23:09 PM
... Again with the O/T, but I had several friends back in the day (before that video) who were in that very band, and incredibly dedicated to boot.

I never know if I'm impressed by music because I know nothing, or because it's actually amazing.  8)

What an amazing experience that must have been. They are stunningly, stunningly good. Their intonation is almost perfect. And that's hard with a wind orchestra.

But yes, I get the impression that music programmes in schools over there are very very good. We could do with a bit more of that in our education system.
My grandsons all had an opportunity to learn a musical instrument in early elementary grades, about 7 years old.  Usually stringed instruments like violin or viola. We faithfully go to their concerts.  And yes, they are of the quality that you would expect of 7-year-old beginners.  It's...painful.  :-\ There's a lot of squeaking and squawking.

Fortunately 2 of the 4 are more interested in vocal music, and those are much more enjoyable. Oldest grandson M has been in chorus since he was about 8, and now at 15 is very good, even though he now sings bass instead of soprano.  DD2 is really encouraging her 9-year-old son J, since music is something he can still enjoy doing even with his failing eyesight.  He was excitedly telling me about Braille music scores a couple of weeks ago.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on November 21, 2013, 06:10:20 AM
This house has one room with no overhead light... the rear bedroom.  Instead, one socket (and I do meant one socket... the other one on the same plate is normal) is operated by the light switch.  It's baffling to me.  I prefer lamps, but if you drop something and can't find it, overhead is the way to go!

Makes sense to me (because I've lived it). You don't want the switch to control both things plugged into the socket. What if you have a lamp in one (which you'd want to turn on when you walked in) and an alarm clock or computer in the other, and someone flicks the switch without thinking?

The baffling part to me isn't the single socket, that was more for clarification.  It's that you know you want a light to be so essential that you'd control it with a wall switch, and yet you don't go ahead and stick one on the ceiling.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Ereine on November 22, 2013, 12:22:02 AM
I wasn't aware of the lack of overhead lighting before but it has surprised me. I'm in Finland and while I think that it's uncommon to have permanent light fixtures in the ceiling almost every room will have an outlet in the ceiling where you can plug in the ceiling light of your choice.

I always find the European surprise at the size of USA surprising, as it's roughly the size of Europe. But maybe it's different if you live in the really densely populated parts of Western Europe and can't really visualize the size of Europe either (it will take me 12 hours by ferry to Sweden or maybe four hours by high speed train to Russia).
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Dazi on November 22, 2013, 06:23:29 AM
I wasn't aware of the lack of overhead lighting before but it has surprised me. I'm in Finland and while I think that it's uncommon to have permanent light fixtures in the ceiling almost every room will have an outlet in the ceiling where you can plug in the ceiling light of your choice.

I always find the European surprise at the size of USA surprising, as it's roughly the size of Europe. But maybe it's different if you live in the really densely populated parts of Western Europe and can't really visualize the size of Europe either (it will take me 12 hours by ferry to Sweden or maybe four hours by high speed train to Russia).

I thought the US was nearly twice the size of Europe as a whole.  No idea if I'm correct or not, it just seems that I remember hearing that.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Ereine on November 22, 2013, 08:08:03 AM
I got my numbers from Wikipedia which gives the size of USA as 3.79 million sq mi and Europe as 3.9 million sq mi. It obviously depends on the definition of Europe as the one Wikipedia uses includes Russia's European parts and most people usually probably just think about Western Europe and forget large countries like Ukraine. The distance from Rovaniemi (a town in northeastern Europe, in Finnish Lapland) to Lisbon in Southwestern Europe is about the same as the distance between New York City and Los Angeles (actually what surprised me in thos thread was that apparently New York and New England had switched places in my mental map of United States and so I was a bit shocked that Boston was north of NYC).
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: cwm on November 22, 2013, 09:13:05 AM
Looking back at the original article again, something struck me:

"   •   Many schools have orchestras, bands, theaters of a very high, almost professional quality. Free.
"

This. I'm so impressed by the standard of US school bands. I'm sure some are better than others, but take a look at the Langham Creek symphonic wind band. I can't believe they're of school age; it's stunningly good. They're better than some professional wind orchestras.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VR_I4mwEF8

I really don't think you'd find an equivalent here. School bands here are almost an afterthought unless you're at a specialist music college, which I always think is a great shame.

I was listening to the symphonic orchestra I was a part of in high school (public school - people from top band got to play with the string orchestra), and I realized, for the first time ever, how truly good we were. We could play intricate classical pieces as well arrangements from movie soundtracks like Superman Returns and Pirates of the Caribbean. While I was in high school, I always thought we sucked, because I always heard the mess - ups (and I still can, even after more than 4 years!), but now I realize how very hard those pieces were. Cabbage and I were in one of the best music programs where we lived, and the directors never let up on us or let us be slackers.

Unfortunately, there are even schools in the US where music programs are only an afterthought, and that really saddens me. One of the best things that ever happened to me was joining orchestra in middle school (11 years old), because I got a creative outlet and lots of friends I wouldn't have otherwise had, because I was so bullied otherwise.

In my school city we had amazing bands and orchestras in the city, as well as a healthy youth symphony program. Starting in grade 7, I began doing weekly rehearsals outside of school for the youth symphony, working my way up to the top orchestra. I actually got the chance to tour Italy with this group while I was in high school, and I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was the best experience I've ever been given in my entire life. I made a lot of good friends and gained a lot of amazing stories to tell.

The really weird thing is, private school doesn't have the same opportunity for music that the public schools do. I switched from a parochial school to public in grade 5, and started in band. My sister was two years behind me, and the next year in grade 4 she got the option to join orchestra. See, I couldn't join in grade 5 because everyone else had been working on their instruments for a year already.

Though perhaps someone in the UK could help me understand something. Perpetua says there's no equivalent, but when I was in Italy, there were several youth organizations represented. It was a huge music festival, and I have the poster at mom's house, but I distinctly remember when we played in Florence, the Bromley Youth Wind Band played right after us. Is that a specialist group?
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: nutraxfornerves on November 22, 2013, 09:52:12 AM
Here is a map that shows most of Western Europe overlaid on the US.
http://goeurope.about.com/od/europeanmaps/l/bl-country-size-comparison-map.htm

Here is North America overlaid on Europe:
http://www.radicalcartography.net/index.html?us-europe

And here is Australia plunked down on top of various other regions
http://www.personally-selected-aboriginal-art.com/australian-maps.html
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: perpetua on November 22, 2013, 09:54:55 AM
Though perhaps someone in the UK could help me understand something. Perpetua says there's no equivalent, but when I was in Italy, there were several youth organizations represented. It was a huge music festival, and I have the poster at mom's house, but I distinctly remember when we played in Florence, the Bromley Youth Wind Band played right after us. Is that a specialist group?

There is, but often they're not attached to individual schools. The Bromley Youth Wind Band looks to be an independent organisation. Sometimes they have some local funding but a lot of organisations like this are community bands in which members pay a sub to attend.

Again, I'd imagine it depends where you grow up here, too. Where I grew up there wasn't much in the way of music services; there was a peripatetic music teacher who came to the school once a week and we could have individual lessons with him, and there was a youth wind symphony and an orchestra, which were made up of players from all the schools in the district with rehearsals on Saturday mornings in the gym of one of the bigger local schools. I got into that because it was conducted by my music teacher and it was great.

Then there's somewhere like London, where you've got things like the LSSO (London Schools Symphony Orchestra). A player in our orchestra (I mentioned her in the thread someone posted about second hand instruments - the French Horn player) has just auditioned for the LSSO. It's an intensive programme that runs in the school holidays.

Things may have changed since I was at school, about six thousand years ago, but in my school there certainly wasn't anything like the 'music programme' you hear about in US schools. It would be very rare for an individual school to have its own band to the standard of something like Langham Creek (although they look pretty big, so perhaps they're made up of kids from lots of different schools? I don't know), although you might find that kind of standard in the district-run services as described above.

Possibly as a result of all this, community music is very alive and well in the UK. Many decently sized towns have a concert band - which is usually either a brass band or a symphonic wind band. Some of them are of an extremely high standard (others not so much!), and some of these organisations are big enough to have training bands, up through which young players can move to join the main band. When you get into the bigger towns and cities, you'll find several. London has absolutely tons of them, from symphonic wind bands to amateur orchestras to chamber ensembles to the London gay Big Band. They're usually run as charitable concerns and members pay a sub to belong to them, which pays for the running costs. I really like them; I think community music is very important.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: cwm on November 22, 2013, 10:11:48 AM
Thanks for the clarification!

Yeah, we do have a great music program in schools, and in my city we did have the youth symphony programs, but we're sadly lacking in community music. There's the symphony, but that's actually professional musicians, and very hard to get into. Then there are a few various civic bands, but they're the people who can't get into the symphony and still want to be professional musicians. I don't have the time for that. Rehearsals are for several hours a week, and the music they play is very nearly on par with the symphony. I'm not at that level, and honestly I don't want to put in that much work for the return of the stress of being told it's not good enough. I'd like a real small community band, just to get together for fun and do high school level music, but they don't exist.

And yes, I know that the director of the biggest community band/orchestra says that to his people on a regular basis. When I was in HS, my sister's flute teacher was a part of it and invited her on for a piece where they needed 2 piccolos and 2 flutes (oh! the horror!), and sis said that nothing was good enough. Her teacher was also in the symphony, and a lot of people in this band were alternates for the symphony at the time. She said she'd never audition for that group in her life, and wanted out as soon as the one concert was done.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: perpetua on November 22, 2013, 03:41:15 PM
Thanks for the clarification!

Yeah, we do have a great music program in schools, and in my city we did have the youth symphony programs, but we're sadly lacking in community music. There's the symphony, but that's actually professional musicians, and very hard to get into. Then there are a few various civic bands, but they're the people who can't get into the symphony and still want to be professional musicians. I don't have the time for that. Rehearsals are for several hours a week, and the music they play is very nearly on par with the symphony. I'm not at that level, and honestly I don't want to put in that much work for the return of the stress of being told it's not good enough. I'd like a real small community band, just to get together for fun and do high school level music, but they don't exist.


Oh, I know what you mean. I did a few rehearsals with a community band of a very high standard, like the civic bands you describe, and while the music was great, I didn't enjoy it one bit. They were all a bit up themselves and snooty; I far prefer  the one I play with regularly, which isn't as good technically but the people are lovely and we have a laugh and all feel very invested in it. I get far more out of that than I ever would out of something very professional. The kind of bands you'd enjoy are all over the place in the UK and I'm very glad about that!

Saw this in another thread: Black Friday. It's a completely mindboggling concept. We don't have it (because we don't do Thanksgiving, I guess) but we do get to see news clips of people queueing up for hours outside stores and then barging in like they're running the 100m sprint when the doors open and fighting over stuff. I really don't get it: people risking injury to get 50 bucks off something they probably don't need in the first place.

The closest we get to it are the after-Xmas sales - which used to be "January Sales" but now start on Boxing Day - and you probably want to avoid the high street around that time if you don't like crowds or queueing at the checkout for ages, but you generally don't see anything like the frenzy that you see on Black Friday.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Lynn2000 on November 22, 2013, 03:48:33 PM
One thing I kept thinking about was the comment in the original article from, I think, someone in Russia, who found it difficult to understand Americans' high level of charitable giving. S/he said that in Russia, if people saw someone giving to a charity like that, they would think the person was either being scammed, or was somehow acting in their own best interest but in a convoluted way. (I'm paraphrasing from memory, so I hope I've rendered it accurately.)

That kind of made me feel good, since a lot of the things on the list were kind of negative about America. I have heard before that we have one of the highest rates of charitable giving in the world, and I think that's great. Of course there are still ways for people to be rude about it or to do it foolishly, but I feel like it's a positive attribute, at least.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Katana_Geldar on November 22, 2013, 04:02:09 PM
That might be a relic of communism. You had to look after your own interests as no one else would.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: MurPl1 on November 22, 2013, 06:01:43 PM
Thanks for the clarification!

Yeah, we do have a great music program in schools, and in my city we did have the youth symphony programs, but we're sadly lacking in community music. There's the symphony, but that's actually professional musicians, and very hard to get into. Then there are a few various civic bands, but they're the people who can't get into the symphony and still want to be professional musicians. I don't have the time for that. Rehearsals are for several hours a week, and the music they play is very nearly on par with the symphony. I'm not at that level, and honestly I don't want to put in that much work for the return of the stress of being told it's not good enough. I'd like a real small community band, just to get together for fun and do high school level music, but they don't exist.


...

Saw this in another thread: Black Friday. It's a completely mindboggling concept. We don't have it (because we don't do Thanksgiving, I guess) but we do get to see news clips of people queueing up for hours outside stores and then barging in like they're running the 100m sprint when the doors open and fighting over stuff. I really don't get it: people risking injury to get 50 bucks off something they probably don't need in the first place.

The closest we get to it are the after-Xmas sales - which used to be "January Sales" but now start on Boxing Day - and you probably want to avoid the high street around that time if you don't like crowds or queueing at the checkout for ages, but you generally don't see anything like the frenzy that you see on Black Friday.

It mind-boggles many of us here in the US too.  And to be honest, it's only gotten so crazy in probably the last 15-20 yrs.  I remember my husband's niece and her mom making plans to go out in the morning after Thanksgiving about then and the rest of us thinking that was over the top.  And that was pretty rare in our circle. 

DH and I did "Black Friday" one year.  Only because we were building a new house and we were able to get 20% off a washer, dryer and fridge.  That was worth it to me to get up at 5AM.   
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Elfmama on November 22, 2013, 06:26:02 PM
The closest we get to it are the after-Xmas sales - which used to be "January Sales" but now start on Boxing Day - and you probably want to avoid the high street around that time if you don't like crowds or queueing at the checkout for ages, but you generally don't see anything like the frenzy that you see on Black Friday.
Part of the frenzy is that people are looking for bargains for Xmas gifts.  Since your Boxing Day sales are immediately afterward, there isn't the impetus of "MUST GET XBOX FOR KIDS!!!!!!!"(http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s46/Vinnyd4/FranticSmiley.gif)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: MommyPenguin on November 22, 2013, 07:02:18 PM
Thanks for the clarification!

Yeah, we do have a great music program in schools, and in my city we did have the youth symphony programs, but we're sadly lacking in community music. There's the symphony, but that's actually professional musicians, and very hard to get into. Then there are a few various civic bands, but they're the people who can't get into the symphony and still want to be professional musicians. I don't have the time for that. Rehearsals are for several hours a week, and the music they play is very nearly on par with the symphony. I'm not at that level, and honestly I don't want to put in that much work for the return of the stress of being told it's not good enough. I'd like a real small community band, just to get together for fun and do high school level music, but they don't exist.


...

Saw this in another thread: Black Friday. It's a completely mindboggling concept. We don't have it (because we don't do Thanksgiving, I guess) but we do get to see news clips of people queueing up for hours outside stores and then barging in like they're running the 100m sprint when the doors open and fighting over stuff. I really don't get it: people risking injury to get 50 bucks off something they probably don't need in the first place.

The closest we get to it are the after-Xmas sales - which used to be "January Sales" but now start on Boxing Day - and you probably want to avoid the high street around that time if you don't like crowds or queueing at the checkout for ages, but you generally don't see anything like the frenzy that you see on Black Friday.

It mind-boggles many of us here in the US too.  And to be honest, it's only gotten so crazy in probably the last 15-20 yrs.  I remember my husband's niece and her mom making plans to go out in the morning after Thanksgiving about then and the rest of us thinking that was over the top.  And that was pretty rare in our circle. 

DH and I did "Black Friday" one year.  Only because we were building a new house and we were able to get 20% off a washer, dryer and fridge.  That was worth it to me to get up at 5AM.

I remember being a kid or maybe a teenager (so maybe the 90s?) watching a news story about it on TV, and being really confused about why people were shopping for Christmas already and what they were fighting over.  So I know it had at least started in some places by the 90s.  I'm not sure that it had gotten so bad with people waking up super early and pushing into each other, but it was at least about stores opening somewhat early and people doing shopping in the morning.

My husband likes to do Black Friday sometimes.  He's talked about making a bit of money by bringing one of those giant jugs of hot chocolate and selling it to people waiting in line.  :)  Sometimes he'll go out Thanksgiving night.  Usually he's being computer-ish stuff, hard drives and disks and things like that.  Never any of the really big ticket items that sell out, like laptops or TVs.  With buying normal stuff, you often have to wait in line, but you don't have to worry too much about being first through.  The last couple of years, a lot of retailers will go through the line and give tickets for any of the really big, limited items, like TVs or laptops.  They'll start at the front of the line, ask the #1 person if they wanted any of those items, and if they did, then they'll give them a ticket.  They move down the line until they run out of tickets, representing that they've run out of items.  Then there's less need for people to push each other as they go into the store, because they already have their ticket, so they know they'll get their item.  If there's fighting in line, they'll generally send all fighters to the end, unless non-involved people around speak up and tell them who started it, so that minimizes inducement to cut in line.

I'll go out on Black Friday sometimes, too, but I won't stand in line ahead of time.  I'll arrive when they open (sometimes the line is still pouring in, so I have to wait briefly as people walk in, but that's not long) and get what I need.  The last few years I really haven't had anything I'm interested in.  LEGOs rarely go on much of a sale.  <sigh>
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: baglady on November 22, 2013, 08:28:52 PM
Black Friday as a capital-E Event is a fairly recent thing. It's always been a big Christmas shopping day because lots of people have that day off, and many people aren't ready to think about doing Christmas shopping -- or Christmas anything -- until Thanksgiving is over.

The wee-hours store openings, "doorbuster" deals (usually a very limited supply of a hot product at a killer price), and people lining up for hours beforehand is a relatively new development. In recent years, some stores have even taken to opening on Thanksgiving Day itself.

Anyone watch "South Park"? They've been having fun with the Black Friday mania thing the past couple of weeks.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: perpetua on November 23, 2013, 11:25:10 AM
DH and I did "Black Friday" one year.  Only because we were building a new house and we were able to get 20% off a washer, dryer and fridge.  That was worth it to me to get up at 5AM.

See. to me, 20% off is just not enough of a bargain to warrant the risk of injury or to deal with that level of craziness. Perhaps appliances are more expensive over there so the discount is greater, I don't know, but here buying average appliances, as in, not top of the range or anything. that probably wouldn't even add up to a Ł100 saving altogether, and how much is the insurance excess if you end up in hospital with a broken leg because the crazy person behind you has decided she WILL go home with a fridge if it kills her? :)

Now if they were selling iPads for Ł4.99 or something, I could perhaps understand it. But even then, I'd want to shake them and say "Nobody needs 'stuff' *this* much!! Life isn't all about 'stuff'!!'
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: #borecore on November 23, 2013, 11:34:15 AM
DH and I did "Black Friday" one year.  Only because we were building a new house and we were able to get 20% off a washer, dryer and fridge.  That was worth it to me to get up at 5AM.

See. to me, 20% off is just not enough of a bargain to warrant the risk of injury or to deal with that level of craziness. Perhaps appliances are more expensive over there so the discount is greater, I don't know, but here buying average appliances, as in, not top of the range or anything. that probably wouldn't even add up to a Ł100 saving altogether, and how much is the insurance excess if you end up in hospital with a broken leg because the crazy person behind you has decided she WILL go home with a fridge if it kills her? :)

Now if they were selling iPads for Ł4.99 or something, I could perhaps understand it. But even then, I'd want to shake them and say "Nobody needs 'stuff' *this* much!! Life isn't all about 'stuff'!!'

If you're putting it into numerical terms, the chance of getting injured is probably on the order of 1 in a million or rarer, so I don't think that works as a concrete excuse for avoiding the scene. Simple fear or something makes more sense than stats, I think (and I certainly wouldn't blame you for being uncomfortable!).

I have gone Black Friday shopping with my mother before and had fun, and she always does a half-dozen or so stores, but for now I'm glad to leave it to her for now because I just don't have anything I need/want to buy.

If we had a few hundred dollars free to buy a smaller laptop for either of us, I might consider standing in line for one. A (few) hundred dollars in savings for a few hours of sitting around on a day when I don't have to work or be anywhere the next morning seems more than worth it to me.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: perpetua on November 23, 2013, 11:40:43 AM
DH and I did "Black Friday" one year.  Only because we were building a new house and we were able to get 20% off a washer, dryer and fridge.  That was worth it to me to get up at 5AM.

See. to me, 20% off is just not enough of a bargain to warrant the risk of injury or to deal with that level of craziness. Perhaps appliances are more expensive over there so the discount is greater, I don't know, but here buying average appliances, as in, not top of the range or anything. that probably wouldn't even add up to a Ł100 saving altogether, and how much is the insurance excess if you end up in hospital with a broken leg because the crazy person behind you has decided she WILL go home with a fridge if it kills her? :)

Now if they were selling iPads for Ł4.99 or something, I could perhaps understand it. But even then, I'd want to shake them and say "Nobody needs 'stuff' *this* much!! Life isn't all about 'stuff'!!'

If you're putting it into numerical terms, the chance of getting injured is probably on the order of 1 in a million or rarer, so I don't think that works as a concrete excuse for avoiding the scene. Simple fear or something makes more sense than stats, I think (and I certainly wouldn't blame you for being uncomfortable!).

Yeah, I was being slightly hyperbolic there, admittedly. It's not that I'm uncomfortable with it or scared of it, I just find it completely baffling that people will stand around in line for hours and get into fights to give their money to a big corporation for things they mostly don't need in the first place and probably wouldn't have bought anyway had they not seen the 20% off flyer. It's classic marketing: corporations whipping up a frenzy so people will give them their money for stuff they didn't know they needed until they saw the ads and thought 'gotta get me one of those!' Same with the January sales over here.

But then I'm not big on consumerism and the pursuit of material things. It's just 'stuff'.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: jedikaiti on November 23, 2013, 11:41:07 AM
If I had the cash free and there was an offer for 20% off a very nice washer dryer set! or a gas stove that made my husband drool, then I might consider doing the Black Friday line thing. Maybe.
Title: Re: People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Jones on November 23, 2013, 11:57:56 AM
I've taken my kids Black Friday shopping, including DS in my little chest-carrier when he was 7 months old; never worried about people in a frenzy or getting injured, because that just doesn't happen on that day in my town. There are a LOT of shoppers, but generally they stay polite and fun about the whole thing. Honestly without the friendly, crowded "we're all in on this" atmosphere, combined with random entertaining competitive folks that the rest of us roll our eyes over, I probably would have given up on it ages ago.

I've heard of injury in other places, but not here, and not in the town in another state I lived a few years ago either. I'd definitely be willing to wait in line for an hour to two hours to get a new stove for 20% off (at least $100-$120, depending on the stove?) My time is worth that, easily.

That being said I don't know if I'll go this year, some online pre-Black Friday sales have been good enough that I think I can avoid the store this year and sleep until 7 for once (I'm a 5 AM gal most days of the year).

Unless I want the $3 waffle iron; don't know if I want it enough to go find it, and nothing else, though.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: MommyPenguin on November 23, 2013, 01:33:20 PM
DH and I did "Black Friday" one year.  Only because we were building a new house and we were able to get 20% off a washer, dryer and fridge.  That was worth it to me to get up at 5AM.

See. to me, 20% off is just not enough of a bargain to warrant the risk of injury or to deal with that level of craziness. Perhaps appliances are more expensive over there so the discount is greater, I don't know, but here buying average appliances, as in, not top of the range or anything. that probably wouldn't even add up to a Ł100 saving altogether, and how much is the insurance excess if you end up in hospital with a broken leg because the crazy person behind you has decided she WILL go home with a fridge if it kills her? :)

Now if they were selling iPads for Ł4.99 or something, I could perhaps understand it. But even then, I'd want to shake them and say "Nobody needs 'stuff' *this* much!! Life isn't all about 'stuff'!!'

If you're putting it into numerical terms, the chance of getting injured is probably on the order of 1 in a million or rarer, so I don't think that works as a concrete excuse for avoiding the scene. Simple fear or something makes more sense than stats, I think (and I certainly wouldn't blame you for being uncomfortable!).

Yeah, I was being slightly hyperbolic there, admittedly. It's not that I'm uncomfortable with it or scared of it, I just find it completely baffling that people will stand around in line for hours and get into fights to give their money to a big corporation for things they mostly don't need in the first place and probably wouldn't have bought anyway had they not seen the 20% off flyer. It's classic marketing: corporations whipping up a frenzy so people will give them their money for stuff they didn't know they needed until they saw the ads and thought 'gotta get me one of those!' Same with the January sales over here.

But then I'm not big on consumerism and the pursuit of material things. It's just 'stuff'.

Do keep in mind that people can also shop on Black Friday without necessarily doing the line thing, or even getting there bright and early.  You can go shopping at 10, or 2, or whatever, if your items aren't the super amazing deals.  I wouldn't really imagine appliances like fridges and dishwashers being something that would sell out right at opening, not the way that electronics like laptops do.  So you could probably just go shopping sometime that day and get yourself a good deal.

A fridge is usually at least $800, can be $2000 if you are getting a nice one.  So 20% off would mean saving $160-400.  That could definitely be worth dragging yourself out the day after Thanksgiving.  :)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: #borecore on November 23, 2013, 01:36:27 PM
And honestly, the things that aren't quite shockingly low-priced may also be good deals. I got a full set of decent towels for $1-$2 each once; that's not necessarily the kind of thing people knock down the doors for, so I was able to get them late in the afternoon on the Friday (or maybe even Saturday--all I recall is that Target wasn't a madhouse when I went).
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: perpetua on November 23, 2013, 01:42:28 PM
DH and I did "Black Friday" one year.  Only because we were building a new house and we were able to get 20% off a washer, dryer and fridge.  That was worth it to me to get up at 5AM.

See. to me, 20% off is just not enough of a bargain to warrant the risk of injury or to deal with that level of craziness. Perhaps appliances are more expensive over there so the discount is greater, I don't know, but here buying average appliances, as in, not top of the range or anything. that probably wouldn't even add up to a Ł100 saving altogether, and how much is the insurance excess if you end up in hospital with a broken leg because the crazy person behind you has decided she WILL go home with a fridge if it kills her? :)

Now if they were selling iPads for Ł4.99 or something, I could perhaps understand it. But even then, I'd want to shake them and say "Nobody needs 'stuff' *this* much!! Life isn't all about 'stuff'!!'

If you're putting it into numerical terms, the chance of getting injured is probably on the order of 1 in a million or rarer, so I don't think that works as a concrete excuse for avoiding the scene. Simple fear or something makes more sense than stats, I think (and I certainly wouldn't blame you for being uncomfortable!).

Yeah, I was being slightly hyperbolic there, admittedly. It's not that I'm uncomfortable with it or scared of it, I just find it completely baffling that people will stand around in line for hours and get into fights to give their money to a big corporation for things they mostly don't need in the first place and probably wouldn't have bought anyway had they not seen the 20% off flyer. It's classic marketing: corporations whipping up a frenzy so people will give them their money for stuff they didn't know they needed until they saw the ads and thought 'gotta get me one of those!' Same with the January sales over here.

But then I'm not big on consumerism and the pursuit of material things. It's just 'stuff'.

Do keep in mind that people can also shop on Black Friday without necessarily doing the line thing, or even getting there bright and early.  You can go shopping at 10, or 2, or whatever, if your items aren't the super amazing deals.  I wouldn't really imagine appliances like fridges and dishwashers being something that would sell out right at opening, not the way that electronics like laptops do.  So you could probably just go shopping sometime that day and get yourself a good deal.

A fridge is usually at least $800, can be $2000 if you are getting a nice one.  So 20% off would mean saving $160-400.  That could definitely be worth dragging yourself out the day after Thanksgiving.  :)

Wow, that's expensive. They seem to be much cheaper here:

http://www.currys.co.uk/gbuk/household-appliances/refrigeration/fridges/333_3127_30214_xx_xx/xx-criteria.html

Some of them are obviously a bit more expensive but generally, they don't run to that much.  So a 20% saving on some of these things would only be Ł20-30 - totally not worth getting into that scrum for.

It's not the shopping for bargains; that makes good financial sense if it was something you needed anyway. It's the scrum. The frenzy to buy stuff purely *because* it's on sale. There are some really crazy videos on YouTube of 'Black Friday Montages' and half these people don't even look like they care or know what they're buying, as long as they're getting *something* that's on sale just because it's on sale.  Just grabbing random boxes and going "yeah, I got something cheap!!!!" That's just ridiculous.

The other question off the back of this is: are there sales during other times of the year too, or is it limited to Black Friday? Here, retailers tend to have regular sales throughout the year in addition to the January sales (which is just to get rid of post-Xmas stock), so bargain shopping isn't limited to just one period.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: MurPl1 on November 23, 2013, 02:23:25 PM
They run sales all year round.  It used to be January white sales (linens/towels) but now it's pretty much any holiday includes a sale.  But there's not the door buster sales like they have with Black Friday. 

As for the appliance sale - it was limited to the first two hours (5-7) and we didn't wait in line.  As a matter of fact, the appliance staff seemed a little bored.  And we didn't have a line to check out our stuff.  But we could see the line for the electronics from where we were.  easily 25 people with DVDs and games.

We probably saved about $350 for the three items. 
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: camlan on November 23, 2013, 02:31:33 PM
There are sales at other times of the year.

Most stores have weekly sales where certain items are on sale for that week only. The stores send out flyers weekly showcasing what's for sale.

Then there are sales at pretty much all the major holidays. There's the 4th of July sale, the Veterans' Day sale, the Memorial Day sale.

And there are specific sales at certain times of the year. Traditionally, January is when bedding goes on sale. Although you can find sales on specific bedding at other times of the year, January is the traditional month for "white sales," from back when most sheets were plain white. Winter clothing also goes on sale in January. In August, there are huge "back to school" sales, which include all sort of school and dorm supplies, and a lot of stuff that is only tangentially related to back-to-school. December has lots of toy sales and sales of small electronics.

And just before a holiday or special event, there will be sales on the typical foods for that event. Hot dogs and hamburgers for 4th of July, turkeys for Thanksgiving and Christmas, ham for Easter, lots of snack foods and nibbles and munchies right before the Super Bowl (the final football game of the season).

What makes Black Friday so big is that in the past several years, stores have been putting a limited number of some items on sale at greatly reduced prices. So 25 of a specific computer at 40% off. Once those 25 are gone, the rest may still be on sale, but for only 15% off. Or the store might have only had 25 to begin with. Then the stores open hours early. It's all hype to get people into the stores. Once they are in the store, they will tend to buy something, even if what they came to buy is sold out. It's all psychology. It gets the store in the news, it gets more people into the store and the stores hope it all increases overall sales.

I spend Black Friday eating Thanksgiving leftovers, writing my Christmas cards and baking the first of the Christmas cookies. Fighting through the crowds, getting up early on a rare day off--these are not my thing.

There's a backlash movement starting called "Plaid Friday." It's about encouraging people to shop at their local, small businesses and not at the huge chain big-box stores. Plaid Friday is the same day as Black Friday, with local shops having special promotions to encourage people to shop there. It's part of the "Buy Local" campaign that has sprung up in recent years.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Elfmama on November 23, 2013, 02:59:55 PM
Yeah, I was being slightly hyperbolic there, admittedly. It's not that I'm uncomfortable with it or scared of it, I just find it completely baffling that people will stand around in line for hours and get into fights to give their money to a big corporation for things they mostly don't need in the first place and probably wouldn't have bought anyway had they not seen the 20% off flyer.
Not just hours.  DAYS.  There are people that are at this very minute camped outside big box stores so that they will be first in line when it opens on the Big Sale.

Yes, most of us ALSO think they are crazy!
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: MrsJWine on November 23, 2013, 03:23:27 PM
I think it's completely nuts. But some people think it's fun. As long as you're not attacking and trampling other people to get your stuff, I see it as a little weird but ultimately harmless. Many of us also think World Cup fervor is pretty crazy. :)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: kherbert05 on November 23, 2013, 03:25:21 PM
Me either. I haven't purchased checks for any of my accounts in YEARS.
Buying checks is something completely alien to me. Here, the bank supplies checkbooks.
In my experience, banks in the USA provide only a few starter checks, and if you need more, you buy them. When I used checks, I would usually buy mine from an outside vendor.
Our credit union will give you free checks, but only the plain safety paper ones.  Most people who still use checks want fun pictures on them, so they buy them, either from the bank/credit union, or from an online dealer.

Most of our regular bills are paid electronically. DH still writes 4 or 5 paper checks a month, as his weekly donation to his church.  They keep urging him to let them do weekly electronic transfers, but neither of us like the idea of letting someone else have access to our account.  Especially since the church's last pastor left under implications of  "financial mismanagement."

As I have said here before, I still find the whole concept of using checks bafling. I am 39 years old, and i can only remmebr having seen checks when I was a little kid (and when visiting the US). I have never used checks in my life, since they were already obsolete by the time I became responsible for my own finances. (well, probably at that time some people still used them, but they were definitely not common anymore even then.) Nowadays, most people in the netherlands will hardly know what it is if you give them a check, and definitely don't know what to do with them (except go to your bank and hope they can help you :)
I use checks in a few situations
1. What I want to buy is over the fraud limit on my debit card. (I have a fraud limit because over the years we have had a couple of theft rings work our school. Some because the school was built open concept and and anyone can walk in off the playground into the courtyard and almost all the classrooms are off the courtyard or because some of our students were used by their parents in the rings)


2. Sometimes my district will only except payment of certain fees via check - like the fee to have a frig, or lamp in your classroom. They go on a cycle - we only take checks - too many bounced checks so we only take cash - employees say their cash payments were stolen so we are only taking checks.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Ereine on November 23, 2013, 03:45:17 PM
I don't think that the crazy consumer behaviour is limited to America. We don't have quite that crazy sales in Finland but there are some that come close (a department store has a sale event called "crazy days" which is aptly named) and there have been near riots when IKEA was selling very cheap sheepskins and when a discount store gave away plastic buckets.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: perpetua on November 23, 2013, 04:19:03 PM
I think it's completely nuts. But some people think it's fun. As long as you're not attacking and trampling other people to get your stuff, I see it as a little weird but ultimately harmless. Many of us also think World Cup fervor is pretty crazy. :)

Yeah, I'm with you on the world cup - I think it's all nonsense. Not all English people are obsessed with football, although a fair few are, I'll grant you that  ;D

I think generally, from the perspective of an outsider - and this is jumping back to the theme of some of the points in the original article - America is seen as a very materialistic culture, with a big emphasis on the acquisition of 'stuff' being a good thing to do. So the Black Friday frenzies kind of fall in with that, in my head. Good to hear some other perspectives from those in the know.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: kherbert05 on November 23, 2013, 04:22:44 PM

There is, but often they're not attached to individual schools. The Bromley Youth Wind Band looks to be an independent organisation. Sometimes they have some local funding but a lot of organisations like this are community bands in which members pay a sub to attend.

Again, I'd imagine it depends where you grow up here, too. Where I grew up there wasn't much in the way of music services; there was a peripatetic music teacher who came to the school once a week and we could have individual lessons with him, and there was a youth wind symphony and an orchestra, which were made up of players from all the schools in the district with rehearsals on Saturday mornings in the gym of one of the bigger local schools. I got into that because it was conducted by my music teacher and it was great.

Then there's somewhere like London, where you've got things like the LSSO (London Schools Symphony Orchestra). A player in our orchestra (I mentioned her in the thread someone posted about second hand instruments - the French Horn player) has just auditioned for the LSSO. It's an intensive programme that runs in the school holidays.

Things may have changed since I was at school, about six thousand years ago, but in my school there certainly wasn't anything like the 'music programme' you hear about in US schools. It would be very rare for an individual school to have its own band to the standard of something like Langham Creek (although they look pretty big, so perhaps they're made up of kids from lots of different schools? I don't know), although you might find that kind of standard in the district-run services as described above.

Possibly as a result of all this, community music is very alive and well in the UK. Many decently sized towns have a concert band - which is usually either a brass band or a symphonic wind band. Some of them are of an extremely high standard (others not so much!), and some of these organisations are big enough to have training bands, up through which young players can move to join the main band. When you get into the bigger towns and cities, you'll find several. London has absolutely tons of them, from symphonic wind bands to amateur orchestras to chamber ensembles to the London gay Big Band. They're usually run as charitable concerns and members pay a sub to belong to them, which pays for the running costs. I really like them; I think community music is very important.
No Langham Creek is a single school 1 of 11 High Schools in the Cy Fair ISD. Cy Fair ISD is 188 sq miles.  I'm pretty sure all of the CFISD High Schools are 5A so they have at least 2,090 students in the school.


The UIL  rankings are used to group similarly sized schools that compete in athletics and other competitions (for example there Band, Orchestra, speech, drama, film, journalism competitons)


They are ranked
6 - Man 99 and smaller for football, basketball, Spring meets (athletics)
1A 199 and smaller
2A 200 - 499
3A 500 - 1,004
4A 1,005 - 2,089
5A 2,0900 and up


In Texas often the largest geographical districts - have the smallest population due to large ranches and/or state and federal land/parks.  Paint Rock has 309 square miles and 214 students not 214 high school students PK - 12 they have 214  students. San Vicente ISD has 1,551 square Miles (part is in a national park) and 1 school for  students PK - 8 High School students are bused to a "neighboring" district. I'm not sure how far/how long their commute is.


Band is often the last art cut in Texas - can you guess why?


Think?






Think a little harder?






What is a religion in Texas?






Yes band is the last art cut - because you MUST have a marching band for the football half time show!
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Onyx_TKD on November 23, 2013, 09:33:44 PM
Wow, that's expensive. They seem to be much cheaper here:

http://www.currys.co.uk/gbuk/household-appliances/refrigeration/fridges/333_3127_30214_xx_xx/xx-criteria.html

Some of them are obviously a bit more expensive but generally, they don't run to that much.  So a 20% saving on some of these things would only be Ł20-30 - totally not worth getting into that scrum for.

I think the difference probably traces back to the differences between the typical US fridge and the typical UK fridge. For example, the typical refrigerator size in the USA tends to be much larger than that in Europe. I believe there's another current eHell thread discussing the differences. US "fridges" are also typically a refrigerator/freezer combination rather than just one or the other. The ones in your link appear to have no freezers, which would considerably reduce the complexity of the appliance. Finally, it's common for US fridges to have a dispenser for filtered water and ice on the front, i.e., on the outside of the door. This adds yet another layer of complexity and design challenge.

I use to work for the refrigerator engineering division of a major appliance company, and the quite expensive models I worked on actually had barely any profit margin. By my understanding, this is common for refrigerators (at least in the USA). They're complicated and expensive to make, so the price is already high enough to be a difficult sell to the consumer with just a small profit margin. The company's main profit came from the other appliances in the kitchen set, but the set wasn't complete (and thus not appealing as a high-end appliance collection) unless it included a matching refrigerator. The goal for the refrigerator division was basically to break even and be self-supporting as opposed to subsidized by the more-profitable appliance lines.

ETA: MommyPenguin mentioned $2000 for a nice refrigerator. The ones in the appliance line I worked on actually ranged from $2500-$4000. 20% off would definitely be nothing to sneeze at. Especially if the fridge wasn't the only appliance you were purchasing.

It's not the shopping for bargains; that makes good financial sense if it was something you needed anyway. It's the scrum. The frenzy to buy stuff purely *because* it's on sale. There are some really crazy videos on YouTube of 'Black Friday Montages' and half these people don't even look like they care or know what they're buying, as long as they're getting *something* that's on sale just because it's on sale.  Just grabbing random boxes and going "yeah, I got something cheap!!!!" That's just ridiculous.

The other question off the back of this is: are there sales during other times of the year too, or is it limited to Black Friday? Here, retailers tend to have regular sales throughout the year in addition to the January sales (which is just to get rid of post-Xmas stock), so bargain shopping isn't limited to just one period.

Keep in mind that the USA is a big country with a lot of people. So for any nationwide event, there will be plenty of extreme behavior to make up some pretty crazy YouTube montages just due to the sheer numbers of participants, even if that behavior is a tiny fraction of what actually goes on. I personally avoid Black Friday, but I don't enjoy either shopping or crowds. I know other people who do enjoy Black Friday. I actually ended up getting taken along on a shopping trip on Black Friday a couple of years ago. We went in the afternoon, so no camping out. The store was very busy and somewhat crowded, but everyone was very polite and considerate. There were pretty substantial sales on a wide range of items, and a long line for the checkouts. Actually, there was quite a bit of friendly chatting and camaraderie among the customers waiting in the line for the cashiers. Certainly not a normal shopping day, but quite sane and well-organized. It's not my cup of tea, but I can see why it would be quite fun for someone who actually enjoys shopping. The folks I went with took a pretty organized-but-laid-back approach to the whole thing. They had a plan of various things they would like to find/check prices for and browsed a little for good deals on stuff that would be useful to them, but also had nothing they were determined to get.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: iridaceae on November 23, 2013, 11:51:50 PM
I love Black Friday shopping. I limit it to things that aren't going to be fought over-like a cheap BluRay player or cheap movies at Best Buy- and go and stand in line. I've had some truly wonderful conversations with fellow line-waiters and enjoy the feel of doing major shopping at 2 AM.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Hillia on November 24, 2013, 11:38:54 AM
The refrigerator discussion is getting long, so I didn't quote it, but here's a pretty basic fridge in teh US:
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Maytag-20-6-cu-ft-Top-Freezer-Refrigerator-in-White-M1TXEGMYW/202851672#.UpI4l8SsiSo (http://www.homedepot.com/p/Maytag-20-6-cu-ft-Top-Freezer-Refrigerator-in-White-M1TXEGMYW/202851672#.UpI4l8SsiSo).  It goes for $598, or 369 pounds.  It's 20.6 cubic feet and has a freezer, compared to the pricier UK fridge in the previous link, which was 13 cubic feet and roughly comparable in price.

I imagine a lot of the difference ties in to earlier threads about the convenience of shopping.  Because Americans can't walk easily to grocery stores as much as folks in the UK can, shopping trips tend to be much more of a bulk purchase/stock up situation, whereas if you can easily stop by the store every day or two to refill fresh produce, dairy, etc, you don't need the giant fridge to store everything.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: perpetua on November 24, 2013, 12:01:11 PM
There's a lot of talk about UK folks going to the shops every day or every other day but I don't know anyone who actually does that. Most people are too busy to do that with work and families and commuting and they'll do a big shop at the weekend in an out-of-town supermarket like Sainsbury's or Tesco or do it online and get it delivered. Most folks shop weekly and some will do it once a month or so and stock up.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: mechtilde on November 24, 2013, 01:17:24 PM
There's a lot of talk about UK folks going to the shops every day or every other day but I don't know anyone who actually does that. Most people are too busy to do that with work and families and commuting and they'll do a big shop at the weekend in an out-of-town supermarket like Sainsbury's or Tesco or do it online and get it delivered. Most folks shop weekly and some will do it once a month or so and stock up.

I often do shop every day- I need to get bread at least every other day and get a few other bits and bobs at the same time. I'm lucky in that I work near some shops and can just pick it up in my lunch break. I'll do a bigger shop every couple of weeks. A lot of it depends on how much freezer space you have and if it is convenient to pick things up near home or work.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: perpetua on November 24, 2013, 01:28:38 PM
There's a lot of talk about UK folks going to the shops every day or every other day but I don't know anyone who actually does that. Most people are too busy to do that with work and families and commuting and they'll do a big shop at the weekend in an out-of-town supermarket like Sainsbury's or Tesco or do it online and get it delivered. Most folks shop weekly and some will do it once a month or so and stock up.

I often do shop every day- I need to get bread at least every other day and get a few other bits and bobs at the same time. I'm lucky in that I work near some shops and can just pick it up in my lunch break. I'll do a bigger shop every couple of weeks. A lot of it depends on how much freezer space you have and if it is convenient to pick things up near home or work.

Oh yeah, I'll pick up bits and pieces every other day or so like bread and milk, but the impression people seem to have on this thread is that we do that exclusively without doing a big shop, when most people I know do, is what I meant. I tend to do a fairly big shop every 2 weeks or so and get it delivered.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: squashedfrog on November 24, 2013, 02:27:09 PM
There's a lot of talk about UK folks going to the shops every day or every other day but I don't know anyone who actually does that. Most people are too busy to do that with work and families and commuting and they'll do a big shop at the weekend in an out-of-town supermarket like Sainsbury's or Tesco or do it online and get it delivered. Most folks shop weekly and some will do it once a month or so and stock up.

***sigh***  that would be me. 
Dh  "Hey squashed frog, we're out of cookies"
Me: Can't be, I bought two packs at the weekend with a four pint of milk and.....
Dh: yeaahhh.... Btw we're out of milk..."

I live in a village where it's impossible to park l so intend to walk and grab a few things I can carry.  We do what's called the big shop every fortnight.   
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: camlan on November 24, 2013, 05:38:27 PM
I think it's completely nuts. But some people think it's fun. As long as you're not attacking and trampling other people to get your stuff, I see it as a little weird but ultimately harmless. Many of us also think World Cup fervor is pretty crazy. :)

Yeah, I'm with you on the world cup - I think it's all nonsense. Not all English people are obsessed with football, although a fair few are, I'll grant you that  ;D

I think generally, from the perspective of an outsider - and this is jumping back to the theme of some of the points in the original article - America is seen as a very materialistic culture, with a big emphasis on the acquisition of 'stuff' being a good thing to do. So the Black Friday frenzies kind of fall in with that, in my head. Good to hear some other perspectives from those in the know.

There's also a movement for "Buy Nothing Day," which is a backlash to Black Friday. Buy Nothing Day is the day after US Thanksgiving, although the day was started by a Canadian. Basically, you just don't buy anything. Or only buy things that you need, like food and gas and the like.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Yvaine on November 24, 2013, 06:21:55 PM
Keep in mind that the USA is a big country with a lot of people. So for any nationwide event, there will be plenty of extreme behavior to make up some pretty crazy YouTube montages just due to the sheer numbers of participants, even if that behavior is a tiny fraction of what actually goes on. I personally avoid Black Friday, but I don't enjoy either shopping or crowds. I know other people who do enjoy Black Friday. I actually ended up getting taken along on a shopping trip on Black Friday a couple of years ago. We went in the afternoon, so no camping out. The store was very busy and somewhat crowded, but everyone was very polite and considerate. There were pretty substantial sales on a wide range of items, and a long line for the checkouts. Actually, there was quite a bit of friendly chatting and camaraderie among the customers waiting in the line for the cashiers. Certainly not a normal shopping day, but quite sane and well-organized. It's not my cup of tea, but I can see why it would be quite fun for someone who actually enjoys shopping. The folks I went with took a pretty organized-but-laid-back approach to the whole thing. They had a plan of various things they would like to find/check prices for and browsed a little for good deals on stuff that would be useful to them, but also had nothing they were determined to get.

This. The "Black Friday is wall-to-wall MMA fighting" thing is yet another thing that's overblown by the media. Is it crowded, sure. But from some of the TV coverage, you'd think getting in a fight was almost inevitable, when really it's the handful of fights each year that make the news. It makes for more sensational TV than people just milling around crowded stores in a civilized fashion.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: scotcat60 on November 25, 2013, 06:50:58 AM
Can you explain Black Friday please?

As to the article, one person said they didn't get why people have fitted carpets.  It's all to do with trends and tastes, a few years ago everyone wanted bare floor boards, but when I was young people aspired to fitted carpets, because lino was a sign of poverty, and bare floorboards were considered even worse. Carpet was a sign that you had a bob or two to spend. I grew up in a house  with solid flooring with scatter rugs, and  it was freezing to stand anywhere but on the rugs. As soon as they could afford it, Mum and Dad got fitted carpet, and I've had it ever since.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: camlan on November 25, 2013, 07:32:27 AM
Black Friday has been the term for the Friday after US Thanksgiving for decades. Two reasons--the heavy traffic on streets and in stores because this is usually considered the first day of the Christmas shopping season. Also, the large amount of sales on this day could turn a business's financial picture around, from loses ("in the red") to profits ("in the black").

There have been special Thanksgiving sales for decades. But in the past 10 years or so, some retailers have had huge markdowns on limited quantities of "hot" items, like the latest gaming system or TV or cool new electronic device. They heavily advertise these sales, and open their stores at odd hours, like 6 am or even midnight, thus attracting lots of shoppers, some of whom will arrive very early to the store, and not coincidentally, lots of media attention.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Katana_Geldar on November 25, 2013, 07:34:39 AM
Scotcat, is that why in the UK you can see carpet in bathrooms?
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on November 25, 2013, 10:04:02 AM
Scotcat, is that why in the UK you can see carpet in bathrooms?

Carpet in bathrooms?  But, one toilet overflow and.. eep... :o
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: RingTailedLemur on November 25, 2013, 10:13:23 AM
Scotcat, is that why in the UK you can see carpet in bathrooms?

Carpet in bathrooms?  But, one toilet overflow and.. eep... :o

I've got Lino in mine but carpet is very common.

I've never had a toilet overflow, nor known anyone it has happened to.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Yvaine on November 25, 2013, 10:23:48 AM
Scotcat, is that why in the UK you can see carpet in bathrooms?

Carpet in bathrooms?  But, one toilet overflow and.. eep... :o

I've got Lino in mine but carpet is very common.

I've never had a toilet overflow, nor known anyone it has happened to.

I wonder if this ties back in with the discussion a few weeks ago about US vs. UK toilets. US toilets are filled much fuller with water, which leads both to fewer skidmarks and more overflows? Everyone I know (in the US) has had a toilet overflow at some point.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Venus193 on November 25, 2013, 10:24:27 AM
I agree.  My mother had carpeting in both her bathroom and kitchen.  She never had the toilet overflow or back up, but I couldn't imagine never dropping anything in the kitchen.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: nutraxfornerves on November 25, 2013, 10:34:07 AM
Although it's widely believed that the term "Black Friday" comes from businesses finally becoming profitable ("in the black") on that day, more recent research has found that this is not true.

The earliest use of "Black Friday" with regard to shopping was in Philadelphia in 1961, where heavy traffic caused problems
Quote
For downtown merchants throughout the nation, the biggest shopping days normally are the two following Thanksgiving Day. Resulting traffic jams are an irksome problem to the police and, in Philadelphia, it became customary for officers to refer to the post-Thanksgiving days as Black Friday and Black Saturday.


The earliest mention of "in the black" is from 1981--also in Philadelphia.

Source (http://www.visualthesaurus.com/cm/wordroutes/the-origins-of-black-friday/)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: RingTailedLemur on November 25, 2013, 12:34:48 PM
Although, talking about water damage, UK bathrooms don't have power outlets (except, occasionally, those "shavers only" things).

It confused me when I couldn't find the promised hairdryer in a hotel room in Canada, until I remembered about the power outlet thing and looked in the bathroom for it (and there it was!)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: GlitterIsMyDrug on November 25, 2013, 12:37:12 PM
Although, talking about water damage, UK bathrooms don't have power outlets (except, occasionally, those "shavers only" things).

It confused me when I couldn't find the promised hairdryer in a hotel room in Canada, until I remembered about the power outlet thing and looked in the bathroom for it (and there it was!)

Where would a hairdryer be in the UK?
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: perpetua on November 25, 2013, 12:45:25 PM
Although, talking about water damage, UK bathrooms don't have power outlets (except, occasionally, those "shavers only" things).

It confused me when I couldn't find the promised hairdryer in a hotel room in Canada, until I remembered about the power outlet thing and looked in the bathroom for it (and there it was!)

Where would a hairdryer be in the UK?

In the bedroom, usually. Or wherever else in the house you want to plug it in. Mine's in the bedroom.

I could never understand why American family houses have so many bathrooms and why US folks always said they needed more than one because they could never get in the bathroom in the morning if there was only one, until I realised that hairdryers/styling devices etc were generally used in there and not in the bedroom.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: GlitterIsMyDrug on November 25, 2013, 12:55:17 PM
Although, talking about water damage, UK bathrooms don't have power outlets (except, occasionally, those "shavers only" things).

It confused me when I couldn't find the promised hairdryer in a hotel room in Canada, until I remembered about the power outlet thing and looked in the bathroom for it (and there it was!)

Where would a hairdryer be in the UK?

In the bedroom, usually. Or wherever else in the house you want to plug it in. Mine's in the bedroom.

I could never understand why American family houses have so many bathrooms and why US folks always said they needed more than one because they could never get in the bathroom in the morning if there was only one, until I realised that hairdryers/styling devices etc were generally used in there and not in the bedroom.

For some reason that seems so odd to me. I've blow dried my hair in other rooms in my house. Heck once I did it out on a patio (long story), so I can understand the the concept of not doing ones hair in the bedroom. But it just feels...odd. It'd take me awhile to adjust.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: perpetua on November 25, 2013, 12:58:58 PM
Not half as odd as it seems to me the other way around! I can't imagine using anything electrical in a room where there's steam and water, it seems terribly dangerous to me, although I'm sure your stuff must be wired differently somehow to make it safe.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: jedikaiti on November 25, 2013, 01:09:55 PM
Not half as odd as it seems to me the other way around! I can't imagine using anything electrical in a room where there's steam and water, it seems terribly dangerous to me, although I'm sure your stuff must be wired differently somehow to make it safe.

Yup! For some time now electrical devices (at least ones likely to be used around water, like hairdryers) have been required to have fault protection built in - if it was made to code, and falls in a sink or tub full of water, it should cease functioning rather than electrocute anyone.

Also, GFCI outlets are increasingly common in kitchens and bathrooms - they're designed to shut off power at the outlet if a similar fault is detected.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: GlitterIsMyDrug on November 25, 2013, 01:16:31 PM
Not half as odd as it seems to me the other way around! I can't imagine using anything electrical in a room where there's steam and water, it seems terribly dangerous to me, although I'm sure your stuff must be wired differently somehow to make it safe.

When I step back and think about, it does seem really unsafe!
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Katana_Geldar on November 25, 2013, 03:02:51 PM
Although, talking about water damage, UK bathrooms don't have power outlets (except, occasionally, those "shavers only" things).

It confused me when I couldn't find the promised hairdryer in a hotel room in Canada, until I remembered about the power outlet thing and looked in the bathroom for it (and there it was!)

Where would a hairdryer be in the UK?

In the bedroom, usually. Or wherever else in the house you want to plug it in. Mine's in the bedroom.

I could never understand why American family houses have so many bathrooms and why US folks always said they needed more than one because they could never get in the bathroom in the morning if there was only one, until I realised that hairdryers/styling devices etc were generally used in there and not in the bedroom.

For some reason that seems so odd to me. I've blow dried my hair in other rooms in my house. Heck once I did it out on a patio (long story), so I can understand the the concept of not doing ones hair in the bedroom. But it just feels...odd. It'd take me awhile to adjust.
I prefer doing my hair in the bedroom, the lights better, I can sit down and I don't leave hair all over the sink. It's also less annoying if there's just one bathroom like at our place.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: RingTailedLemur on November 25, 2013, 05:15:42 PM
I'd love to have a proper dressing table, with a chair and a lighted mirror.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: katycoo on November 25, 2013, 06:04:57 PM
Scotcat, is that why in the UK you can see carpet in bathrooms?

Carpet in bathrooms?  But, one toilet overflow and.. eep... :o

I've got Lino in mine but carpet is very common.

I've never had a toilet overflow, nor known anyone it has happened to.

I wonder if this ties back in with the discussion a few weeks ago about US vs. UK toilets. US toilets are filled much fuller with water, which leads both to fewer skidmarks and more overflows? Everyone I know (in the US) has had a toilet overflow at some point.

It must be.  I'm in the same camp - noone I know has had a toilet overflow and while they can be blocked, noone just owns a plunger.  I assume you can buy one but its not a common household thing as blockages are so uncommon.

Honestly - its sounds like your toilets are more trouble than they're worth - you should change to our system!

Not half as odd as it seems to me the other way around! I can't imagine using anything electrical in a room where there's steam and water, it seems terribly dangerous to me, although I'm sure your stuff must be wired differently somehow to make it safe.

Well - the steam clears pretty quickly from the inbuilt fan and I don't use the hairdryer/other appliances in the shower or bath or with a full sink.  Taps simply being available don't make the bathroom any more dangerous than the kitchen for electrical appliances.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Katana_Geldar on November 25, 2013, 06:09:30 PM
I've only had two toilet overflows in my experience, and that was with a broken or blocked toilet. I'm more worried about damp from the shower in a carpeted bathroom.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Betelnut on November 25, 2013, 06:16:14 PM
I've only had two toilet overflows in my experience, and that was with a broken or blocked toilet. I'm more worried about damp from the shower in a carpeted bathroom.

Yeah, I think I've only had an overflow a few times when I was a kid.  Now, if there is even a remote chance, I plunge the heck out of the toilet and it doesn't overflow.  Carpet in the bathroom is gross because bathrooms are steamy, wet places.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on November 25, 2013, 06:24:12 PM
I've only had two toilet overflows in my experience, and that was with a broken or blocked toilet. I'm more worried about damp from the shower in a carpeted bathroom.

Yeah, I think I've only had an overflow a few times when I was a kid.  Now, if there is even a remote chance, I plunge the heck out of the toilet and it doesn't overflow.  Carpet in the bathroom is gross because bathrooms are steamy, wet places.

It only needs to happen ONCE, though...
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Vall on November 25, 2013, 10:19:49 PM
I've only had two toilet overflows in my experience, and that was with a broken or blocked toilet. I'm more worried about damp from the shower in a carpeted bathroom.
This is what would concern me too.  Are the bathroom carpets treated with an anti-mold and mildew chemical?  Is a special carpet pad needed due to all of the moisture?  When the carpet gets damp, is there an appliance that you can use to dry things out quickly so it doesn't get musty?
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: veryfluffy on November 25, 2013, 11:36:31 PM
Are the bathroom carpets treated with an anti-mold and mildew chemical?  Is a special carpet pad needed due to all of the moisture?  When the carpet gets damp, is there an appliance that you can use to dry things out quickly so it doesn't get musty?

I think they are very synthetic and don't absorb any real moisture -- eg http://www.carpetright.co.uk/range-ocean-carpets.html.

But when I moved into my house, the first thing I did was rip the carpets out of the bathrooms.


Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: jedikaiti on November 26, 2013, 01:33:41 AM
It's not the carpets, it's the padding.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: perpetua on November 26, 2013, 01:48:27 AM
I've only had two toilet overflows in my experience, and that was with a broken or blocked toilet. I'm more worried about damp from the shower in a carpeted bathroom.

Yeah, I think I've only had an overflow a few times when I was a kid.  Now, if there is even a remote chance, I plunge the heck out of the toilet and it doesn't overflow.  Carpet in the bathroom is gross because bathrooms are steamy, wet places.

It only needs to happen ONCE, though...

Yeah, that's never happened to me ever. I've had water come up to the top of the pan if there's a blockage, but it's never flowed over the top (I presume this is what people are talking about?). I think our loos must be designed so there's only enough water in the flush to go to the top of the pan and no further. Of course if you flush it again when the water is already that high it's going to overflow, but who would do that?! (yeah, I know: "you'd be surprised...")

We always had carpet in our bathroom when I was a kid. I don't recall the carpet ever getting damp because we also had a bath mat and pedestal mats for the sink and toilet.  Nowadays my bathroom floor has tiles on it but I do miss the carpet. Makes the bathroom a lot warmer in the winter, and it took me an awful long time to get used to places with lino etc in them as most rentals are - it felt cheap and cold.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Dazi on November 26, 2013, 06:19:27 AM
I've only had two toilet overflows in my experience, and that was with a broken or blocked toilet. I'm more worried about damp from the shower in a carpeted bathroom.

Yeah, I think I've only had an overflow a few times when I was a kid.  Now, if there is even a remote chance, I plunge the heck out of the toilet and it doesn't overflow.  Carpet in the bathroom is gross because bathrooms are steamy, wet places.

It only needs to happen ONCE, though...

Yeah, that's never happened to me ever. I've had water come up to the top of the pan if there's a blockage, but it's never flowed over the top (I presume this is what people are talking about?). I think our loos must be designed so there's only enough water in the flush to go to the top of the pan and no further. Of course if you flush it again when the water is already that high it's going to overflow, but who would do that?! (yeah, I know: "you'd be surprised...")

We always had carpet in our bathroom when I was a kid. I don't recall the carpet ever getting damp because we also had a bath mat and pedestal mats for the sink and toilet.  Nowadays my bathroom floor has tiles on it but I do miss the carpet. Makes the bathroom a lot warmer in the winter, and it took me an awful long time to get used to places with lino etc in them as most rentals are - it felt cheap and cold.

Not everyone has public sewers.  There are many, many people here with septic tanks.  They can literally back up when they get full...if your lucky, it's the bathtub or sink, if you're not so lucky the toilet backs up and overflows.  I've had this happen twice when it gets really, really full or the drain field has gone to poopadities (no pun intended, it just sort of came out that way).
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on November 26, 2013, 06:34:20 AM
I've only had two toilet overflows in my experience, and that was with a broken or blocked toilet. I'm more worried about damp from the shower in a carpeted bathroom.

Yeah, I think I've only had an overflow a few times when I was a kid.  Now, if there is even a remote chance, I plunge the heck out of the toilet and it doesn't overflow.  Carpet in the bathroom is gross because bathrooms are steamy, wet places.

It only needs to happen ONCE, though...

Yeah, that's never happened to me ever. I've had water come up to the top of the pan if there's a blockage, but it's never flowed over the top (I presume this is what people are talking about?). I think our loos must be designed so there's only enough water in the flush to go to the top of the pan and no further. Of course if you flush it again when the water is already that high it's going to overflow, but who would do that?! (yeah, I know: "you'd be surprised...")

We always had carpet in our bathroom when I was a kid. I don't recall the carpet ever getting damp because we also had a bath mat and pedestal mats for the sink and toilet.  Nowadays my bathroom floor has tiles on it but I do miss the carpet. Makes the bathroom a lot warmer in the winter, and it took me an awful long time to get used to places with lino etc in them as most rentals are - it felt cheap and cold.

Not everyone has public sewers.  There are many, many people here with septic tanks.  They can literally back up when they get full...if your lucky, it's the bathtub or sink, if you're not so lucky the toilet backs up and overflows.  I've had this happen twice when it gets really, really full or the drain field has gone to poopadities (no pun intended, it just sort of came out that way).

It's rare, but public sewer systems can do that, too.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: scotcat60 on November 26, 2013, 07:41:54 AM
Quote from: Katana_Geldar on Yesterday at 08:34:39 AM
Scotcat, is that why in the UK you can see carpet in bathrooms?

Carpet in bathrooms?  But, one toilet overflow and.. eep...

Again, carpet in bathrooms was a fashion in the 1970s and 80s. It spoke of comfort, because bathrooms were often cold and unheated. Like Perpetua, we protected this with bath and pedestal mats. then it sort of went out of fashion, like avocado coloured bathroom suites, once considered the bees knees, now people think they are naff. I have never had a problem with mould on a bathroom carpet. Now I have a small square of carpet by the sink which is warmer than tiles. I've never been one to fill the bathroom with clouds of steam, unlke some members of my family, so that helps.

As to toilet overflows, I've had a cistern leak, but my loo is separate from my bathroom, and I dealt with it before there was any damage to the carpet which I have there because, as with the bathroom, it's warmer.

As to hairdryers, in the Uk they are sold with warnings not to use them in bathrooms.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: perpetua on November 26, 2013, 07:58:59 AM
As to hairdryers, in the Uk they are sold with warnings not to use them in bathrooms.

Indeed. It's kind of drummed into us how unsafe it is. Plus there aren't any electrical outlets in bathrooms as per building regulations apart from the 'shaver only' plugs which are a different kind of thing to a normal outlet. No light switches either; they must be either situated outside the bathroom on the wall or be of a pull-cord type if they're in the bathroom itself.

I really don't like bathrooms with lino. Apart from the fact that it's cold and uninviting  (probably because I grew up with carpet) I always worry that the floor would be slippery if water got on it.

That's interesting about the septic tanks and the backup, I hadn't thought of that. Some places here have them too, but usually only those out in the depths of the countryside, I think.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Ereine on November 26, 2013, 10:02:50 AM
In Finland we just warning on the outlets to not use appliances while showering. Washing machines tend to be in bathrooms so there needs to be electricity too. 
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: jedikaiti on November 26, 2013, 01:17:50 PM
Yeah, that's never happened to me ever. I've had water come up to the top of the pan if there's a blockage, but it's never flowed over the top (I presume this is what people are talking about?). I think our loos must be designed so there's only enough water in the flush to go to the top of the pan and no further. Of course if you flush it again when the water is already that high it's going to overflow, but who would do that?! (yeah, I know: "you'd be surprised...")

I can totally see a small child, small toys, much giggling, and a speed that would leave Superman in the dust. Or someone who thinks if they just try enough times, it will eventually work!
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Margo on November 26, 2013, 01:46:27 PM
I think carpets in bathrooms is a 70/80s thing - I don't think it's particularly common now. I'm currently househunting, and of the 30+ properties I've looked at, in detail, either in person or on line, I think only 2 had carpeting in the bathroom, and both were very dated in other ways, too.

I've never had a toilet overflow (although I do own a plunger, just in case!)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Sharnita on November 26, 2013, 05:01:42 PM
Oh, I know, but we're discussing portion sizes and the shock at them by non-USers (or at least I was), and that shocks me. Even our full englishes don't tend to be that huge. I just can't wrap my head around how the restaurants think anyone needs *that* much food in one sitting, especially when it's something you can't box up and take the leftovers home. The wastage must be phenomenal - surely they'd lose less money if they served properly sized portions in the first place, or is the 'bigger is better' attitude so ingrained over there that they won't lure the customers in without it?

In a lot of cases the customer goes with a plan to eat a second meal from the leftovers. The restaurant knows they will get a lot of customers so it is worth it to them. The hashbrowns are cheap for them to make and even the steak isn't exactly "high end". Still, the customer walks away with enough leftovers for a second meal and the restaurant gets a lot of customers.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: baglady on November 26, 2013, 09:24:44 PM
I have carpeting in the bathroom. Kitchen also, until the landlords replaced it this summer with laminate (faux hardwood). It's a big bathroom and well-ventilated with minimal moisture issues, and fortunately -- knock wood -- I've never had the toilet overflow so badly that it affected the carpet. Just the occasional precarious almost-to-the-rim situation.

I would prefer tile or linoleum in there, but if I had to choose between getting rid of the kitchen carpet or the bathroom carpet, I'd choose kitchen. Much more potential for spillage and staining!
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Sharnita on November 27, 2013, 04:32:07 AM
As for Black Friday,  I'd say it is like comic-con for avid shoppers.

Another benefit of large portions at restaurants that lead to leftovers occurred to me. I know I have been on both sides of this - somebody brings leftovers from a restaurant in for their lunch.  Coworker notices something that looks and smells really yummy,  asks what it is. The person with the food replies "Leftovers from Angelo's". The coworker begins craving Angelo's and makes sure to eat there before the week is out.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: veryfluffy on November 27, 2013, 04:33:51 AM

I would prefer tile or linoleum in there, but if I had to choose between getting rid of the kitchen carpet or the bathroom carpet, I'd choose kitchen. Much more potential for spillage and staining!

Indeed. Just yesterday I was taking a jar of feta cheese in olive oil out of the fridge, when it slipped out of my hand and smashed on the floor. Glass, cheese and oil everywhere.

Although I suppose that if it had fallen on carpet instead of slate it might not have smashed!
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Katana_Geldar on November 27, 2013, 05:09:54 AM
No, but that stuff is hard to get out of the carpet if it spilled.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Browyn on November 27, 2013, 07:49:45 AM
Not sure where Mom got it but growing up (Massachusetts ) we had carpet in the bathroom.  It was cut to fit the room and had a rubber backing like a bath mat.  So if something happened she could take the whole thing up and throw it in the wash.  There was vinyl flooring underneath and it wasn't that big a bathroom.  It was nice on a cold day :-)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Yvaine on November 27, 2013, 07:56:38 AM
As for Black Friday,  I'd say it is like comic-con for avid shoppers.

Another benefit of large portions at restaurants that lead to leftovers occurred to me. I know I have been on both sides of this - somebody brings leftovers from a restaurant in for their lunch.  Coworker notices something that looks and smells really yummy,  asks what it is. The person with the food replies "Leftovers from Angelo's". The coworker begins craving Angelo's and makes sure to eat there before the week is out.

Ha! So true.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: camlan on November 27, 2013, 08:25:20 AM
I just remembered this.

Speaking about the size of the US--at one time, I lived in Connecticut, on the east coast. My company hired hired a new guy who was from Germany, but who had spent the past two years getting a Master's degree from a university in California, on the west coast.

He was going to be working in my department, so I was in charge of setting up his start date, doing all the paperwork, etc., so we had several phone conversations before he moved cross-country.

At one point, he told me he was going to drive cross-country, as that was the easiest way to get his car from one coast to the other. His plan was to spend five days driving, and do a lot of sight-seeing along the way.

Now, you can drive west to east across the US in fewer than five days--I've known people who did it in two and a half days. But that's with almost no sleep. Five days cross-country--you aren't going to get a lot of sight-seeing in. I gently tried to tell him this, but he wasn't listening.

His first day in the office, he turned to me and said, "You know, in Europe, we make fun of Americans because they don't have passports and they never leave the US. But this place is big! It took all of five days with a lot of driving to get here! Now I understand."

And he'd been in the country for two years at that point, and was still surprised at the size of the country.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: hobish on November 27, 2013, 03:11:02 PM
As for Black Friday,  I'd say it is like comic-con for avid shoppers.

Another benefit of large portions at restaurants that lead to leftovers occurred to me. I know I have been on both sides of this - somebody brings leftovers from a restaurant in for their lunch.  Coworker notices something that looks and smells really yummy,  asks what it is. The person with the food replies "Leftovers from Angelo's". The coworker begins craving Angelo's and makes sure to eat there before the week is out.

Ha! That is a great analogy about Black Friday! And a good point with the loeftovers, too. I wouldn't have thought of that, but now that you mention it that definitely happens in my office.

My parents had indoor/outdoor carpeting in their bathroom for a while. It was odd. And ugly. But warm, and not quite as ugly as the 1970's tile that was underneath and has since been replaced.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Hmmmmm on November 27, 2013, 04:33:09 PM
Not sure where Mom got it but growing up (Massachusetts ) we had carpet in the bathroom.  It was cut to fit the room and had a rubber backing like a bath mat.  So if something happened she could take the whole thing up and throw it in the wash.  There was vinyl flooring underneath and it wasn't that big a bathroom.  It was nice on a cold day :-)
My parents had something similar to this in their master bath but this is when the master baths were the smallest bathroom in the house. It looked like wall to wall but wasn't attached to the floor and could be washed.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: camlan on November 27, 2013, 05:12:30 PM
Not sure where Mom got it but growing up (Massachusetts ) we had carpet in the bathroom.  It was cut to fit the room and had a rubber backing like a bath mat.  So if something happened she could take the whole thing up and throw it in the wash.  There was vinyl flooring underneath and it wasn't that big a bathroom.  It was nice on a cold day :-)
My parents had something similar to this in their master bath but this is when the master baths were the smallest bathroom in the house. It looked like wall to wall but wasn't attached to the floor and could be washed.

Sears used to sell this. It was a large piece of carpet, but with the rubberized backing of a bathmat. You cut it to fit your bathroom floor. This was back when you could buy toilet seat covers, tank top covers and tissue box covers all in the same fuzzy material.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: rose red on November 27, 2013, 05:34:04 PM
Carpet in my bathroom would be a nightmare.  I splash a bit of water when getting out of the tub or shower.  And the toilet sprang a leak a few months ago.  Linoleum is so much easier to mop up.  A bath mat prevents you from slipping and is easy to clean or simply throw away when it gets too old.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: perpetua on November 30, 2013, 01:54:22 AM
Well, it seems Black Friday has worked its way over to the UK this year, which frankly dismays me a little.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25154497

Mostly it was online, but Asda (a big supermarket chain owned by Walmart, which probably explains it) had in-store deals and there were scuffles and injuries and all sorts with queues running into the hundreds. They advertised deals on big TVs then only had 25 or so of them in stock at each location. It seems that the whole premise is designed purely to get people through the doors for a deal they likely won't be able to get hold of in the hope they might buy something else while they're there, and people are really naive enough to fall for it.

A few other retailers also had deals on. John Lewis got involved - which surprises me as their customer service is legendarily good - and apparently advertised deals on laptops. I read a comment on one website last night from a man who said he took the day off work and dragged his wife and family in to town in the hope of getting a cheap laptop and when he got there he found there were only two on offer and he was, quote, "absoultely furious" - I think he thought it was going to be massive percentages off everything. I had to refrain from posting "that's your own silly fault for being taken in by consumerism and a marketing ploy".

Oh well :)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: saki on December 23, 2013, 06:05:02 AM
I have lots of family in the US and so have visited a lot (am British).  These are the things that have surprised me over the years:

How easily you can return stuff in shops - I've seen my relatives return stuff with no receipt, no label, etc and still get money back.  In the UK, this does not happen.

How comfortable Americans feel with going 'off-menu' - i.e. saying "can I have that but with this side instead and without this on top and with the dressing on the side" - in the UK and Europe, the menu is pretty much the menu.  You can ask (politely) for changes but the restaurant can and will say no, if they don't want to make alterations

That many Americans genuinely feel that the US is as diverse as Europe.  Now, it is - having travelled around in various different states - definitely more diverse than many Europeans realise.  But the differences between the most different states are nothing like the difference between, say, the Ukraine and Norway - different languages, different political systems, completely different histories, ethnic mix, religious mix, etc.  Lots of Americans get defensive about this - I think because they feel stung by the criticism that Americans are insular but, to be honest, (see point below), if I got as little holiday time as Americans typically do, I probably wouldn't have travelled anything like as much either so I don't say it to be morally superior in any way.

The extent to which Americans don't have much leisure time.  It seems to be perfectly normal not to have more than a couple of weeks off a year and many Americans seem to take holidays very rarely.  The minimum holiday entitlement here (20 days plus bank holidays) seems to be considered generous in the US (particularly because sick leave is separate here and has nothing to do with your holiday allowance).   I get six weeks plus bank holidays and my husband and I take 3-4 holidays a year (some obviously are shorter than others!) which is fairly common in our social circle.

(This is really minor) My PIL wanted a cutlery set for Christmas one year so we looked into one that we could all go in on - none of them had knives for a starter.  I.e. they'd have just a small fork for a starter, then a big fork and knife for the main and then dessert cutlery.  But what if you wanted to serve something that needed a knife for a starter?  I.e. a small quiche or whatever.  I asked my American relatives and apparently, the answer is that Americans just typically serve a salad for a starter.  That really surprised me.  Here, all kinds of things are served as starters and many of them require a knife as well as a fork.

The sheer number of people who would ask me "So you prefer it here, right?  Don't you want to move?"  Particularly as a child, I found this really embarrassing.  Because, like most people, I prefer the country I was brought up in but - being English - I also feel the need to be polite and I don't like to say "No, I prefer my own country" because that feels rude.  But, then, what do you say?  I just don't understand why some Americans ask this.  What response do they want?  I have never had this come up in another country.

I agree with those in the article who mentioned banking - in the UK, most current accounts are free and things like being able to transfer money in and out are seen as basic features.  From talking to my American relatives, it seems like they pay for their accounts and then doing things like transfers can be difficult and incur more charges.  I was given a cheque from a relative, cashed it at their bank and was charged like 3% which I thought was ridiculous.  In the UK that would be free because being able to access and transfer your money is considered to be a basic, free service.  And this works across Europe too - so, e.g. I can transfer money to France fairly easily.

New York specific - I LOVE the range of takeaway food you can get.  I live in London so a comparable city but the range of takeaway food here is much much more limited. In NYC, you can get healthy and cheap prepared food so easily - I walked a block in Brooklyn looking for food and found 6 options I would be perfectly happy with.  In London, your average block would give you fish and chips, more fish and chips, a dodgy looking Chinese and more fish and chips.

Food differences - there are some things which are better in the US (generally, getting cheap but nice food is easier in the US than in the UK) but some individual things that are worse (the dairy in general - I think it goes through some extra process or something because it all tastes less nice, I really notice this in the cream, especially) - I think it balances out.

Alcohol - the attitudes towards it are very different in the US to the UK across the board. I particularly notice the differences in how and where you can buy it - in the UK, you can just pick it up in the supermarket, at the corner shop.  You can drink outside in most places here - e.g. you can picnic in your local park with a bottle of wine.  But the biggest difference is probably the social aspect - in the UK, it is really uncommon to be teetotal, all parties will have alcohol and it's rarely an issue for children to be around adults drinking (which I've seen really strong views on from Americans.)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: iridaceae on December 23, 2013, 07:02:04 AM
Where and when you can buy booze varies immensely. Here in AZ booze is so common in dtugstores and grocery stores that here in Tucson liquor stores are uncommon. (Except alcohol is not sold on at least some of the reservations here.) In Wisconsin booze is not so common in drugstores. I don't think it was sold in them at all but liquor stores were quite common.

Some States still have "dry" areas where alcohol cannot be bought.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Thipu1 on December 23, 2013, 07:23:26 AM
In NYC, buying alcohol can be a little crazy if you're not used to it.

Beer is available in almost every corner store as are soft drinks, snacks and tobacco.

To buy wine or spirits you have to go to a liqour store.  These don't sell beer, soft drinks, snacks or tobacco but they can sell wine glasses and books about alcohol. 

When relatives visit from out-of-state they never quite figure this out. 
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: magicdomino on December 23, 2013, 09:15:15 AM
In Virginia, beer and wine are sold all over the place: grocery stores, drug stores, gas stations with a mini-mart.  The selection of wine can be pretty basic (especially at the mini-mart  ;) ), so if you want a good selelection, there are wine stores.

Liquor is sold only at the ABC (Alcoholic Beverage Commission) stores owned by the state.  It's okay for basic boozes, but I have been known to go over the border to DC to find a particular type of rum.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: MrsJWine on December 23, 2013, 09:58:09 AM
That many Americans genuinely feel that the US is as diverse as Europe.  Now, it is - having travelled around in various different states - definitely more diverse than many Europeans realise.  But the differences between the most different states are nothing like the difference between, say, the Ukraine and Norway - different languages, different political systems, completely different histories, ethnic mix, religious mix, etc.  Lots of Americans get defensive about this - I think because they feel stung by the criticism that Americans are insular but, to be honest, (see point below), if I got as little holiday time as Americans typically do, I probably wouldn't have travelled anything like as much either so I don't say it to be morally superior in any way.

I think we get defensive about it, not because we think we're as diverse (we are quite diverse, in certain areas, due to immigration, but not in the sense that we have many different countries), but because it would be very difficult for someone living in Kansas to be as fluent in a foreign language as many Europeans are. We get criticized for not learning foreign languages, but most schools require foreign language education starting at least in junior high, and I think it starts even earlier than it did when I was that age. It's just not something you can learn fluently without much greater exposure than you get in class time. I became proficient in Spanish because I worked in a place with a lot of native speakers, but that's about the best you can hope for unless your family has a good bit of extra income for traveling.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Yvaine on December 23, 2013, 10:16:40 AM
That many Americans genuinely feel that the US is as diverse as Europe.  Now, it is - having travelled around in various different states - definitely more diverse than many Europeans realise.  But the differences between the most different states are nothing like the difference between, say, the Ukraine and Norway - different languages, different political systems, completely different histories, ethnic mix, religious mix, etc.  Lots of Americans get defensive about this - I think because they feel stung by the criticism that Americans are insular but, to be honest, (see point below), if I got as little holiday time as Americans typically do, I probably wouldn't have travelled anything like as much either so I don't say it to be morally superior in any way.

I think we get defensive about it, not because we think we're as diverse (we are quite diverse, in certain areas, due to immigration, but not in the sense that we have many different countries), but because it would be very difficult for someone living in Kansas to be as fluent in a foreign language as many Europeans are. We get criticized for not learning foreign languages, but most schools require foreign language education starting at least in junior high, and I think it starts even earlier than it did when I was that age. It's just not something you can learn fluently without much greater exposure than you get in class time. I became proficient in Spanish because I worked in a place with a lot of native speakers, but that's about the best you can hope for unless your family has a good bit of extra income for traveling.

Yeah, I really think a lot of the problem is that we're not introduced to other languages early enough. I took years of Spanish, but it wasn't even available to me till 9th grade (14 years old for most people), and so when you graduate from high school, you might know as much Spanish as a 4yo child who was immersed from birth.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Hmmmmm on December 23, 2013, 10:35:00 AM
I have lots of family in the US and so have visited a lot (am British).  These are the things that have surprised me over the years:

How easily you can return stuff in shops - I've seen my relatives return stuff with no receipt, no label, etc and still get money back.  In the UK, this does not happen.

How comfortable Americans feel with going 'off-menu' - i.e. saying "can I have that but with this side instead and without this on top and with the dressing on the side" - in the UK and Europe, the menu is pretty much the menu.  You can ask (politely) for changes but the restaurant can and will say no, if they don't want to make alterations

That many Americans genuinely feel that the US is as diverse as Europe.  Now, it is - having travelled around in various different states - definitely more diverse than many Europeans realise.  But the differences between the most different states are nothing like the difference between, say, the Ukraine and Norway - different languages, different political systems, completely different histories, ethnic mix, religious mix, etc.  Lots of Americans get defensive about this - I think because they feel stung by the criticism that Americans are insular but, to be honest, (see point below), if I got as little holiday time as Americans typically do, I probably wouldn't have travelled anything like as much either so I don't say it to be morally superior in any way.

The extent to which Americans don't have much leisure time.  It seems to be perfectly normal not to have more than a couple of weeks off a year and many Americans seem to take holidays very rarely.  The minimum holiday entitlement here (20 days plus bank holidays) seems to be considered generous in the US (particularly because sick leave is separate here and has nothing to do with your holiday allowance).   I get six weeks plus bank holidays and my husband and I take 3-4 holidays a year (some obviously are shorter than others!) which is fairly common in our social circle.

(This is really minor) My PIL wanted a cutlery set for Christmas one year so we looked into one that we could all go in on - none of them had knives for a starter.  I.e. they'd have just a small fork for a starter, then a big fork and knife for the main and then dessert cutlery.  But what if you wanted to serve something that needed a knife for a starter?  I.e. a small quiche or whatever.  I asked my American relatives and apparently, the answer is that Americans just typically serve a salad for a starter.  That really surprised me.  Here, all kinds of things are served as starters and many of them require a knife as well as a fork.

The sheer number of people who would ask me "So you prefer it here, right?  Don't you want to move?"  Particularly as a child, I found this really embarrassing.  Because, like most people, I prefer the country I was brought up in but - being English - I also feel the need to be polite and I don't like to say "No, I prefer my own country" because that feels rude.  But, then, what do you say?  I just don't understand why some Americans ask this.  What response do they want?  I have never had this come up in another country.

I agree with those in the article who mentioned banking - in the UK, most current accounts are free and things like being able to transfer money in and out are seen as basic features.  From talking to my American relatives, it seems like they pay for their accounts and then doing things like transfers can be difficult and incur more charges.  I was given a cheque from a relative, cashed it at their bank and was charged like 3% which I thought was ridiculous.  In the UK that would be free because being able to access and transfer your money is considered to be a basic, free service.  And this works across Europe too - so, e.g. I can transfer money to France fairly easily.

New York specific - I LOVE the range of takeaway food you can get.  I live in London so a comparable city but the range of takeaway food here is much much more limited. In NYC, you can get healthy and cheap prepared food so easily - I walked a block in Brooklyn looking for food and found 6 options I would be perfectly happy with.  In London, your average block would give you fish and chips, more fish and chips, a dodgy looking Chinese and more fish and chips.

Food differences - there are some things which are better in the US (generally, getting cheap but nice food is easier in the US than in the UK) but some individual things that are worse (the dairy in general - I think it goes through some extra process or something because it all tastes less nice, I really notice this in the cream, especially) - I think it balances out.

Alcohol - the attitudes towards it are very different in the US to the UK across the board. I particularly notice the differences in how and where you can buy it - in the UK, you can just pick it up in the supermarket, at the corner shop.  You can drink outside in most places here - e.g. you can picnic in your local park with a bottle of wine.  But the biggest difference is probably the social aspect - in the UK, it is really uncommon to be teetotal, all parties will have alcohol and it's rarely an issue for children to be around adults drinking (which I've seen really strong views on from Americans.)

Your list in interesting. 

As a country, the US is much more diverse than other European individual countries, but obvisously comparing the US diversity to the entire European continent is vastly different.

I think you are also encountering differences in states and regions in some of your experiences.

The cutlery is one I hadn't thought about but makes since. I find Europeans use their knives more often when eating often holding both the knife and fork during most of a course serving. In the US, a knife is only usually used when something needs to be cut that can't be done with the side of the fork. For a quiche I'd most likely use the side of my fork.  Normally if I'm serving multiple courses the knife that comes with the cutlery set is used for the first course. Even if it happens to be a salad, you might still want to cut it up. Then I have steak knives in stainless steele that I use for serving with the meat course. But I would be nice if cutlery sets came with a decent serated place knife.

I do agree that fresh food in Europe is much nicer. US dairy products can't really compare.

The alcohol issue is very regional and is often tied to religion. I'm sure there are Islamic, Budhist, and Christian communities throughout Europe who do not serve alcohol at their social functions. And drinking in public parks is OK in many, many areas but each legal juridiction who owns the park abides by their rules. So in my city, you can drink openly at city parks. But a State Park it is illegal to sell or consume in a public place.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: perpetua on December 23, 2013, 10:49:35 AM
As a country, the US is much more diverse than other European individual countries, but obvisously comparing the US diversity to the entire European continent is vastly different.

Is it really, though? What's the comparison?

In the UK for example, we have a whole heap of cultures and accents and dialects and ways of life all within very close quarters; the way of life in London is very different from the way of life in the South West or the North East or the Indian/Pakistani quarter of Leicester (just a few examples) and there are only a couple of hundred miles separating them all.

The sheer number of people who would ask me "So you prefer it here, right?  Don't you want to move?"  Particularly as a child, I found this really embarrassing.  Because, like most people, I prefer the country I was brought up in but - being English - I also feel the need to be polite and I don't like to say "No, I prefer my own country" because that feels rude.  But, then, what do you say?  I just don't understand why some Americans ask this.  What response do they want?  I have never had this come up in another country.

I might be wrong, but I get the impression that "We're the greatest country in the world!" is a pretty prevalent mindset over there and that people genuinely believe that and take pride in it. I agree though, because my British sensibilities would find saying "Actually, I prefer it where I am thanks!" hard to swallow :)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: AfleetAlex on December 23, 2013, 12:05:06 PM
Yeah, I really think a lot of the problem is that we're not introduced to other languages early enough. I took years of Spanish, but it wasn't even available to me till 9th grade (14 years old for most people), and so when you graduate from high school, you might know as much Spanish as a 4yo child who was immersed from birth.

I feel very strongly about this that Americans as a whole should have earlier access to languages other than English (if possible). I didn't start learning French until sixth grade (except for a few Spanish words I learned on Sesame Street  :D).
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Wordgeek on December 23, 2013, 12:18:57 PM
It seems to me that, in some ways, a large difference is not so much between people of This Country versus That Country but between travelers and non-travelers.  The "my country is the best"  and "everybody must love my country best or they're *bad*  >:( people" is something a non-traveler from any country might say.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: perpetua on December 23, 2013, 12:26:16 PM
It seems to me that, in some ways, a large difference is not so much between people of This Country versus That Country but between travelers and non-travelers.  The "my country is the best"  and "everybody must love my country best or they're *bad*  >:( people" is something a non-traveler from any country might say.

Yeah, that's an interesting way of looking at it and there could be something in that, although I'm not well travelled at all (I've been to France, once, for six days!) and I don't necessarily consider the UK to be the best place in the world. I'm happy here, but I wouldn't take the 'Dontcha want to move here?' approach that saki quoted above. I know there are biiiiig faults with where I live :)   

Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Her
Post by: baglady on December 23, 2013, 12:29:20 PM
Alcoholic beverage laws in the U.S. confuse even us Americans, because every state is different.

Some states sell beer and wine everywhere (in supermarkets, gas stations, even drugstores), but you have to go to a liquor store for whiskey and other hard stuff.

Some sell beer everywhere but wine is only in liquor stores.

In others, beer is only available in liquor stores. This was culture shock to me when I moved from Vermont (beer and wine everywhere state) to New York (beer everywhere, wine in liquor stores state) and from New York to New Jersey (beer only in liquor stores state).

I have a vague memory of seeing hard liquor for sale in a supermarket in Arizona.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Wench on December 23, 2013, 12:41:03 PM
Quote
think we get defensive about it, not because we think we're as diverse (we are quite diverse, in certain areas, due to immigration, but not in the sense that we have many different countries), but because it would be very difficult for someone living in Kansas to be as fluent in a foreign language as many Europeans are. We get criticized for not learning foreign languages, but most schools require foreign language education starting at least in junior high, and I think it starts even earlier than it did when I was that age. It's just not something you can learn fluently without much greater exposure than you get in class time. I became proficient in Spanish because I worked in a place with a lot of native speakers, but that's about the best you can hope for unless your family has a good bit of extra income for traveling.

In fairness its a criticism levelled at the UK.  I think most Brits are monolingual or have limited second language skills.  I have been trying to learn Spanish for the last ten years and I am still a poor Spanish speaker.  I think the problem is that most UK citizens don't start to learn a second language until the age of eleven, which makes the whole process harder.  I think they are addressing that now.  Funnily enough I did hear a case of a Polish bloke who lived in Iceland and did not learn any Icelandic because everyone spoke English!  I think even in Europe a lot of people will use English as it such a common language even if they visiting the neighbouring country. 
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: MommyPenguin on December 23, 2013, 12:51:06 PM
That many Americans genuinely feel that the US is as diverse as Europe.  Now, it is - having travelled around in various different states - definitely more diverse than many Europeans realise.  But the differences between the most different states are nothing like the difference between, say, the Ukraine and Norway - different languages, different political systems, completely different histories, ethnic mix, religious mix, etc.  Lots of Americans get defensive about this - I think because they feel stung by the criticism that Americans are insular but, to be honest, (see point below), if I got as little holiday time as Americans typically do, I probably wouldn't have travelled anything like as much either so I don't say it to be morally superior in any way.

I think we get defensive about it, not because we think we're as diverse (we are quite diverse, in certain areas, due to immigration, but not in the sense that we have many different countries), but because it would be very difficult for someone living in Kansas to be as fluent in a foreign language as many Europeans are. We get criticized for not learning foreign languages, but most schools require foreign language education starting at least in junior high, and I think it starts even earlier than it did when I was that age. It's just not something you can learn fluently without much greater exposure than you get in class time. I became proficient in Spanish because I worked in a place with a lot of native speakers, but that's about the best you can hope for unless your family has a good bit of extra income for traveling.

I think part of it is also the cost it would take for most of us to travel to different countries.  A German or Frenchman could travel to another country within a few hundred miles, if not less.  I would have to travel some 500 miles to get to Canada (and that's just to the border) and some 1700 miles to get to Mexico, and those would be my only two options within that distance.  Somebody in London could, in those same 500 miles, get to Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, or France.  And London isn't even that central.  Somebody in Munich could make it to France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, the list goes on.  A plane ticket from the UK to Germany costs a lot less than a ticket from the U.S. to Germany. 

Combined with less vacation time in general to *make* such a major trip, I think some Americans get a little defensive about the whole, "Oh, you haven't traveled to 10 countries?  Oh, that's so sad," when making a single trip to Europe would probably be a once in a lifetime trip. 

I am in no way dissing the delights of traveling to Europe and enjoying being able to visit several countries at once.  My husband and I were able to make a trip to (mostly) Germany about two years ago, and we had a wonderful time (and had some concept of what they meant about "loud Americans" when we went to the salt mines in Salzburg (Austria) at the same time as an American tour group and could see how much louder they seemed than everybody else (including us))!
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Her
Post by: camlan on December 23, 2013, 01:43:22 PM
Alcoholic beverage laws in the U.S. confuse even us Americans, because every state is different.

Some states sell beer and wine everywhere (in supermarkets, gas stations, even drugstores), but you have to go to a liquor store for whiskey and other hard stuff.

Some sell beer everywhere but wine is only in liquor stores.

In others, beer is only available in liquor stores. This was culture shock to me when I moved from Vermont (beer and wine everywhere state) to New York (beer everywhere, wine in liquor stores state) and from New York to New Jersey (beer only in liquor stores state).

I have a vague memory of seeing hard liquor for sale in a supermarket in Arizona.

And in Massachusetts, beer and wine can be sold in supermarkets--but in only three stores per supermarket chain. So Stop N Shop stores mostly don't carry beer and wine, except for three stores in the entire state. Most people go to liquor stores for beer and wine.

Unless they drive up to New Hampshire to hit the state liquor stores, which sell everything. New Hampshire supermarkets also sell beer and wine, which was sort of a shock to me when I moved there from Massachusetts.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Her
Post by: GlitterIsMyDrug on December 23, 2013, 02:24:01 PM
I have a vague memory of seeing hard liquor for sale in a supermarket in Arizona.

I live in Arizona, and yes, you can buy beer, wine, hard liquor and just about any other kind of alcohol you can think of in our grocery stores. We do have some liquor stores which is where you go to if you need different sizes other then the standard sizes or if you need something a bit more specialized. They'll have the general stuff too, but they're more likely to have your odd ball things.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: saki on December 23, 2013, 03:22:42 PM
That many Americans genuinely feel that the US is as diverse as Europe.  Now, it is - having travelled around in various different states - definitely more diverse than many Europeans realise.  But the differences between the most different states are nothing like the difference between, say, the Ukraine and Norway - different languages, different political systems, completely different histories, ethnic mix, religious mix, etc.  Lots of Americans get defensive about this - I think because they feel stung by the criticism that Americans are insular but, to be honest, (see point below), if I got as little holiday time as Americans typically do, I probably wouldn't have travelled anything like as much either so I don't say it to be morally superior in any way.

I think we get defensive about it, not because we think we're as diverse (we are quite diverse, in certain areas, due to immigration, but not in the sense that we have many different countries), but because it would be very difficult for someone living in Kansas to be as fluent in a foreign language as many Europeans are. We get criticized for not learning foreign languages, but most schools require foreign language education starting at least in junior high, and I think it starts even earlier than it did when I was that age. It's just not something you can learn fluently without much greater exposure than you get in class time. I became proficient in Spanish because I worked in a place with a lot of native speakers, but that's about the best you can hope for unless your family has a good bit of extra income for traveling.

I think part of it is also the cost it would take for most of us to travel to different countries.  A German or Frenchman could travel to another country within a few hundred miles, if not less.  I would have to travel some 500 miles to get to Canada (and that's just to the border) and some 1700 miles to get to Mexico, and those would be my only two options within that distance.  Somebody in London could, in those same 500 miles, get to Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, or France.  And London isn't even that central.  Somebody in Munich could make it to France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, the list goes on.  A plane ticket from the UK to Germany costs a lot less than a ticket from the U.S. to Germany. 

Combined with less vacation time in general to *make* such a major trip, I think some Americans get a little defensive about the whole, "Oh, you haven't traveled to 10 countries?  Oh, that's so sad," when making a single trip to Europe would probably be a once in a lifetime trip. 

I am in no way dissing the delights of traveling to Europe and enjoying being able to visit several countries at once.  My husband and I were able to make a trip to (mostly) Germany about two years ago, and we had a wonderful time (and had some concept of what they meant about "loud Americans" when we went to the salt mines in Salzburg (Austria) at the same time as an American tour group and could see how much louder they seemed than everybody else (including us))!

I have heard this theory before but I don't think it's correct.  While, yes, many Europeans make lots of short and easy trips to other European countries, in my experience, many travel outside Europe routinely as well.  In my social circle, I literally don't know anyone who hasn't been to at least one other continent and most have been to N. America, Asia and Africa or Australia/NZ which are all just as far as Americans have to travel to get outside the US.  But I know lots of Americans in my sort of income bracket who have never been outside the US.  I think Europeans don't just travel to more countries, they travel further as well.

I think it's not just the number of days you get off work that makes a difference, I think it's also that - because of the much more generous time off - Europeans generally just expect to spend more on holidays and factor it into their annual budgets.  Whereas, for Americans, a holiday is an unusual expense so they begrudge the money more and would rather spend it on other things - e.g. creature comforts.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: nutraxfornerves on December 23, 2013, 03:58:31 PM
Re:cutlery

I've seen discussions on other boards about differences in cutting up food. I'm not talking about the different conventions about which hand to hold the knife in, but rather that Americans tend to use a knife less in general. It was weird that Americans use the side of a fork, instead of a knife. Eating pizza with the hands was described as seriously unmannerly or even disgusting. On the other hand, I've seen Americans describe being very amused by someone eating a hamburger with a knife & fork.

I was also involved in a discussion about starters in the US vs. elsewhere. Americans don't usually serve a first course at a family meal.

In My LIfe in France, Julia Child mentions that, when testing recipes for her first cookbook (published in 1961) she had to either increase the amount of ingredients or decrease the number of servings--American testers found the recipes too meager. It wasn't that American were used to huge portions (that came later). Julia had lived in France for so long that she assumed that the dinner pattern of starter-main course-dessert was standard. Americans rarely had a starter at an everyday home meal, and many omitted dessert. So the main course needed to be larger.

I think this is pretty standard today. Most Americans everyday home dinners consist of one course. (I'm not including takeout or delivery.) If there's a salad, it's not served as a separate course. Dessert may be served as a course or may be eaten later, individually, as people feel they want an evening snack.

Starters would be reserved for some special or holiday meal. I don't think "starter" is a common US term. (I'm not going to go out on a limb to say it's definitely not; it could be regional.) I think "first course" would be the common term. "Appetizer" would be more likely to be something of the munchie variety, eaten before everyone came to the table.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Katana_Geldar on December 23, 2013, 04:19:18 PM
Everywhere else but America, the first course is called an entree.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Hmmmmm on December 23, 2013, 04:29:23 PM
As a country, the US is much more diverse than other European individual countries, but obvisously comparing the US diversity to the entire European continent is vastly different.

Is it really, though? What's the comparison?

In the UK for example, we have a whole heap of cultures and accents and dialects and ways of life all within very close quarters; the way of life in London is very different from the way of life in the South West or the North East or the Indian/Pakistani quarter of Leicester (just a few examples) and there are only a couple of hundred miles separating them all.

snip

Your original post compared the differences between the Ukraine and Norway. Yes, both of those countries will be very different than each US state. 

But it seems you are now discussing ethnicity within a country. In 2010 the ethnic population of the US was 22%, The Netherlands was 20%, and then other western European countries were UK at around 17%, Germany close to 15%, and Denmark at almost 9%. Italy is less than 8% and Spain is less than 6%.

I live in a US city with around 40% Hispanic, 23% Caucasian, 23% African/African American, & 6% Asian. As of 2011, 60% of Londoners were White (with only 12% of that classified as non British white), 19% Asian, and 19% Black.

So as a US Citizen when I travel in Europe I do notice the local population seems more homogeneous than the US, especially large US cities.  
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Psychopoesie on December 23, 2013, 04:33:35 PM
The my country is the best ever attitude crops up in Australia too, on occasion.

On my way to the shops this morning, I saw a bumper sticker on the back of a ute (pick up) which said: "Australia - love it or leave."

Re the distance preventing travel - Australians do a fair bit of travel overseas. We don't have a land border with any foreign countries. The nearest ones (NZ, Indonesia and PNG) are hours away by plane (though closer than travelling to some places within Australia, depending on your starting point). Most Australians I know have been overseas at least once. Many have been to Europe (a charming 24 hours plus by plane). We do have more paid annual leave than US workers tend to get so maybe that's why.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: nutraxfornerves on December 23, 2013, 04:59:04 PM
This is an interesting discussion of the evolution of the meaning of "entrée" (http://languageoffood.blogspot.com/2009/08/entree.html). Originally an entrée was not a main course, but rather but rather a sort of "made" dish between the fish & soup courses. As menus simplified in the 20th centruy, Americans took the word in one direction and the English & French took it another.

Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Sophia on December 23, 2013, 05:09:10 PM
That many Americans genuinely feel that the US is as diverse as Europe.  Now, it is - having travelled around in various different states - definitely more diverse than many Europeans realise.  But the differences between the most different states are nothing like the difference between, say, the Ukraine and Norway - different languages, different political systems, completely different histories, ethnic mix, religious mix, etc.  Lots of Americans get defensive about this - I think because they feel stung by the criticism that Americans are insular but, to be honest, (see point below), if I got as little holiday time as Americans typically do, I probably wouldn't have travelled anything like as much either so I don't say it to be morally superior in any way.

I think we get defensive about it, not because we think we're as diverse (we are quite diverse, in certain areas, due to immigration, but not in the sense that we have many different countries), but because it would be very difficult for someone living in Kansas to be as fluent in a foreign language as many Europeans are. We get criticized for not learning foreign languages, but most schools require foreign language education starting at least in junior high, and I think it starts even earlier than it did when I was that age. It's just not something you can learn fluently without much greater exposure than you get in class time. I became proficient in Spanish because I worked in a place with a lot of native speakers, but that's about the best you can hope for unless your family has a good bit of extra income for traveling.

I think part of it is also the cost it would take for most of us to travel to different countries.  A German or Frenchman could travel to another country within a few hundred miles, if not less.  I would have to travel some 500 miles to get to Canada (and that's just to the border) and some 1700 miles to get to Mexico, and those would be my only two options within that distance.  Somebody in London could, in those same 500 miles, get to Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, or France.  And London isn't even that central.  Somebody in Munich could make it to France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, the list goes on.  A plane ticket from the UK to Germany costs a lot less than a ticket from the U.S. to Germany. 

Combined with less vacation time in general to *make* such a major trip, I think some Americans get a little defensive about the whole, "Oh, you haven't traveled to 10 countries?  Oh, that's so sad," when making a single trip to Europe would probably be a once in a lifetime trip. 

I am in no way dissing the delights of traveling to Europe and enjoying being able to visit several countries at once.  My husband and I were able to make a trip to (mostly) Germany about two years ago, and we had a wonderful time (and had some concept of what they meant about "loud Americans" when we went to the salt mines in Salzburg (Austria) at the same time as an American tour group and could see how much louder they seemed than everybody else (including us))!

I have heard this theory before but I don't think it's correct.  While, yes, many Europeans make lots of short and easy trips to other European countries, in my experience, many travel outside Europe routinely as well.  In my social circle, I literally don't know anyone who hasn't been to at least one other continent and most have been to N. America, Asia and Africa or Australia/NZ which are all just as far as Americans have to travel to get outside the US.  But I know lots of Americans in my sort of income bracket who have never been outside the US.  I think Europeans don't just travel to more countries, they travel further as well.

I think it's not just the number of days you get off work that makes a difference, I think it's also that - because of the much more generous time off - Europeans generally just expect to spend more on holidays and factor it into their annual budgets.  Whereas, for Americans, a holiday is an unusual expense so they begrudge the money more and would rather spend it on other things - e.g. creature comforts.

I do think that the short distances mean that you are more likely to encounter people speaking other languages even without travel.  When I worked for the German company, on weekends I would routinely hear non-German, non-English.  I remember talking to someone from Rome that spent summers as friends with an English and a French kid, so they became fluent in each other's languages.  A friend of mine that speaks several languages and is retired volunteers at the airport to not lose them.  He said it really is the only place, and anyone that doesn't speak English or Spanish gets sent to him. 
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: MommyPenguin on December 23, 2013, 07:20:35 PM
Public libraries are another good place to practice languages.  :)  At our library, other than English and Spanish, the big ones were ASL, French, and Igbo (a Nigerian language).  Igbo was the biggest, as we had a huge Nigerian population.  We had a librarian for every language but Igbo.  :)  Carol was fluent in Spanish, I was passable enough in French, Doris had a deaf daughter-in-law and grandchildren so she was fluent in ASL.  It was great.  We'd have jumped at the chance to get a staff member who spoke Igbo, but fortunately most speakers of that language also spoke enough English to get by, or had a friend/relative who did.  The languages would of course depend on the local area.  My current area has a large percentage of Korean immigrants, so they have an amazing collection of Korean language books and several staff members who speak it.  It's great.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: katycoo on December 23, 2013, 11:32:28 PM
It seems to me that, in some ways, a large difference is not so much between people of This Country versus That Country but between travelers and non-travelers.  The "my country is the best"  and "everybody must love my country best or they're *bad*  >:( people" is something a non-traveler from any country might say.

I think you're right that many countries probably have these thoughts, but American are often quite forward with their opiinions (compared to other nationalities) so perhaps are more likely to vocalise this opinion?

The my country is the best ever attitude crops up in Australia too, on occasion.

On my way to the shops this morning, I saw a bumper sticker on the back of a ute (pick up) which said: "Australia - love it or leave."

That attitude is directed less at visitors and more at immigrants...
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: iridaceae on December 23, 2013, 11:38:45 PM
Quote

On my way to the shops this morning, I saw a bumper sticker on the back of a ute (pick up) which said: "Australia - love it or leave."

That attitude is directed less at visitors and more at immigrants...

Here in the US a bumper sticker like that is aimed at liberals.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: saki on December 24, 2013, 02:36:42 AM
As a country, the US is much more diverse than other European individual countries, but obvisously comparing the US diversity to the entire European continent is vastly different.

Is it really, though? What's the comparison?

In the UK for example, we have a whole heap of cultures and accents and dialects and ways of life all within very close quarters; the way of life in London is very different from the way of life in the South West or the North East or the Indian/Pakistani quarter of Leicester (just a few examples) and there are only a couple of hundred miles separating them all.

snip

Your original post compared the differences between the Ukraine and Norway. Yes, both of those countries will be very different than each US state. 

But it seems you are now discussing ethnicity within a country. In 2010 the ethnic population of the US was 22%, The Netherlands was 20%, and then other western European countries were UK at around 17%, Germany close to 15%, and Denmark at almost 9%. Italy is less than 8% and Spain is less than 6%.

I live in a US city with around 40% Hispanic, 23% Caucasian, 23% African/African American, & 6% Asian. As of 2011, 60% of Londoners were White (with only 12% of that classified as non British white), 19% Asian, and 19% Black.

So as a US Citizen when I travel in Europe I do notice the local population seems more homogeneous than the US, especially large US cities.

I was talking about the difference between a Ukrainian and a Norwegian - they are basically different ethnicities and look extremely different. 

I genuinely have encountered Americans who claim that the US is just as diverse as Europe as a whole, not any individual European country, which I just think is clearly incorrect. 

I'm actually not convinced that the US is more diverse than individual European countries either - I think Americans often underestimate the differences within European countries - but I think it's a much more reasonable claim and is certainly true of some European countries (e.g. Monaco, Luxembourg).

One of the issues, I think, which makes some Americans think that European cities are less diverse ethnicity-wise is that they often assume that, if you're not white, you're not in fact European.  I'm a non-white British person and I have had Americans assume that I'm clearly not British.  Some even argue with me over it because, I think, the impression that a lot of Americans have is that Europe has only had immigration fairly recently which is incorrect.  My parents were part of a large cohort of ethnically Indian immigrants from East Africa in the 70s and the kids from that generation, myself and my contemporaries, are very integrated into British culture.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Psychopoesie on December 24, 2013, 07:34:20 AM
Quote

On my way to the shops this morning, I saw a bumper sticker on the back of a ute (pick up) which said: "Australia - love it or leave."

That attitude is directed less at visitors and more at immigrants...

Here in the US a bumper sticker like that is aimed at liberals.

Katycoo is correct about the likely target of the sticker - immigrants, rather than visitors. 

Famous visitors do get immediately pressed for what they think about Australia (sometimes before they've done more than walk off the plane).
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: perpetua on December 24, 2013, 07:40:39 AM
I'm actually not convinced that the US is more diverse than individual European countries either - I think Americans often underestimate the differences within European countries - but I think it's a much more reasonable claim and is certainly true of some European countries (e.g. Monaco, Luxembourg).

Neither am I, although obviously I haven't been there so it's hard to say so definitively. I don't know much about European countries, but I'm struggling to see how the UK is much less diverse than the US, in far smaller quarters, too. And that's without even getting into ethnicity, as someone mentioned upthread. Londoners are quite different to Geordies who are quite different to Scots or Devonians or Liverpudlians or people from Ireland or or or. The cultures and ways of life in these places can be vastly different from one another, even having completely different dialects in some cases, if that's what we're terming 'diversity'.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Thipu1 on December 24, 2013, 08:18:29 AM
In our experience, the population of a London undergrround train is virtually indistinguishable from one in NYC.  The only difference is the newspapers. 

Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on December 24, 2013, 10:21:20 AM
I'm actually not convinced that the US is more diverse than individual European countries either - I think Americans often underestimate the differences within European countries - but I think it's a much more reasonable claim and is certainly true of some European countries (e.g. Monaco, Luxembourg).

Neither am I, although obviously I haven't been there so it's hard to say so definitively. I don't know much about European countries, but I'm struggling to see how the UK is much less diverse than the US, in far smaller quarters, too. And that's without even getting into ethnicity, as someone mentioned upthread. Londoners are quite different to Geordies who are quite different to Scots or Devonians or Liverpudlians or people from Ireland or or or. The cultures and ways of life in these places can be vastly different from one another, even having completely different dialects in some cases, if that's what we're terming 'diversity'.

Philadelphians are utterly different from Pittsburghers, in dialect, local cuisine, attitude.  And both couldn't be more different from Allentowners, who are distinct from Lancasterians.  And if you leave Pennsylvania...
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: hobish on December 24, 2013, 11:14:05 AM
I'm actually not convinced that the US is more diverse than individual European countries either - I think Americans often underestimate the differences within European countries - but I think it's a much more reasonable claim and is certainly true of some European countries (e.g. Monaco, Luxembourg).

Neither am I, although obviously I haven't been there so it's hard to say so definitively. I don't know much about European countries, but I'm struggling to see how the UK is much less diverse than the US, in far smaller quarters, too. And that's without even getting into ethnicity, as someone mentioned upthread. Londoners are quite different to Geordies who are quite different to Scots or Devonians or Liverpudlians or people from Ireland or or or. The cultures and ways of life in these places can be vastly different from one another, even having completely different dialects in some cases, if that's what we're terming 'diversity'.

Philadelphians are utterly different from Pittsburghers, in dialect, local cuisine, attitude.  And both couldn't be more different from Allentowners, who are distinct from Lancasterians.  And if you leave Pennsylvania...

 :) You totally read my mind with that post.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: shhh its me on December 24, 2013, 11:16:38 AM
As a country, the US is much more diverse than other European individual countries, but obvisously comparing the US diversity to the entire European continent is vastly different.

Is it really, though? What's the comparison?

In the UK for example, we have a whole heap of cultures and accents and dialects and ways of life all within very close quarters; the way of life in London is very different from the way of life in the South West or the North East or the Indian/Pakistani quarter of Leicester (just a few examples) and there are only a couple of hundred miles separating them all.

snip

Your original post compared the differences between the Ukraine and Norway. Yes, both of those countries will be very different than each US state. 

But it seems you are now discussing ethnicity within a country. In 2010 the ethnic population of the US was 22%, The Netherlands was 20%, and then other western European countries were UK at around 17%, Germany close to 15%, and Denmark at almost 9%. Italy is less than 8% and Spain is less than 6%.

I live in a US city with around 40% Hispanic, 23% Caucasian, 23% African/African American, & 6% Asian. As of 2011, 60% of Londoners were White (with only 12% of that classified as non British white), 19% Asian, and 19% Black.

So as a US Citizen when I travel in Europe I do notice the local population seems more homogeneous than the US, especially large US cities.

I was talking about the difference between a Ukrainian and a Norwegian - they are basically different ethnicities and look extremely different. 

I genuinely have encountered Americans who claim that the US is just as diverse as Europe as a whole, not any individual European country, which I just think is clearly incorrect. 

I'm actually not convinced that the US is more diverse than individual European countries either - I think Americans often underestimate the differences within European countries - but I think it's a much more reasonable claim and is certainly true of some European countries (e.g. Monaco, Luxembourg).

One of the issues, I think, which makes some Americans think that European cities are less diverse ethnicity-wise is that they often assume that, if you're not white, you're not in fact European.  I'm a non-white British person and I have had Americans assume that I'm clearly not British.  Some even argue with me over it because, I think, the impression that a lot of Americans have is that Europe has only had immigration fairly recently which is incorrect.  My parents were part of a large cohort of ethnically Indian immigrants from East Africa in the 70s and the kids from that generation, myself and my contemporaries, are very integrated into British culture.

I think part of why American feel so diverse is after almost 200 years(I'm referring to the mass immigration of 1800s not incorrectly dating the founding of the country)  we identify with our ancestors country of origin. I could be wrong but I get the impression that in the UK for example people stop identifying themselves as Irish sooner then after 150 years since their last ancestor set foot on Irish soil.  (you can insert Italy , Greek , German, French etc. )
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on December 24, 2013, 11:41:58 AM
I'm actually not convinced that the US is more diverse than individual European countries either - I think Americans often underestimate the differences within European countries - but I think it's a much more reasonable claim and is certainly true of some European countries (e.g. Monaco, Luxembourg).

Neither am I, although obviously I haven't been there so it's hard to say so definitively. I don't know much about European countries, but I'm struggling to see how the UK is much less diverse than the US, in far smaller quarters, too. And that's without even getting into ethnicity, as someone mentioned upthread. Londoners are quite different to Geordies who are quite different to Scots or Devonians or Liverpudlians or people from Ireland or or or. The cultures and ways of life in these places can be vastly different from one another, even having completely different dialects in some cases, if that's what we're terming 'diversity'.

Philadelphians are utterly different from Pittsburghers, in dialect, local cuisine, attitude.  And both couldn't be more different from Allentowners, who are distinct from Lancasterians.  And if you leave Pennsylvania...

 :) You totally read my mind with that post.

Back me up on this, as I believe you live in NJ... but Camdenites are closer to Philadelphians than NJ in attitude, but otherwise, North, Central, and South Jersey might as well be different nations in attitude and composition.  I've always said that NJ is a chameleon state: North resembles New York, Central resembles Pennsylvania and South resembles Delaware.  But they don't resemble each other a great deal.  (The difference between Camden and, say, Pennsville is striking.  Heck, Camden and Cherry Hill couldn't be more different.)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Hmmmmm on December 24, 2013, 02:06:27 PM
I'm actually not convinced that the US is more diverse than individual European countries either - I think Americans often underestimate the differences within European countries - but I think it's a much more reasonable claim and is certainly true of some European countries (e.g. Monaco, Luxembourg).

Neither am I, although obviously I haven't been there so it's hard to say so definitively. I don't know much about European countries, but I'm struggling to see how the UK is much less diverse than the US, in far smaller quarters, too. And that's without even getting into ethnicity, as someone mentioned upthread. Londoners are quite different to Geordies who are quite different to Scots or Devonians or Liverpudlians or people from Ireland or or or. The cultures and ways of life in these places can be vastly different from one another, even having completely different dialects in some cases, if that's what we're terming 'diversity'.

I think I'm using the term "diversity" in a much more legal/HR terminology around ethnicity. It is very easy to give specific data on country, region, or city diversity that does indicate clearly that the US has a higher percent of population that is of minority ethnicities than the majority of European countries.

But it sounds like you are describing regional differences within the same ethnic group living in the same country or region. I don't know that I could say that Americans aren't aware that there are regional differences. But yes Americans do discuss frequently our regional differences.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Venus193 on December 24, 2013, 02:10:45 PM
Even within NYC some natives identify with the borough in which they live or were born in.  There is a major amount of snobbery about that with some of them.   >:(
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: perpetua on December 24, 2013, 02:15:32 PM
I'm actually not convinced that the US is more diverse than individual European countries either - I think Americans often underestimate the differences within European countries - but I think it's a much more reasonable claim and is certainly true of some European countries (e.g. Monaco, Luxembourg).

Neither am I, although obviously I haven't been there so it's hard to say so definitively. I don't know much about European countries, but I'm struggling to see how the UK is much less diverse than the US, in far smaller quarters, too. And that's without even getting into ethnicity, as someone mentioned upthread. Londoners are quite different to Geordies who are quite different to Scots or Devonians or Liverpudlians or people from Ireland or or or. The cultures and ways of life in these places can be vastly different from one another, even having completely different dialects in some cases, if that's what we're terming 'diversity'.

I think I'm using the term "diversity" in a much more legal/HR terminology around ethnicity. It is very easy to give specific data on country, region, or city diversity that does indicate clearly that the US has a higher percent of population that is of minority ethnicities than the majority of European countries.


Yes, quite possibly. Can't speak for mainland-European cities because I haven't travelled there but London (also a European city, obviously) surely has to be one of the most diverse places on the planet in that respect.

Quote
But it sounds like you are describing regional differences within the same ethnic group living in the same country or region. I don't know that I could say that Americans aren't aware that there are regional differences. But yes Americans do discuss frequently our regional differences.


Yes, that's what I'm talking about really. How people living in different parts of the country differ from each other. Much is made of how the US is so diverse, usually in respect to its size, which is another thing that is talked about a lot. I think the UK might be just as diverse in that respect, our regional differences are very pronounced. They're just over a smaller number of miles :)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Hmmmmm on December 24, 2013, 02:24:14 PM
I'm actually not convinced that the US is more diverse than individual European countries either - I think Americans often underestimate the differences within European countries - but I think it's a much more reasonable claim and is certainly true of some European countries (e.g. Monaco, Luxembourg).

Neither am I, although obviously I haven't been there so it's hard to say so definitively. I don't know much about European countries, but I'm struggling to see how the UK is much less diverse than the US, in far smaller quarters, too. And that's without even getting into ethnicity, as someone mentioned upthread. Londoners are quite different to Geordies who are quite different to Scots or Devonians or Liverpudlians or people from Ireland or or or. The cultures and ways of life in these places can be vastly different from one another, even having completely different dialects in some cases, if that's what we're terming 'diversity'.

I think I'm using the term "diversity" in a much more legal/HR terminology around ethnicity. It is very easy to give specific data on country, region, or city diversity that does indicate clearly that the US has a higher percent of population that is of minority ethnicities than the majority of European countries.


Yes, quite possibly. Can't speak for mainland-European cities because I haven't travelled there but London (also a European city, obviously) surely has to be one of the most diverse places on the planet in that respect.

Quote
But it sounds like you are describing regional differences within the same ethnic group living in the same country or region. I don't know that I could say that Americans aren't aware that there are regional differences. But yes Americans do discuss frequently our regional differences.


Yes, that's what I'm talking about really. How people living in different parts of the country differ from each other. Much is made of how the US is so diverse, usually in respect to its size, which is another thing that is talked about a lot. I think the UK might be just as diverse in that respect, our regional differences are very pronounced. They're just over a smaller number of miles :)

Yes, London is diverse but if you look at the statistics I posted, London is 60% white. My US city is only 23% Caucasian and the largest population group is only 40%. So when I travel to London, it does seem less ethnically diverse to me. Cities like Madrid and a Rome seem extremely ethnically homogeneous to me. But saying that, when I travel to Salt Lake City Utah I'm also struck by the lack of ethnic diversity.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: hobish on December 24, 2013, 03:56:47 PM
I'm actually not convinced that the US is more diverse than individual European countries either - I think Americans often underestimate the differences within European countries - but I think it's a much more reasonable claim and is certainly true of some European countries (e.g. Monaco, Luxembourg).

Neither am I, although obviously I haven't been there so it's hard to say so definitively. I don't know much about European countries, but I'm struggling to see how the UK is much less diverse than the US, in far smaller quarters, too. And that's without even getting into ethnicity, as someone mentioned upthread. Londoners are quite different to Geordies who are quite different to Scots or Devonians or Liverpudlians or people from Ireland or or or. The cultures and ways of life in these places can be vastly different from one another, even having completely different dialects in some cases, if that's what we're terming 'diversity'.

Philadelphians are utterly different from Pittsburghers, in dialect, local cuisine, attitude.  And both couldn't be more different from Allentowners, who are distinct from Lancasterians.  And if you leave Pennsylvania...

 :) You totally read my mind with that post.

Back me up on this, as I believe you live in NJ... but Camdenites are closer to Philadelphians than NJ in attitude, but otherwise, North, Central, and South Jersey might as well be different nations in attitude and composition.  I've always said that NJ is a chameleon state: North resembles New York, Central resembles Pennsylvania and South resembles Delaware.  But they don't resemble each other a great deal.  (The difference between Camden and, say, Pennsville is striking.  Heck, Camden and Cherry Hill couldn't be more different.)

Indeed, although we argue whether there really is such a thing as Central Jersey :) I think so, but i know people who vehemently disagree. It's kind of odd, too, that if you head even further south Florida and New Jersey are weirdly similar. I hope there is nowhere else like Camden. That poor city is a mess.

I found a neat link - not sure if it is on-topic, maybe a little drifty, but if we're getting into diversity: http://www.daynews.com/latest-news/2013/03/top-10-culturally-diverse-cities-in-the-world-15031 (http://www.daynews.com/latest-news/2013/03/top-10-culturally-diverse-cities-in-the-world-15031)
#1, #4, and #7 are in the US. Singapore being #9 surprised me. 
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: NotTheNarcissist on December 24, 2013, 06:19:09 PM
OP, thanks for posting this! Very entertaining!
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: 123sandy on December 24, 2013, 11:53:48 PM
Is it getting a bit "touchy" in this thread....
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on December 25, 2013, 01:12:13 AM
Is it getting a bit "touchy" in this thread....

I don't see that at all.  Just people with strong opinions that don't fully agree.  :)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Peppergirl on December 26, 2013, 12:12:23 AM
I'm actually not convinced that the US is more diverse than individual European countries either - I think Americans often underestimate the differences within European countries - but I think it's a much more reasonable claim and is certainly true of some European countries (e.g. Monaco, Luxembourg).

Neither am I, although obviously I haven't been there so it's hard to say so definitively. I don't know much about European countries, but I'm struggling to see how the UK is much less diverse than the US, in far smaller quarters, too. And that's without even getting into ethnicity, as someone mentioned upthread. Londoners are quite different to Geordies who are quite different to Scots or Devonians or Liverpudlians or people from Ireland or or or. The cultures and ways of life in these places can be vastly different from one another, even having completely different dialects in some cases, if that's what we're terming 'diversity'.

Philadelphians are utterly different from Pittsburghers, in dialect, local cuisine, attitude.  And both couldn't be more different from Allentowners, who are distinct from Lancasterians.  And if you leave Pennsylvania...

Very good point.  The cultural differences between Cincinnatians and Clevelanders are striking as well, despite being technically in the same state.  At least we think so. ;)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: saki on December 26, 2013, 02:08:10 AM
I'm actually not convinced that the US is more diverse than individual European countries either - I think Americans often underestimate the differences within European countries - but I think it's a much more reasonable claim and is certainly true of some European countries (e.g. Monaco, Luxembourg).

Neither am I, although obviously I haven't been there so it's hard to say so definitively. I don't know much about European countries, but I'm struggling to see how the UK is much less diverse than the US, in far smaller quarters, too. And that's without even getting into ethnicity, as someone mentioned upthread. Londoners are quite different to Geordies who are quite different to Scots or Devonians or Liverpudlians or people from Ireland or or or. The cultures and ways of life in these places can be vastly different from one another, even having completely different dialects in some cases, if that's what we're terming 'diversity'.

Philadelphians are utterly different from Pittsburghers, in dialect, local cuisine, attitude.  And both couldn't be more different from Allentowners, who are distinct from Lancasterians.  And if you leave Pennsylvania...

Very good point.  The cultural differences between Cincinnatians and Clevelanders are striking as well, despite being technically in the same state.  At least we think so. ;)

I've been to many of these places and, to be honest, they don't come across as that different.  Now, Arizona and NYC, those have always come across very differently to me.  Buffalo very different to Washington.  But the differences not really any stronger than, say, the difference between Newcastle and Norwich or Cornwall and Liverpool.*   But, then again, the difference between Newcastle and New Delhi, say, is vastly greater than any of those.

I think, to some extent, I weary of Americans who have never left the US from making the "the US is more diverse than Europe" claim because, really, it's just an assertion when you've never had any direct experience to draw on.  It's always qualitative anyway because it's difficult to measure differences in an objective way but at least, with someone who has travelled widely, you can have an interesting discussion on it.

*In Liverpool, I literally can only understand maybe one word in three, the accent is so different from Southern England.  I have to rely on mime.  I can communicate better in Italy and I don't even speak Italian!

Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: iridaceae on December 26, 2013, 02:23:46 AM
Perpetua just out of curiosity since you've mentioned it once or twice: do you think Americans live the same no matter where we are? That a person living in the heart of Detroit lives his life the same as a farmer in the middle of South Dakota?

Saki I don't quite know how to quantify "more diverse" since the ethnic make up varies wildly from lace to place in the US but we do have some very diverse *areas* and peoples. The Amish in Pennsylvania and a few other States. Some of the Indian reservations. Hawaii. Parts of the Southwest where Spanish is still spoken 250 years after Spanish colonization as the primary language. Come to that I have a friend whose grandmother grew up in either Northern Wisconsin or the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and never learned English until well after she was an adult; her tiny village spoke German.

When colonists came here they tended to group together. It's why New Glarus Wisconsin basks in its Swiss heritage and Pella Iowa in its Dutch.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: perpetua on December 26, 2013, 02:30:24 AM

I've been to many of these places and, to be honest, they don't come across as that different.  Now, Arizona and NYC, those have always come across very differently to me.  Buffalo very different to Washington.  But the differences not really any stronger than, say, the difference between Newcastle and Norwich or Cornwall and Liverpool.*   But, then again, the difference between Newcastle and New Delhi, say, is vastly greater than any of those.

I wonder if they do come across as that different to people who live there, though. Some differences may not be so obvious if you're not there all the time. For example, I can imagine an American visiting maybe Manchester and Newcastle, and not seeing much of a difference: similar architechture, countryside, whatever - but to people *from* Manchester and Newcastle, they're as different as chalk and cheese?

Quote
I think, to some extent, I weary of Americans who have never left the US from making the "the US is more diverse than Europe" claim because, really, it's just an assertion when you've never had any direct experience to draw on.  It's always qualitative anyway because it's difficult to measure differences in an objective way but at least, with someone who has travelled widely, you can have an interesting discussion on it.

So do I, to be honest. I also get weary of the 'you couldn't possibly understand how diverse the US is because it's so big and where you live isn't' argument, and the implication that other places couldn't possibly be as diverse as the US is because they're not the same size. Well, yes they can be, and they are - it's just more concentrated in a smaller area, which actually makes the diversity even *more* surprising. I would expect, for example, a population to have different cultures and and dialects and landscapes or whatnot over a distance of 3000 miles; it's perhaps a little less obvious to realise that areas 300 or so miles apart, like say the South West of England and Liverpool, can be so different and just as different as people from Seattle - vs - Alabama (picking examples out of my head).

Also, I know how big the US is. I'm quite capable of looking at an atlas to determine this, as I'm sure are most other people who don't live there, so I'm always unsure as why we need to have this fact drummed into us quite so much :)

I'm not at all insinuating that all Americans do this, of course. But it does seem to be an often proclaimed thing.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: perpetua on December 26, 2013, 02:33:39 AM
Perpetua just out of curiosity since you've mentioned it once or twice: do you think Americans live the same no matter where we are? That a person living in the heart of Detroit lives his life the same as a farmer in the middle of South Dakota?

Goodness no, of course not. I don't think I've ever insinuated that they do. Of course there are huge differences. What I'm saying is that the variations in how people live in other countries from area to area are just as striking - perhaps even more so because of the smaller distances involved. Regional variations are not unique to America, but to read this (and other) forums sometimes, one could be forgiven for thinking that Americans think it *is* unique to the US.

Conversely, do you think that people in the heart of London live the same way as farmers in rural Cornwall? I'd imagine not.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: saki on December 26, 2013, 09:19:23 AM
Perpetua just out of curiosity since you've mentioned it once or twice: do you think Americans live the same no matter where we are? That a person living in the heart of Detroit lives his life the same as a farmer in the middle of South Dakota?

Saki I don't quite know how to quantify "more diverse" since the ethnic make up varies wildly from lace to place in the US but we do have some very diverse *areas* and peoples. The Amish in Pennsylvania and a few other States. Some of the Indian reservations. Hawaii. Parts of the Southwest where Spanish is still spoken 250 years after Spanish colonization as the primary language. Come to that I have a friend whose grandmother grew up in either Northern Wisconsin or the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and never learned English until well after she was an adult; her tiny village spoke German.

When colonists came here they tended to group together. It's why New Glarus Wisconsin basks in its Swiss heritage and Pella Iowa in its Dutch.

I am aware that different parts of the US can be very different.  But that's not unique to the US, by any means.  The UK has some very diverse areas and peoples too.  For example, parts of Wales are mostly Welsh speaking.  Both Wales and Cornwall were heavily influenced by mining but Wales was much more heavily unionised than Cornwall and this has had some interesting social repercussions.  Some parts of the UK are very very socially conservative - I've seen a "no playing on Sundays" sign on a playground in the north of Scotland - some parts are incredibly liberal (e.g. certain areas of London like Soho).  Some parts of the UK have unexpected communities - the first mosque in the UK was built in 1860 in Cardiff because sailors from Yemen settled there in the 19th century and there is still a Yemeni community there today.  I could go on with random facts about bits of the UK but hopefully the original point that I was making is clear - that one of the things that I find surprising about spending time in the US is the number of Americans who think that the US is uniquely diverse (despite often not having even visited another country so not having any experience to compare it to.)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Wordgeek on December 26, 2013, 04:12:59 PM
Is anyone arguing that diversity is unique to the US?  I hadn't thought so.

Nor is this is a competition, in that there is no prize awaiting the country declared Most Diverse.  The goal of the discussion is to increase understanding and promote tolerance.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: lady_disdain on December 26, 2013, 04:17:41 PM
Besides, both US and Europe would "lose" to places like Africa and Southeast Asia.

I don't agree 100% with the methodology, but, even so, this is an interesting map: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/07/18/the-most-and-least-culturally-diverse-countries-in-the-world/
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: baglady on December 26, 2013, 06:44:36 PM
I think the misconception among us Americans that the U.S. is more culturally diverse than other places is because we are more exposed to the diversity in our own country -- because we live here. We've visited, or at least heard of, the Chinatowns and Little Italys and other ethnic enclaves in our own cities. Also, most of us don't study geography beyond sixth or seventh grade, so if we aren't well-traveled, we tend to think of other countries in terms of the very simplistic lessons we got in grade school: Everyone in Mexico, Central America and South America is a dark-skinned person of Aztec/Mayan/Incan descent, everyone in Scandinavia or the Netherlands is blond and blue-eyed*, everyone in Italy has dark hair and olive skin. (When I taught high-school Spanish, I used to blow my students' minds by telling them that Peru had a president named Fujimori who was of Japanese heritage.)

We're also taught, often with a point-of-pride component, that our country is the "land of opportunity" and has welcomed immigrants of all nationalities over the years. Our schools don't go into that depth about other countries' immigration policies or history, so many Americans, unless they study other countries in depth in college, or visit them, simply don't pick up the knowledge that those other countries are as multicultural as we are.

And for most Americans who are ignorant on this issue, I don't think the belief that we are more diverse is necessarily a point of pride -- it's just an assumption they have, and they don't go around thinking/saying "My country is more diverse than yours, nyah nyah!"

*I'm one-quarter Swedish. How did I miss out on those tall blond genes?  ;)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Wordgeek on December 26, 2013, 06:57:04 PM
^ which seems to reinforce my theory about travelers versus non-travelers.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: perpetua on December 26, 2013, 07:50:05 PM
Interesting points in the two posts above. What about TV though? You don't have to have travelled to a country to be aware of its make-up and population because there are things about it on telly. Although that said I've also heard it said that US tv, news especially, is very US-centric, not covering much at all to do with other countries. Can't vouch for how true that is, obviously, since I've never seen it.

baglady, re saying you're a quarter Swedish, someone raised an interesting point about that upthread in how Americans identify with their heritage more than others seem to and I meant to touch on that earlier. I'm of Scottish and Irish descent - I'm actually only a technically a quarter English. The biggest part of my makeup - 50 percent - is Scottish, followed closely by Irish.  But I would never say 'I'm Scottish' or 'I'm Irish', because I'm not. I'm English. I was born in England, I've lived in England all my life, I speak with an English accent. Whereas an American with my ancestry might say 'I'm Irish', even though they were born in the US, have lived there all their life, speak with an American accent and have probably never even been to Ireland.

I don't think it's a 'how many generations' thing either, because my mother was entirely Scottish in her ancestry and her parents actually were from Scotland. She would still have said she was English through and through, because she was born here and lived here.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: katycoo on December 26, 2013, 08:04:27 PM
Interesting points in the two posts above. What about TV though? You don't have to have travelled to a country to be aware of its make-up and population because there are things about it on telly. Although that said I've also heard it said that US tv, news especially, is very US-centric, not covering much at all to do with other countries. Can't vouch for how true that is, obviously, since I've never seen it.

baglady, re saying you're a quarter Swedish, someone raised an interesting point about that upthread in how Americans identify with their heritage more than others seem to and I meant to touch on that earlier. I'm of Scottish and Irish descent - I'm actually only a technically a quarter English. The biggest part of my makeup - 50 percent - is Scottish, followed closely by Irish.  But I would never say 'I'm Scottish' or 'I'm Irish', because I'm not. I'm English. I was born in England, I've lived in England all my life, I speak with an English accent. Whereas an American with my ancestry might say 'I'm Irish', even though they were born in the US, have lived there all their life, speak with an American accent and have probably never even been to Ireland.

I don't think it's a 'how many generations' thing either, because my mother was entirely Scottish in her ancestry and her parents actually were from Scotland. She would still have said she was English through and through, because she was born here and lived here.

Agreed.  My ancestry if you go back far enough is Half Engolish, quarter Irish, quarter Scottish.
That said, I also have ancestry migrating to Australia on the First Fleet so you also don't get more Australian than that!  I don't ever elaborate past Australian unless the conversation is specificlaly on my historical ancestry.  I don't identify as British.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Katana_Geldar on December 26, 2013, 08:05:24 PM
That would depend on what tv you watch, and I generally distrust anything factual or documentary done by Americans unless it's about America. Somehow the Brits guve it more class.

Outside that and into shows...no, I completely disagree. It's television and movies that give people the wrong indignation in the first place.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: perpetua on December 26, 2013, 08:35:17 PM
That would depend on what tv you watch, and I generally distrust anything factual or documentary done by Americans unless it's about America. Somehow the Brits guve it more class.

In the interests of balance, us Brits also have some absolutely dreadful telly, factual or otherwise. And don't forget the Daily Mail!
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Hmmmmm on December 26, 2013, 08:35:50 PM
Interesting points in the two posts above. What about TV though? You don't have to have travelled to a country to be aware of its make-up and population because there are things about it on telly. Although that said I've also heard it said that US tv, news especially, is very US-centric, not covering much at all to do with other countries. Can't vouch for how true that is, obviously, since I've never seen it.

baglady, re saying you're a quarter Swedish, someone raised an interesting point about that upthread in how Americans identify with their heritage more than others seem to and I meant to touch on that earlier. I'm of Scottish and Irish descent - I'm actually only a technically a quarter English. The biggest part of my makeup - 50 percent - is Scottish, followed closely by Irish.  But I would never say 'I'm Scottish' or 'I'm Irish', because I'm not. I'm English. I was born in England, I've lived in England all my life, I speak with an English accent. Whereas an American with my ancestry might say 'I'm Irish', even though they were born in the US, have lived there all their life, speak with an American accent and have probably never even been to Ireland.

I don't think it's a 'how many generations' thing either, because my mother was entirely Scottish in her ancestry and her parents actually were from Scotland. She would still have said she was English through and through, because she was born here and lived here.

As someone else mentioned, when immigrants came to the US, they grouped in communities and kept much of their traditions. So someone who grew up in an Irish American community is going to have very different traditions than someone who grew up in an Italian American or Mexican American community. So they do refer to their heritage because it is still part of their culture.

There is very little international tv programming in the States that English speaking other than BBC America. And from my experience that programming doesn't really represent the diversity the UK and other shows reinforce the stereotypes. I can only think of one British actor who isn't Caucasian that would be known in the US.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Katana_Geldar on December 26, 2013, 08:47:32 PM
That would depend on what tv you watch, and I generally distrust anything factual or documentary done by Americans unless it's about America. Somehow the Brits guve it more class.

In the interests of balance, us Brits also have some absolutely dreadful telly, factual or otherwise. And don't forget the Daily Mail!
There is a certain gravitas an English accent gives to a documentary, particularly if that's Stephen Fry or Michael Palin.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: perpetua on December 26, 2013, 08:50:41 PM
Interesting points in the two posts above. What about TV though? You don't have to have travelled to a country to be aware of its make-up and population because there are things about it on telly. Although that said I've also heard it said that US tv, news especially, is very US-centric, not covering much at all to do with other countries. Can't vouch for how true that is, obviously, since I've never seen it.

baglady, re saying you're a quarter Swedish, someone raised an interesting point about that upthread in how Americans identify with their heritage more than others seem to and I meant to touch on that earlier. I'm of Scottish and Irish descent - I'm actually only a technically a quarter English. The biggest part of my makeup - 50 percent - is Scottish, followed closely by Irish.  But I would never say 'I'm Scottish' or 'I'm Irish', because I'm not. I'm English. I was born in England, I've lived in England all my life, I speak with an English accent. Whereas an American with my ancestry might say 'I'm Irish', even though they were born in the US, have lived there all their life, speak with an American accent and have probably never even been to Ireland.

I don't think it's a 'how many generations' thing either, because my mother was entirely Scottish in her ancestry and her parents actually were from Scotland. She would still have said she was English through and through, because she was born here and lived here.

As someone else mentioned, when immigrants came to the US, they grouped in communities and kept much of their traditions. So someone who grew up in an Irish American community is going to have very different traditions than someone who grew up in an Italian American or Mexican American community. So they do refer to their heritage because it is still part of their culture.

There is very little international tv programming in the States that English speaking other than BBC America. And from my experience that programming doesn't really represent the diversity the UK and other shows reinforce the stereotypes. I can only think of one British actor who isn't Caucasian that would be known in the US.

Oh yes, I understand that, that makes perfect sense. What I'm not quite understanding is - and this seems to be particularly relevant to people of Irish descent - why they say 'I'm Irish'. 'Irish-American', I would understand (I hear that in relation to Italian-American, but not so much the Irish-desended folks). Perhaps it's just shorthand.

Under-representation is a problem on UK telly too, which is probably why you can only name that one actor. Shows such as Eastenders, for example, are often criticised for being un-representative of the communities they're supposed to portray, and they can be very cookie-cutter in their approach to inclusivity. The East End is a very culturally vibrant and diverse place, yet the show's characters are almost exclusively white with an Asian family (and when we refer to 'Asian', it usually means of Indian or Pakistani descent, rather than Chinese) and a black family thrown in here and there and it sometimes comes across as anything but inclusive because such a big deal is made of them being 'The new Asian family' when they're introduced, rather than just 'a new family'.  (that made no sense, it's 3am here...)

It's particularly a problem in relation to disabled people, as well as ethnicity. There are precious few disabled characters on UK tv and when they do appear they're usually introduced to highlight an 'issue' in relation to their disability rather than just as a normal character who happens to be disabled - and very often they're played by non-disabled actors. I can only name two disabled actors who portray disabled characters on British tv and that's because one of them is a friend of mine and the other has my condition so I know about her role through the charity. That's a bit of a tangent though.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Psychopoesie on December 26, 2013, 09:01:05 PM
My family seemed to have come from either Scotland or north of England, with only a couple of exceptions. My dad's mum was the most recent immigrant - born in Scotland, came over as an 11 year old in the early 20th century. It doesn't really come up unless we're talking about family history.

If you asked, I'd identify as Australian. However, I've also heard others say they have a big
Irish-Australian family or Greek-Australian, for example.

It was interesting to see that, on one of those fab maps, Australia showed up as fairly homogenous culturally. Really surprising, since over a quarter of our population was born overseas and another fifth had one parent born overseas. Of course, it all depends on where you live - Sydney and Melbourne are more culturally diverse than some smaller country towns, IME. Although the Darwin I grew up in was a fairly multicultural place.



Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: gramma dishes on December 26, 2013, 09:02:36 PM
Not sure where Mom got it but growing up (Massachusetts ) we had carpet in the bathroom.  It was cut to fit the room and had a rubber backing like a bath mat.  So if something happened she could take the whole thing up and throw it in the wash.  There was vinyl flooring underneath and it wasn't that big a bathroom.  It was nice on a cold day :-)

We had that kind in our kids' bathroom when they were little. It was fuzzy and felt warm and cozy to their little feet when we got them out of the tub.  It was also a lot less slippery for them which was our actual reason for getting it.   It got washed several times and eventually the backing got all funky so we threw it out.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: baglady on December 26, 2013, 10:08:37 PM
My mentioning my Swedish ancestry was just a facetious aside, pointing out that not all people of X heritage conform to the X heritage stereotype (in the case of Swedish, tall and blond -- I am neither). I don't identify as Swedish-American, or attend Swedish-American cultural events. I can say "thank you" in Swedish, because my grandmother taught it to me umptyzillion years ago, but that's about it. But my gene pool is actually pretty muddy -- in addition to the Swedish, there's English, Irish, French Canadian and supposedly Penobscot Indian, and goodness knows what else.

Some Americans do identify strongly with their ancestors' country of origin. Often, but not always, they are the children or grandchildren of immigrants -- so they grew up around people who actually *lived* in the "old country" and still spoke the language and/or practiced the traditions. They might say "I'm Italian/Irish/Greek/Polish," but that is, as Perpetua said, a kind of shorthand. What they really mean is "I'm Italian-American," or "I'm an American of Irish descent."
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: perpetua on December 26, 2013, 10:10:35 PM
My mentioning my Swedish ancestry was just a facetious aside, pointing out that not all people of X heritage conform to the X heritage stereotype (in the case of Swedish, tall and blond -- I am neither). I don't identify as Swedish-American, or attend Swedish-American cultural events.

Oh yes, sorry - I understood that, but your post reminded me of what someone else upthread had said about identifying so I used it as an opportunity to jump in with something I meant to say about three days ago ;D Sorry for the confusion.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Wordgeek on December 27, 2013, 08:20:43 AM
There's a university in my neck of the woods named after an early explorer who came from Scotland.  Ergo, it has a bagpipe band and celebrates Robbie Burns Day by parading the haggis.  8)  ;D
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: iridaceae on December 27, 2013, 07:19:36 PM
That would depend on what tv you watch, and I generally distrust anything factual or documentary done by Americans unless it's about America. Somehow the Brits guve it more class.

Outside that and into shows...no, I completely disagree. It's television and movies that give people the wrong indignation in the first place.

I'm guessing that means you don't get Frontline.

US TV programs tend to show NYC and LA. That's not most of the country nor how most live.

As for non-white UK actors: Parminder Nagra, Idris Elba and Colin Salmon all jump to my mind.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Katana_Geldar on December 27, 2013, 08:24:30 PM
Never heard of Frontline, it's not on tv here but I rarely watch free to air these days. It's only cop shoes or reality shows.

Pay tv isn't worth getting either, and I confirmed it with someone who worked for a pay tv company.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Hmmmmm on December 27, 2013, 08:36:54 PM
That would depend on what tv you watch, and I generally distrust anything factual or documentary done by Americans unless it's about America. Somehow the Brits guve it more class.

Outside that and into shows...no, I completely disagree. It's television and movies that give people the wrong indignation in the first place.

I'm guessing that means you don't get Frontline.

US TV programs tend to show NYC and LA. That's not most of the country nor how most live.

As for non-white UK actors: Parminder Nagra, Idris Elba and Colin Salmon all jump to my mind.

I looked up all  three. Nagra I recognize from ER. The other two I do not recognize at all nor have I ever watched the couple of shows they are known for. I just can't think of any non-Caucasian actor or singer who has risen to the level of Denzel Washington or a Beyoncé or a Eva Longoria.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on December 27, 2013, 08:58:49 PM
That would depend on what tv you watch, and I generally distrust anything factual or documentary done by Americans unless it's about America. Somehow the Brits guve it more class.

Outside that and into shows...no, I completely disagree. It's television and movies that give people the wrong indignation in the first place.

I'm guessing that means you don't get Frontline.

US TV programs tend to show NYC and LA. That's not most of the country nor how most live.

As for non-white UK actors: Parminder Nagra, Idris Elba and Colin Salmon all jump to my mind.

I looked up all  three. Nagra I recognize from ER. The other two I do not recognize at all nor have I ever watched the couple of shows they are known for. I just can't think of any non-Caucasian actor or singer who has risen to the level of Denzel Washington or a Beyoncé or a Eva Longoria.

For me, Idris Elba is most notable for Heimdall, in the Thor movies.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Psychopoesie on December 27, 2013, 09:07:36 PM
I recognised all three once I googled their images - not good with actors' names.

Didn't know Idris Elba was British - had only seen him in The Wire.

Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Library Dragon on December 27, 2013, 09:19:46 PM
That would depend on what tv you watch, and I generally distrust anything factual or documentary done by Americans unless it's about America. Somehow the Brits guve it more class.

Outside that and into shows...no, I completely disagree. It's television and movies that give people the wrong indignation in the first place.

I'm guessing that means you don't get Frontline.

US TV programs tend to show NYC and LA. That's not most of the country nor how most live.

As for non-white UK actors: Parminder Nagra, Idris Elba and Colin Salmon all jump to my mind.

True. The calls from talk shows, interview shows, etc., 99% request participants from those metro areas. So, the morning show featuring the "Most Stressed Mom In America" will be someone from the NYC area. Applicants were only accepted from that location.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Thipu1 on December 28, 2013, 08:34:48 AM
In the US, PBS is pretty good at dealing with international news.  Frontline comes to mind although the Nightly News Hour is also good.  I also enjoy the weekly show on religion and ethics. 

Here in NYC, we can get a number of foreign news shows including Al Jezira.  It may take a bit of looking but they're there. 
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Yvaine on December 28, 2013, 12:56:04 PM
That would depend on what tv you watch, and I generally distrust anything factual or documentary done by Americans unless it's about America. Somehow the Brits guve it more class.

Outside that and into shows...no, I completely disagree. It's television and movies that give people the wrong indignation in the first place.

I'm guessing that means you don't get Frontline.

US TV programs tend to show NYC and LA. That's not most of the country nor how most live.


It's not even how people live in NYC or LA.  ;D TV shows will show a character who's a waitress living in a huge apartment she'd never be able to afford on a waitress's salary, that sort of thing. A lot of shows have a big dollop of "fantasy" in them even if they look realistic in some ways.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: iridaceae on December 28, 2013, 03:04:20 PM

It's not even how people live in NYC or LA.  ;D TV shows will show a character who's a waitress living in a huge apartment she'd never be able to afford on a waitress's salary, that sort of thing. A lot of shows have a big dollop of "fantasy" in them even if they look realistic in some ways.

That's not what I meant.  I live in a city of about a million. Cabs are not roaming freely with you able to just flag them down. We don't have a huge choice of delivery nor is it 24 hours. When I lived in Wausau, Wisconsin (population 40,000) we thought we were lucky we had a 24-hour grocery store. I don't shop in those little shops you're always seeing on Law & Order. We don't have freeways the way LA does.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Venus193 on December 29, 2013, 05:52:48 AM
Those little shops you see on Law & Order do exist and the show probably used the real thing.  Some are open odd hours that don't compete with other stores that are open normal hours.  I love my city.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Peppergirl on December 29, 2013, 07:19:10 AM
^^ I dearly love your city too, Venus.  I'd move there if I could.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Thipu1 on December 29, 2013, 09:38:18 AM
Ouside Manhattan, yellow cabs can be rare.  If we're going to the airport we call a car service. 

Yes, Venus.  In our neighborhood  we have plenty of those little shops that are open at odd hours.  It's very convenient. When SIL and her DH visited back in the autumn, they were surprised at how handy everything was.   
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Wordgeek on December 29, 2013, 09:42:46 AM
I've only been to NYC once, but I loved it.  Fantastic city, fantastic people.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: kckgirl on December 29, 2013, 11:28:01 AM
I've only been to NYC once, but I loved it.  Fantastic city, fantastic people.

Like!
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Library Dragon on December 29, 2013, 08:37:58 PM
DH is from NYC. I think of it as small towns that sit right next each other. Even within the same borough there are differences.  There's the favorite bagel place that competes with the neighborhoods other favorite bagel place.  People often live, shop, go to church/temple within a small geographic area. 

When I went to chaplains' assistant school at Ft. Wadsworth on Staten Island the neighborhood right off post was very much a small village and in many ways a world away from DH's old neighborhood in Brooklyn.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Dr. F. on December 29, 2013, 09:05:45 PM
I was reminded of this thread the other day as I was checking out at the grocery. They needed my ID to process the wine I bought (note: I am over 20 years over the age limit. It must be a corporate policy). She noted that my ID is from California, though I'm in Virginia. I said that I'd been on a temporary assignment out here for a while, but need to now transfer everything over (this is on my list for the New Year).

She said, "Oh! I've always wanted to visit California!"

Me: "What part?"

Her: "Oh, any! Aren't they all the same? It's California!"

I told her that the state is crazy diverse, in biogeographic terms. From coastal strand, coastal sage scrub, the central valley, to high Sierra, redwoods, etc. etc. etc.

The notion that going to LA would be the same as going to, I don't know - Davis?!?!, or even Barstow is sort of mind-boggling.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Library Dragon on December 29, 2013, 09:52:52 PM
Ouch! That always hurts this Californian heart. The Mojave Desert is slightly different than Berkeley.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: PastryGoddess on December 30, 2013, 09:19:58 AM
Virginia is a fairly large and diverse state as well, it's amazing that is didn't occur to her that other states were the same.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Thipu1 on December 30, 2013, 09:56:38 AM
Virginia is a fairly large and diverse state as well, it's amazing that is didn't occur to her that other states were the same.

You would be amazed at what people believe.
  We once met a woman who flew from the west coast to NYC and rented a car to drive to Vermont. She expressed great surprise to find that there were rural areas in upstate NY.  Apparently, she thought NY would be Times Square right up to the Vermont border.   
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Snooks on December 30, 2013, 10:26:43 AM
That would depend on what tv you watch, and I generally distrust anything factual or documentary done by Americans unless it's about America. Somehow the Brits guve it more class.

Outside that and into shows...no, I completely disagree. It's television and movies that give people the wrong indignation in the first place.

I'm guessing that means you don't get Frontline.

US TV programs tend to show NYC and LA. That's not most of the country nor how most live.

As for non-white UK actors: Parminder Nagra, Idris Elba and Colin Salmon all jump to my mind.

I looked up all  three. Nagra I recognize from ER. The other two I do not recognize at all nor have I ever watched the couple of shows they are known for. I just can't think of any non-Caucasian actor or singer who has risen to the level of Denzel Washington or a Beyoncé or a Eva Longoria.

For me, Idris Elba is most notable for Heimdall, in the Thor movies.

David Harewood from Homeland is another one.  It seems that a lot of Brits don't get on TV in the US as Brits so along with Idris Elba there was Dominic West in The Wire, David Harewood joined by Damien Lewis in Homeland, Hugh Laurie in House (is he known in the US as Stephen Fry's comedy partner too?), Stephen Graham in Boardwalk Empire.  I'm sure there's more but those are the ones who spring to mind.

I wanted to second what perpetua said about how it seems really strange to hear people refer to their ancestry.  I worked for someone who's parents and three elder siblings were all immigrants to the UK but she identifies herself as English.  Your ancestry really doesn't tend to figure in the UK.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Sophia on December 30, 2013, 11:54:23 AM
People identify themselves as American.  Ancestral origin country is a small distinction and a safe difference to discuss.  Sometimes people gather based on that because it gives them something in common.  I think it also has something to do with America still being a young country. 
eta: For example, if you want to play Taroky (the worlds best trump card game) you pretty much have to go to the Czech club. 
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: nutraxfornerves on December 30, 2013, 12:01:22 PM
Quote
Her: "Oh, any! Aren't they all the same? It's California!"
When laws prohibiting smoking in bars & restaurants were being debated around the world, I ran in to a number of similar statements about California's early adoption of such laws: "Yeah, but in California, you don't have to worry about standing outside to smoke in the cold and snow." Apparently not thinking of (or knowing about) all those ski resorts and mountain towns, not to mention desert areas that can get very cold at night in winter.

People are also surprised to hear that California's number one industry is agriculture. (That includes not just farming, but all the things that support farming, like fertilizers, tractors, and consultants.)  No one thinks of California as a major producer of cotton or rice--or that the top farm commodity in terms of value is milk & other dairy products.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on December 30, 2013, 12:27:09 PM
Quote
Her: "Oh, any! Aren't they all the same? It's California!"
When laws prohibiting smoking in bars & restaurants were being debated around the world, I ran in to a number of similar statements about California's early adoption of such laws: "Yeah, but in California, you don't have to worry about standing outside to smoke in the cold and snow." Apparently not thinking of (or knowing about) all those ski resorts and mountain towns, not to mention desert areas that can get very cold at night in winter.

People are also surprised to hear that California's number one industry is agriculture. (That includes not just farming, but all the things that support farming, like fertilizers, tractors, and consultants.)  No one thinks of California as a major producer of cotton or rice--or that the top farm commodity in terms of value is milk & other dairy products.

I've always thought North and South California should be separate states.  They are as different as, say, Florida and Idaho.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Katana_Geldar on December 30, 2013, 02:38:13 PM
People identify themselves as American.  Ancestral origin country is a small distinction and a safe difference to discuss.  Sometimes people gather based on that because it gives them something in common.  I think it also has something to do with America still being a young country. 
eta: For example, if you want to play Taroky (the worlds best trump card game) you pretty much have to go to the Czech club.
Australia is an even younger country and you rarely hear about people's ancestry unless it's fairly recent. That might be because a lot of our ancestors came here with chains around their ankles.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Venus193 on December 30, 2013, 04:19:01 PM
Many Americans feel snubbed when people from countries with longer histories talk about what a young country the US is.  As though we have no values or education.

The other issue -- at least for my generation -- is that people from different European countries look diverse enough so that is reflected in their US-born descendants.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Wordgeek on December 30, 2013, 05:35:36 PM
The modern state of the US is younger than some nations and older than others.  It's older than my country, for example.   Calling a country young is not a statement on its values or education.

...but people can get offended at all sorts of things, I suppose.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Venus193 on December 30, 2013, 06:48:59 PM
It's the tone, not just the words, that makes this a snub.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Scuslidge on December 30, 2013, 07:16:13 PM
A couple of years ago, an exchange student from Germany who was being hosted by some friends of ours was quite indignant that he had to study U.S. history at school here.  As far as he was concerned, our country was not old enough to have to study its history.  That's what he told me, at any rate.  I think it's that kind of attitude that can get wearing to a U.S. citizen. 

I love the U.S. and I would be among those who would say it's the best country in the world.  However, I have often expressed that I would hope everyone would think their own country was the best in the world!  I've loved visiting Europe, Canada and Mexico - but think home is the best.  I always wanted the exchange students we have hosted throughout the years to learn to love our country, but still think that their own is the best.  I hope that makes sense!
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: iridaceae on December 31, 2013, 04:31:37 AM
Many Americans feel snubbed when people from countries with longer histories talk about what a young country the US is.  As though we have no values or education.

I have never heard that. What I hear is how horrible the US is: our food is terrible: well yes if you've only eaten cheez whiz and McDonald's. Our language is atrocious (and yet you use that ultimate American word okay).  Our TV shows- well. They aren't produced by the BBC,  are they? We're loud,  crude,  obnoxious.....


ETA It got so bad on a different board that I asked if there was anything non-US citizens liked about the US. (The winners were Cajun food and barbecues).
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: perpetua on December 31, 2013, 04:40:07 AM
I can understand how frustrating it must get to have where you live constantly derided like that.

To present the opposite perspective though, I think non-US folks sometimes find the proclamations about everything in the US being bigger and better than it is everywhere else equally tiring. I'm by no means suggesting that everyone from the US thinks this, of course! But it does seem to be a very prevalent thing, especially on t'interwebs.  I honestly think that some of these statements are people from other countries just kicking back against that. There are of course much better and more polite ways of doing it than saying 'yeah, well, your food sucks!' though :)

As for the German exchange student, he was being ridiculous. History doesn't have to be ancient to qualify as history. Heck, what happened yesterday is history. And actually, I'd have to think that a lot of US history is just as relevant to those studying history, since so much *has* happened in a comparatively short space of time - isn't the whole point of history to document change and progress?
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Katana_Geldar on December 31, 2013, 04:59:22 AM
I can understand how frustrating it must get to have where you live constantly derided like that.

To present the opposite perspective though, I think non-US folks sometimes find the proclamations about everything in the US being bigger and better than it is everywhere else equally tiring. I'm by no means suggesting that everyone from the US thinks this, of course! But it does seem to be a very prevalent thing, especially on t'interwebs.  I honestly think that some of these statements are people from other countries just kicking back against that. There are of course much better and more polite ways of doing it than saying 'yeah, well, your food sucks!' though :)

I have to say when any tv show or movie starts becoming flag waving, I lose interest. It's honestly quite boring.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: kherbert05 on December 31, 2013, 08:02:15 AM
My non-american relatives looking at what Sis and I took in HS, were generally of the oppinion that we didn't spend enough time on history outside the US. They felt it gave us less perspective. They were also amazed that we spent so much time on Texas history. Also that it was superfical and a survey type course every year.


K - 3rd the idea of  community/history/democracy
4th Texas History from the crossing of the land bridge to yesterday
5th US history from the crossing of the land Bridge to yesterday
6th World history beginning of time to yesterday
7th Texas History from crossing of land bridge to yesterday
8th US history from crossing of land bridge to civil war
9th US history from civil war to yesterday
10th or 1th World history beginning of time to yesterday
12 US Government/Economics


Eventhought the time frame is from land bridge to today - Native American history/culture is slid over. Many people still don't get that each nation had its own culture and that they are as diverse as any other group of cultures in the world. At least Kinder to stopped dressing kids up like sterotypical Plains Cultural groups for Thanksgiving.


Ok and in K - 5 it isn't  unusual to have principals that will punish a teacher if they walk in and see Social Studies or Science (except 5th grade that is supposed to magically teach K -5 science in 1 year and get kids to pass the STAAR)  actually being taught. You are supposed to be pounding reading (STAAR 3-5), Math (STAAR 3-5), Writing (STAAR 4th).


When we go back in January it will be the first time in 10 years that my schedule from the office actually includes both Science and Social studies every day. I've spent the holiday finding resources to teach Social Studies. Our current Principal (official start date was Dec 20, she was interim before that) had come up under the same system. It was our Diaog that pointed out we were violating the law after an ARD. Since science and social studies are the first academic subjects a sped student is usually mainstreamed into you have to actually spend time teaching them.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: MommyPenguin on December 31, 2013, 08:45:43 AM
I'm surprised that you say that Native America isn't being taught as diverse, kherbert!  I was lucky enough to go to a school (East Coast) when I was a kid that spent a lot of time learning about some of the different NA cultures.  We built wigwams and teepees and pueblos and longhouses and totem poles, and learned about all the different ways that they lived.  It was one of our favorite things to study in school.  :)  It's too bad to hear that not all schools do that!

I do agree that a lot of schools spend many, many years studying U.S. History, and not so much studying the world.  A lot of schools spend about 8 years studying U.S. History and approximately 4 years studying world history.  Our homeschool curriculum reverses that and does 8 years of world history/geography/culture and 4 years of U.S. history.  They also have you start with world history first, so that you understand U.S. history in the context of the history of the world, and not as an isolated thing. 

A lot of kids basically know almost nothing about history prior to Columbus.  When I was in school, we learned about world cultures some, but I don't think it was until AP Modern European history (so 10th grade) that we really learned world history in detail, and then it was an awful lot of history crammed into one year!

I think there is value in studying history from the perspective of something specific, though.  Texas or other state history, something like that.  When I was in college, I took a semester of Jewish history, and it was really fascinating and valuable to see history from the perspective of a particular people.  It let you see how things fit together in a different way, without being overwhelmed by covering what was going on in so many diverse places.  At the same time, while I think a semester or year of state history is good, more than that might be a bit overkill!
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Thipu1 on December 31, 2013, 09:12:41 AM
In the sixth grade (age 12) we had New York State history but, for the rest of my schooling, it was about equally split between US and European history. 

It always bothers me that so many people think all Native Americans share a common culture.  I really don't think that a Tlingit person has much in common with a Seminole. 
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Jones on December 31, 2013, 10:01:10 AM
Maybe it's because I live near a reservation, and there are several others within a day's drive of here, but we had a thorough cultural learning experience in 4th grade regarding different Native American tribes and cultures.

I have been tackling world history with my homeschooled 2nd grade DD this year, started out with prehistory, then Mesopotamia, Egypt, and are finishing up China today. On to Greece next. We haven't dug truly deeply into it, just general cultural stuff, an outline, things that were discovered or begun etc. rather than lists of names and dates. Age appropriate learning, I think. I just feel she'll have a better grasp of the "why" and "hows" of European medieval history, and without that then how much of American modern history makes sense? Her age mates are learning state history this year but I just didn't feel comfortable teaching that with no perspective or background.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: hobish on December 31, 2013, 10:56:07 AM
A couple of years ago, an exchange student from Germany who was being hosted by some friends of ours was quite indignant that he had to study U.S. history at school here.  As far as he was concerned, our country was not old enough to have to study its history.  That's what he told me, at any rate.  I think it's that kind of attitude that can get wearing to a U.S. citizen. 

I love the U.S. and I would be among those who would say it's the best country in the world.  However, I have often expressed that I would hope everyone would think their own country was the best in the world!  I've loved visiting Europe, Canada and Mexico - but think home is the best.  I always wanted the exchange students we have hosted throughout the years to learn to love our country, but still think that their own is the best.  I hope that makes sense!

I get what you’re saying and I agree. It would be so weird for someone from the US to say, “Australia is the best country on Earth!” or for a Spanish person to say the US is. Your German student was just showing his own ignorance, just like the people who go around saying Americans are lazy and all that noise. I can’t help but wonder if it is ignorance or jealousy, or a bit of both.
I read some of the things people say about the US and Americans in general (even here!) and if you substitute Chinese, or Pilipino, or some other nationality it would be racist, but because it’s said about Americans it’s no big deal. I find that both interesting and frustrating – and more telling about the person saying it than what is being said.

How long did your German student stay? Were his feelings any different from when he came to the US and when he left? My friend does an exchange program for adults, but he has never encountered anything like that; most are people who have been here before and wanted to return.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Scuslidge on December 31, 2013, 12:30:39 PM
It wasn't our student - it was a student some friends were hosting.  Our own student that year (also from Germany) thought what he'd said was ridiculous.  They were both in the U.S. for the school year.  I don't know if his opinion changed while he was here or not because I didn't see him often.  He developed a very close relationship with his hosting family and they have visited his family a couple of times since he went back home.  He and his family have also visited the U.S. since he left as well.

We have hosted 8 exchange students and none of them have had that attitude.  All of them have enjoyed their stay (although one enjoyed hers more once she moved in with another family - we have no idea why she didn't like us!) and all want to come back to visit again (and a couple of them have already done so). 

Our first student was from Germany (we've hosted 5 from Germany, 1 from China and 1 from Italy) and her boyfriend also went on an exchange year.  When filling out his application for the exchange, he had to list not only the countries he was interested in going to, but any that he would NOT go to.  The U.S. was on the top of his NOT list.  He thought we were all materialistic, rich jerks who owned guns and participated in car chases.  Ah, the power of Hollywood!  He went to Australia, lived with a very wealthy family (with servants) and Anne lived with us - a middle-class, non-gun-owning family who had nary a car chase during her year with us.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: hobish on December 31, 2013, 12:44:26 PM

Thanks for the insight, Scuslidge, and welcome to the board! That's so fascinating. I'd like to host someone doing that sort of thing one day. They probably wouldn't be a student (no kids, and i'm pretty sure they don't just drop teens with a couple of unmarried 30 & 40 somethings  :P) but for part of a similar adult program.

Sorry for threadjack! That is just so cool...
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: MommyPenguin on December 31, 2013, 01:49:00 PM
We had exchange students from France twice when I was a kid.  The first, Ingrid (one parent was Swedish) was awesome.  We really loved having her.  The second (Alexandra?  Something like that) seemed nice to me, but my parents seemed to think she was a little distant and didn't really like us.  I don't know.  Mostly I remember they both wanted to buy jeans.  Lots and lots and lots of jeans.  I'm not really sure what they were expecting and what they thought.  Our school was pretty straightforward middle class, with a fairly typical mix of race, class, and lifestyle compared to the country as a whole.  Some violence, nothing extreme.  I guess at the time I didn't give it much thought, but now I'm curious what their impressions were and whether they changed at all.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Scuslidge on December 31, 2013, 02:09:05 PM

Thanks for the insight, Scuslidge, and welcome to the board! That's so fascinating. I'd like to host someone doing that sort of thing one day. They probably wouldn't be a student (no kids, and i'm pretty sure they don't just drop teens with a couple of unmarried 30 & 40 somethings  :P) but for part of a similar adult program.

Sorry for threadjack! That is just so cool...

Ah, but they will drop teens with pretty much anyone who can pass a background check.  Single folks with no kids, married folks with no kids, single parents with kids, married parents with kids, same sex couples - as long as you can provide them their own bed (they can share a room, but not a bed) and agree to feed them (and can pass the background check), you can host. 

Some kids are spectacular, fit in with your family like they were meant to be with you and you'd love to keep them forever.  Some not so much, but you make things work.  Occasionally, one will need to be placed with another family.  I'd be happy to answer any questions regarding hosting that you have as we loved the experience (well, almost all of the experiences!).  It's a great way to share our culture and learn about another's culture.  It's surprising what you and they learn.  For instance, our German students were surprised that the mailman picked up mail as well as delivered it as in Germany, it was only delivered and to send something one had to travel to another location.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: EllenS on December 31, 2013, 02:51:43 PM
Maybe it's because I live near a reservation, and there are several others within a day's drive of here, but we had a thorough cultural learning experience in 4th grade regarding different Native American tribes and cultures.


We are not very near a reservation, but are a historic origin point for 5 different Native American tribes.  We learned a lot about them in Elementary school state history - I think the idea that NA culture was homogenous might be due more to the blurring effect of childhood memories, rather than because it is not taught at all. 
It was not until university that I got a survey course on NA history/culture across the whole continent - and even that was an elective.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Katana_Geldar on December 31, 2013, 03:07:42 PM
Postman doesn't pick up mail here, just drops it off.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on December 31, 2013, 03:54:19 PM
Postman doesn't pick up mail here, just drops it off.

Mine will if you leave it in the door.  ;D
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Katana_Geldar on December 31, 2013, 03:55:45 PM
Ours rarely comes to the door, only if there's a parcel. And as our mailbox is lockable (something Aus Post insists on) how are they supposed to get mail out?
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Onyx_TKD on December 31, 2013, 04:39:29 PM
Ours rarely comes to the door, only if there's a parcel. And as our mailbox is lockable (something Aus Post insists on) how are they supposed to get mail out?

Did I miss something here?  ??? I didn't see anyone say that mailmen should pick up mail at the house in Australia, only that they do in the USA.

IME in the USA, either the mailboxes are non-locking and equipped with a "flag" is indicate outgoing mail (e.g., in the neighborhood where I grew up), there is a box for outgoing mail next to a collection of locked mailboxes (e.g., apartment complexes I've lived in), or there is a place near, but not in, the locked mailboxes where people place outgoing mail (e.g., in my current condo, outgoing mail goes on top of the row of mailboxes inside the lobby).
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: perpetua on December 31, 2013, 04:58:19 PM
Whenever I read about mailboxes I always think it sounds so complicated! I think I'd worry about mail being stolen if I left it in there for a postman to collect. I'm really glad we just have letterboxes in our front doors here. If you want to post something you stick it in a postbox on the street (they're dotted around all over the place), like this:

(http://www.ministry-of-information.co.uk/blog1/0510/images/291005-14.jpg)

If a letter/parcel is too big to go through the letterbox they'll knock on the door and hand it to you, and if you're out they put a card through the door and you can pick it up from your local sorting office the following day.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Katana_Geldar on December 31, 2013, 05:05:40 PM
What do you do if you have a parcel or bulky envelope perpetua?

Ours have a slot and a handle for larger items.

(http://resources3.news.com.au/images/2010/12/18/1225973/303111-mailboxes.jpg)

As for posties picking up mail, no they don't here. But Australia Post requires mailboxes to be locked (or at least fastened securely) and will send you a note if they are not like that.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: perpetua on December 31, 2013, 05:07:48 PM
If it's being delivered they'll knock on the door and if you're not in they take it to the sorting office, leaving you a card with a reference number on it through the letterbox. You can then collect it the next day from the sorting office when you produce the card (you have to take some ID with you). If you're sending a parcel you take it to the post office.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Bethczar on December 31, 2013, 05:09:53 PM
What do you do if you have a parcel or bulky envelope perpetua?

Ours have a slot and a handle for larger items.

(http://resources3.news.com.au/images/2010/12/18/1225973/303111-mailboxes.jpg)

As for posties picking up mail, no they don't here. But Australia Post requires mailboxes to be locked (or at least fastened securely) and will send you a note if they are not like that.
Most US freestanding mailboxes look like these (only blue). Personally, I don't like leaving my mail out for the mailman to take, I'm always afraid some is going to steal it. I'd rather just take it to a mailbox.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Hmmmmm on December 31, 2013, 08:06:21 PM
What do you do if you have a parcel or bulky envelope perpetua?

Ours have a slot and a handle for larger items.

(http://resources3.news.com.au/images/2010/12/18/1225973/303111-mailboxes.jpg)

As for posties picking up mail, no they don't here. But Australia Post requires mailboxes to be locked (or at least fastened securely) and will send you a note if they are not like that.
Most US freestanding mailboxes look like these (only blue). Personally, I don't like leaving my mail out for the mailman to take, I'm always afraid some is going to steal it. I'd rather just take it to a mailbox.

We leave envelopes clipped to our mailbox for the mailman to pick up all the time. And I regular leave packages at our door for pick up. We've yet to have an issue with loosing anything. But we live in a pretty low crime area.  But there are lots of free standing postal boxes that people can use.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: JoW on December 31, 2013, 09:46:08 PM
I almost never mail anything from my home mailbox.  We had mail thieves in my city several years ago.   They figured out how to wash everything but your signature from an outbound check, then fill in their own information.  Many of the victims discovered this when the got overdue notices from their home mortgage lender and the altered check showed up in their next bank statement. 

I drive past a couple of blue mailboxes on my way to work.  They are the drive-up type with a chute on the back set so you can put a letter in the box without getting out of your car. 

I still get inbound mail in my home mailbox. 
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: PastryGoddess on December 31, 2013, 10:48:06 PM
most postasl delivery people here in my city will take your outbound mail for you, but you do have to label it as such.  Our household has been known to forget to check the mail for a couple of days. 

We have a little holder at the bottom of the mailbox and that is where we put outbound mail. 
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: katycoo on December 31, 2013, 11:26:02 PM
Ours rarely comes to the door, only if there's a parcel. And as our mailbox is lockable (something Aus Post insists on) how are they supposed to get mail out?

...

As for posties picking up mail, no they don't here. But Australia Post requires mailboxes to be locked (or at least fastened securely) and will send you a note if they are not like that.

Where abouts do you live?  Because I've never heard of any requirement for your mailbox to be locked.  Mine doesn't even have a lock- never has.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: katycoo on December 31, 2013, 11:27:31 PM
I almost never mail anything from my home mailbox.  We had mail thieves in my city several years ago.   They figured out how to wash everything but your signature from an outbound check, then fill in their own information.  Many of the victims discovered this when the got overdue notices from their home mortgage lender and the altered check showed up in their next bank statement. 

I drive past a couple of blue mailboxes on my way to work.  They are the drive-up type with a chute on the back set so you can put a letter in the box without getting out of your car. 

I still get inbound mail in my home mailbox.

I would never be worried about someone stealing my mail but I think this is also why cheques have never been as popular here.  So much less risk of theft mid-transaction with net banking.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Psychopoesie on December 31, 2013, 11:48:52 PM
Ours rarely comes to the door, only if there's a parcel. And as our mailbox is lockable (something Aus Post insists on) how are they supposed to get mail out?

...

As for posties picking up mail, no they don't here. But Australia Post requires mailboxes to be locked (or at least fastened securely) and will send you a note if they are not like that.

Where abouts do you live?  Because I've never heard of any requirement for your mailbox to be locked.  Mine doesn't even have a lock- never has.

I received a letter from Oz post last year telling me the mailbox had been inspected and I needed to get a lock on it.

They also said it needed to be a different size. Bit hard when it's been built into the brick wall at the front courtyard of the town house.

I haven't changed anything - mail still gets delivered.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved
Post by: ClaireC79 on January 01, 2014, 04:59:19 AM
Australia is an even younger country and you rarely hear about people's ancestry unless it's fairly recent. That might be because a lot of our ancestors came here with chains around their ankles.

But you keep (kept) such good records on all of them - at least Tasmania did, one of my ancestors was sent out in 1819 (son who I'm descended from was only 2 and stayed in the UK), there is so much info available on him - what ship, where he was sentenced, height, description, behaviour (ok really not good as he seemed to have spent time trying to work out how to escape. followed on by murdering someone and then getting murdered himself) - far better than UK records from the same time.  All I have from the UK is what he was sentenced for and that he received the death penalty (later changed to deportation)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: oz diva on January 01, 2014, 05:40:38 AM
If you leave postage out for the postman, how does the postage get paid?
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: iridaceae on January 01, 2014, 05:50:27 AM
If you leave postage out for the postman, how does the postage get paid?

The postage is already on them.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: JoW on January 01, 2014, 06:10:15 AM
If you leave postage out for the postman, how does the postage get paid?
The same way it gets paid if you put outgoing mail in a public mailbox.  I buy a book of stamps - about 16 stamps - a couple times each year.  You put the stamp on the envelope before you put it in the mail box. 

The US post office does have a "Stamps by Mail" program.  You get an order form from the post office, fill it out, and mail it back with a check.  They send your stamps in the mail.

For outgoing mail larger than a standard letter where a regular first class stamp won't work, you take it to the post office.  They weigh and measure it and sell you the right postage. 
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Dazi on January 01, 2014, 06:23:55 AM
If you leave postage out for the postman, how does the postage get paid?
The same way it gets paid if you put outgoing mail in a public mailbox.  I buy a book of stamps - about 16 stamps - a couple times each year.  You put the stamp on the envelope before you put it in the mail box. 

The US post office does have a "Stamps by Mail" program.  You get an order form from the post office, fill it out, and mail it back with a check.  They send your stamps in the mail.

For outgoing mail larger than a standard letter where a regular first class stamp won't work, you take it to the post office.  They weigh and measure it and sell you the right postage.

We have one of those metered mail things at work.  I can't use it for personal postage, but I can go in and ask one of the mail room clerks to tell me how much postage I need on my larger letters/packages.  Most of them are nice enough to take it to the post office for anyone who works here as long as you have enough cash for the package an don't abuse the privilege (they have to go everyday any way/the two weeks before Christmas usually is off the table due to time constraints).  This has saved me from spending my whole or almost whole lunch hour at the post office.  The mail clerks go at non peak hours and can usually get in and out in under 5 minutes.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: jedikaiti on January 01, 2014, 10:30:18 AM
As for posties picking up mail, no they don't here. But Australia Post requires mailboxes to be locked (or at least fastened securely) and will send you a note if they are not like that.
Most US freestanding mailboxes look like these (only blue). Personally, I don't like leaving my mail out for the mailman to take, I'm always afraid some is going to steal it. I'd rather just take it to a mailbox.

Aside from driving to a post office, I wouldn't know where to find a mail box in the US anymore. I've never had a problem with mail being stolen from my mailbox, but you do sometimes hear some very interesting stories..
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Hmmmmm on January 01, 2014, 11:32:18 AM
If you leave postage out for the postman, how does the postage get paid?
The same way it gets paid if you put outgoing mail in a public mailbox.  I buy a book of stamps - about 16 stamps - a couple times each year.  You put the stamp on the envelope before you put it in the mail box. 

The US post office does have a "Stamps by Mail" program.  You get an order form from the post office, fill it out, and mail it back with a check.  They send your stamps in the mail.

For outgoing mail larger than a standard letter where a regular first class stamp won't work, you take it to the post office.  They weigh and measure it and sell you the right postage.

Or for larger packages, you log onto the USPS website, enter the shipping weight and adress, create a mailing label and pay the postage online and then print it out and attached to your package. It's actually reduced postage cost for doing online. You can also alert the postman that you have it to pick up. Then you either leave by the front door or the postman will ring to collect it. We ship something weekly and haven't been to a post office in two years.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: CakeEater on January 01, 2014, 08:10:00 PM

As for posties picking up mail, no they don't here. But Australia Post requires mailboxes to be locked (or at least fastened securely) and will send you a note if they are not like that.

They require no such thing. They 'strongly recommend' that you use one. The mailbox we have at the moment is the first lockable one I've ever had at a house, and have never received a note. Most aren't locked in my experience.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Psychopoesie on January 01, 2014, 08:35:13 PM

As for posties picking up mail, no they don't here. But Australia Post requires mailboxes to be locked (or at least fastened securely) and will send you a note if they are not like that.

They require no such thing. They 'strongly recommend' that you use one. The mailbox we have at the moment is the first lockable one I've ever had at a house, and have never received a note. Most aren't locked in my experience.

Note seems to be a recent thing - I got one last year and so did my mum (2 suburbs over). Neither of us have ever had a locked mailbox so I'm guessing ozpost are on a bit of a mission about it.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: PastryGoddess on January 01, 2014, 09:31:02 PM
..what happens if you lose your key?
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Layla Miller on January 01, 2014, 10:08:03 PM
..what happens if you lose your key?

They mail you a new one?  ;D
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Psychopoesie on January 01, 2014, 10:09:47 PM
..what happens if you lose your key?

If I put a lock on my mailbox, it'd be a little padlock. So if I lost the key and spare, cutting the padlock off would be the go.  :)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: PastryGoddess on January 01, 2014, 10:47:50 PM
..what happens if you lose your key?

If I put a lock on my mailbox, it'd be a little padlock. So if I lost the key and spare, cutting the padlock off would be the go.  :)
Oh so it's not an integrated lockset, but a lock that can be added onto the mailbox?  So is there a slot for the mail carrier to put the mail in?

Sorry for the questions, but this is all very facinating
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Psychopoesie on January 01, 2014, 11:03:01 PM
I
..what happens if you lose your key?

If I put a lock on my mailbox, it'd be a little padlock. So if I lost the key and spare, cutting the padlock off would be the go.  :)
Oh so it's not an integrated lockset, but a lock that can be added onto the mailbox?  So is there a slot for the mail carrier to put the mail in?

Sorry for the questions, but this is all very facinating

My mailbox is set into a brick wall. It's metal, with a slot at the front for mail. The back of my mailbox has a little door you lift up to get at mail. The door has a loop that would take a small padlock.

I have seen the integrated locks, usually on newer mailboxes or in townhouse/unit complexes where mailboxes are grouped together. No idea what you do then - guessing you can remove the lock as a whole and put a new one in. Either that, or repace the mailbox.

There are all different sorts of mailboxes around the suburbs here. This is one fairly common type
(http://www.everything-mailboxes.com/image-files/letterbox-standards.jpg)

People can get a bit creative though, especially in rural areas.

(http://mw2.google.com/mw-panoramio/photos/medium/32107391.jpg)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Katana_Geldar on January 01, 2014, 11:53:36 PM
Probably get a locksmith, or if you're in a flat the strata may have a copy.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Ereine on January 02, 2014, 10:37:06 AM
The last time I had a separate lockable mailbox was in an apartment complex and it just used my apartment key so if I lost it the management would have a copy (but losing my home key would be a bigger problem).
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: JoW on January 02, 2014, 10:08:46 PM
Or for larger packages, you log onto the USPS website, enter the shipping weight and adress, create a mailing label and pay the postage online and then print it out and attached to your package. It's actually reduced postage cost for doing online. You can also alert the postman that you have it to pick up. Then you either leave by the front door or the postman will ring to collect it. We ship something weekly and haven't been to a post office in two years.

You must have a home business.  I don't.  I mail 5 packages/year, all around Christmas.  I take my packages to the Pack and Mail store 3 miles from my house.  Pack and Mail is a private business that sells boxes and bubble wrap and tape for mailing packages.  They will mail your package for you by USPS, UPS, or FedEx.  For that convenience you pay a little more than the shipping company charges. 
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Margo on January 06, 2014, 10:15:44 AM
I'm in the UK - you can buy & print postage online here, you have to register for an account but don't have to be a business.

We have franking machines at work - he cost for franked mail is a little lower than if you buy stamps - the franked mail has to be sorted into bags for 1st and 2nd class, and the whole bag is then dropped off at the post office (or into a designated franked-mail only post box) I admit that if I have a package to send, I'll sometimes send it from work and put the money into petty cash, to avoid having to go queue in the post office in my lunch break.

There tend to be plenty of pox boxes around, here, so finding one if you want to post a letter is not usually an issue - there are at least 3 within a 10 minute walk of my home,  and even rural villages will have one or two, so the fact that postal workers don't collect from individual houses isn't an issue.




Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Margo on January 06, 2014, 10:21:37 AM
slightly off-topic:
PG Wodehouse claimed that he never bothered posting letters - he just threw them (with stamps on) out of his upstairs window, to save having to walk down to the street, and that someone would always pick them up and pop them into a letterbox.

A local paper in Cheltenham tried this not long before christmas, and found that just over 80% of letters were posted. I think one of the national papers tried it a few years ago and got well over 50%, even in major cities. I imagine it works best in dry weather, though!
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Hmmmmm on January 06, 2014, 10:28:29 AM
Or for larger packages, you log onto the USPS website, enter the shipping weight and adress, create a mailing label and pay the postage online and then print it out and attached to your package. It's actually reduced postage cost for doing online. You can also alert the postman that you have it to pick up. Then you either leave by the front door or the postman will ring to collect it. We ship something weekly and haven't been to a post office in two years.

You must have a home business.  I don't.  I mail 5 packages/year, all around Christmas.  I take my packages to the Pack and Mail store 3 miles from my house.  Pack and Mail is a private business that sells boxes and bubble wrap and tape for mailing packages.  They will mail your package for you by USPS, UPS, or FedEx. For that convenience you pay a little more than the shipping company charges.

I do work from home but the majority of shipping is personal: gifts for family, care package for college kids, returning mail order items. My account is a personal account and we always seem to have shipping supplies at home. So to me convenience is not having to go anywhere. But if you are going to need to go out and buy shipping items you might as well go to a service location.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: iridaceae on January 07, 2014, 02:47:12 AM
I reread this and I wonder if mostly the people they interviewed had been on the East Coast because I would think if they were in the Midwest or Texas that someone would have been surprised by tornado warnings and watches and how many there can be and how people (most people) do take warnings, watches and green skies seriously.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: lowspark on January 07, 2014, 07:38:23 AM
Or for larger packages, you log onto the USPS website, enter the shipping weight and adress, create a mailing label and pay the postage online and then print it out and attached to your package. It's actually reduced postage cost for doing online. You can also alert the postman that you have it to pick up. Then you either leave by the front door or the postman will ring to collect it. We ship something weekly and haven't been to a post office in two years.

You must have a home business.  I don't.  I mail 5 packages/year, all around Christmas.  I take my packages to the Pack and Mail store 3 miles from my house.  Pack and Mail is a private business that sells boxes and bubble wrap and tape for mailing packages.  They will mail your package for you by USPS, UPS, or FedEx.  For that convenience you pay a little more than the shipping company charges.

I don't think you have to have a business to pay for postage online or for USPS to pick up your packages. They advertise all that on their website -- printing online and scheduling a free pick up. I'm thinking all you need is a credit card to set up an account with them just as with any other business online.

But yeah, you will have to package it up so if you want someone to supply the boxes, bubble wrap, tape, and do the labor, then taking it to a one of those pack-n-ship places is probably your best bet.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America
Post by: Two Ravens on January 07, 2014, 08:15:53 AM
I reread this and I wonder if mostly the people they interviewed had been on the East Coast because I would think if they were in the Midwest or Texas that someone would have been surprised by tornado warnings and watches and how many there can be and how people (most people) do take warnings, watches and green skies seriously.

As an East Coast native, West coast transplant, I wouldn't be surprised at all. I have lived through both earthquakes and hurricanes, but tornados are the one weather event that scares the heck out of me.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America
Post by: EllenS on January 07, 2014, 03:30:04 PM
I reread this and I wonder if mostly the people they interviewed had been on the East Coast because I would think if they were in the Midwest or Texas that someone would have been surprised by tornado warnings and watches and how many there can be and how people (most people) do take warnings, watches and green skies seriously.

As an East Coast native, West coast transplant, I wouldn't be surprised at all. I have lived through both earthquakes and hurricanes, but tornados are the one weather event that scares the heck out of me.

We have some DF's from Germany who lived here in the Southeast for 2 years for work.  They were extremely concerned and always asking questions about:
1) Tornados
2) Poisonous Spiders and other potentially poisonous insects
3) Snakes
4) Poison Ivy/Sumac/Oak.

They were very outdoorsy, and really not used to have Nature trying to kill them.  (Or at least make them itch really bad)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Katana_Geldar on January 07, 2014, 03:35:43 PM
I thought it was Australia where nature tries to kill you. ;)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: VorFemme on January 07, 2014, 03:45:33 PM
I thought it was Australia where nature tries to kill you. ;)

Both - Arizona has poisonous lizards that look like beaded hand bag fabric....same desert extends into parts of New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America
Post by: Onyx_TKD on January 07, 2014, 03:55:39 PM
I reread this and I wonder if mostly the people they interviewed had been on the East Coast because I would think if they were in the Midwest or Texas that someone would have been surprised by tornado warnings and watches and how many there can be and how people (most people) do take warnings, watches and green skies seriously.

As an East Coast native, West coast transplant, I wouldn't be surprised at all. I have lived through both earthquakes and hurricanes, but tornados are the one weather event that scares the heck out of me.

We have some DF's from Germany who lived here in the Southeast for 2 years for work.  They were extremely concerned and always asking questions about:
1) Tornados
2) Poisonous Spiders and other potentially poisonous insects
3) Snakes
4) Poison Ivy/Sumac/Oak.

They were very outdoorsy, and really not used to have Nature trying to kill them.  (Or at least make them itch really bad)

Yeah, the Germans are lucky on that front. For a while, I lived in Germany with a friend who used a wood-burning stove as a major heat source for her house. She was continually amused by my insistence on carrying a flashlight to the woodpile at night rather than blindly sticking my hand in. However, she had also lived in the Southeast USA, so she understood that I was used to woodpiles being potential havens for dangerous snakes, spiders, etc.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: lady_disdain on January 07, 2014, 07:05:56 PM
I thought it was Australia where nature tries to kill you. ;)

Both - Arizona has poisonous lizards that look like beaded hand bag fabric....same desert extends into parts of New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico.

I prefer desserts to deserts.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: iridaceae on January 08, 2014, 12:45:14 AM
I thought it was Australia where nature tries to kill you. ;)

Both - Arizona has poisonous lizards that look like beaded hand bag fabric....same desert extends into parts of New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico.

Well yes and no. Where I live I am in the Sonoran Desert which does extend down into Mexico and also into California. It does not extend into New Mexico or Texas. It doesn't even cover all of Arizona. Not even all of Southern Arizona.

And Gila monsters are really pretty harmless. The general concensus is if one bites you you were more or less provoking it to and therefore deserve to be bitten.  You can usher one into a container with a broom.

But tornadoes? Yeah; look at before and after photos of Joplin Missouri.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Dazi on January 08, 2014, 05:42:59 AM
I thought it was Australia where nature tries to kill you. ;)

Both - Arizona has poisonous lizards that look like beaded hand bag fabric....same desert extends into parts of New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico.

Florida has nature that tries to kills you too.  Off the top of my head, we've got gators, pygmy rattlesnakes, Eastern Diamond back rattlesnakes, coral snakes, water moccasins, pit vipers, scorpions, fire ants, black widow spiders, brown recluse spiders, stingrays, stone fish, jellyfish, lionfish, scorpionfish, stonefish, man-o-wars, bees/wasps/hornets, a variety of sharks, and a multitude of nasty stinging caterpillars.  Not to mention tornadoes, sink holes, tropical storms, and hurricanes.

I'm sure I've missed some things, but this gives you an idea.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: EllenS on January 08, 2014, 05:47:29 AM
Just saw this series of photos about lighthouses on the Great Lakes in Michigan that have been completely frozen over from winter storms.  It's gorgeous and kind of amazing.  Everybody is talking over here about the "polar vortex" that is bringing so much cold weather (though my understanding is, this is no worse than we get every 10-20 years or so, not a game-changing event).

However, the astonishing thing, to me, is that this photographer goes out and shoots these same two lighthouses every year.  It's not the extreme weather this year - this happens every winter.  Yikes!  Glad I live 18 hours' drive South.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2534548/Michigan-lighthouse-transformed-giant-icicle-freezing-storm.html
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: iridaceae on January 08, 2014, 05:54:42 AM


Florida has nature that tries to kills you too.  Off the top of my head, we've got gators, pygmy rattlesnakes, Eastern Diamond back rattlesnakes, coral snakes, water moccasins, pit vipers, scorpions, fire ants, black widow spiders, brown recluse spiders, stingrays, stone fish, jellyfish, lionfish, scorpionfish, stonefish, man-o-wars, bees/wasps/hornets, a variety of sharks, and a multitude of nasty stinging caterpillars.  Not to mention tornadoes, sink holes, tropical storms, and hurricanes.

I'm sure I've missed some things, but this gives you an idea.

You missed that tree with the poisonous bark or spines or whatever it is that's in the Everglades.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: shhh its me on January 08, 2014, 06:46:00 AM
Just saw this series of photos about lighthouses on the Great Lakes in Michigan that have been completely frozen over from winter storms.  It's gorgeous and kind of amazing.  Everybody is talking over here about the "polar vortex" that is bringing so much cold weather (though my understanding is, this is no worse than we get every 10-20 years or so, not a game-changing event).

However, the astonishing thing, to me, is that this photographer goes out and shoots these same two lighthouses every year.  It's not the extreme weather this year - this happens every winter.  Yikes!  Glad I live 18 hours' drive South.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2534548/Michigan-lighthouse-transformed-giant-icicle-freezing-storm.html

We get a really cold winter every few years and a really really cold winter maybe every 20ish but these were record lows by like 9 degrees.  Getting to a real temperature of -14 f is the coldest day I can think of  , having a few to a dozen -1 - -5 days I can recall happening most winters.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Ehelldame on January 10, 2014, 10:12:52 AM
When I was in Queensland, I was amazed by the wood houses.  On *stilts*, no less.  I had never seen a house with legs before.  An American friend told me some places in the southern US also have houses with legs.

Canadian houses mostly come with basements, because of the cold.

Houses on "stilts" (aka piles the size of telephone poles) are mandated by building code in coastal areas so that the storm surge from a hurricane can blow out the bottom laundry room/garage area but leave the main house area intact.   Every beach house we've ever rented was on piles. 
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Ereine on January 10, 2014, 12:44:39 PM
I read an article about a Finnish firefighter who had done a work exchange thing in Florida. He talked about things that were different (in Finland fitness requirements are a lot harder apparently but he wasn't sure if they were necessary for everyone) and one of them was how involved the local firefighters were in their community. When they were in a grocery store people would come to thank them and bless them and treat them as heroes. He said that in Finland if he went to a store in his uniform someone would call the fire station and complain. It's probably true, there was someone in the comment section saying that of course fire fighters shouldn't be treated as heroes, all they do is sit at the fire station all day.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Thipu1 on January 11, 2014, 10:44:16 AM
During the 19th century, firefighters in the US achieved the status of heroes because towns were mostly built of wood.  Due to this and the use of gaslight and open fireplaces for heating, fires were very common.   

Also, in smaller communities, firefighters here are still likely to be volunteers.  They're people you know from seeing them work in shops around town. 

In NYC, the Police are known as NY's Finest.  The Fire Department is known as NY's Bravest.  I think that says something. 
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: MurPl1 on January 11, 2014, 02:44:16 PM
They may just sit around a lot of the time, but when they work, they work.  They go into dangerous situations.  With very heavy equipment. 

Our firefighters are also all EMTs and in our small town they actually respond to a good number of medical calls with very few fires.  Some sitting around but not a ton.  And they do try to offset the down time by participating in the town.  They help with pancake breakfast and spaghetti nights for our Explorer Scouts and Exchange Club.  And host a toy drive at the holidays.  And they spent several nights driving Santa around town (past every home).  And they also do their own testing of the hydrant systems to ensure they are in good working order.  (I believe many towns have their Public Works Dept do that).
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: MommyPenguin on January 11, 2014, 02:49:59 PM
I think we also run into enough well-publicized tragedies in which firefighters die (like the 19 in Arizona in those wildfires) that people are very conscious of the firefighters risking their lives for us.

My nephew had a firefighter-themed birthday party last year.  His father is a construction worker and the fathers of several of his friends were policemen, that sort of job.  Well, one father was a firefighter.  He brought his kid to the party, and then at one point in the party, he pulled my SIL aside and said that he had his work clothes in the car, and would an appearance in full firefighting garb be desired?  She said yes, and the kids were ecstatic when a real, live fireman walked into the party.  :)  Okay, they were a little scared, too, but it was a great opportunity to show kids that firefighters can look scary, but that's because of all the special equipment they wear to keep them safe, and here's what they're wearing and why, and how you should *never* run and hide from a firefighter just because of the scary-looking equipment.  It was so fun to watch the kids' excitement.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Katana_Geldar on January 11, 2014, 03:49:08 PM
We have a combination of professional and volunteer fire fighters in Australia, volunteer ones are usually for bush fires in the summer when they're really needed.

One time we had a grass fire that got out of control, which we thought was going to go down the hill into the bush. I called 000 and the first fire fighter came in his car in full gear, he was the only one to see the flames, as he helped us put them out, which he described to his mates when they arrived in the truck to be about a foot high.

At Christmas parties, you do see Santa arriving on a fire truck sometimes.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Julian on January 11, 2014, 07:02:15 PM
When I was in Queensland, I was amazed by the wood houses.  On *stilts*, no less.  I had never seen a house with legs before.  An American friend told me some places in the southern US also have houses with legs.

Canadian houses mostly come with basements, because of the cold.

Houses on "stilts" (aka piles the size of telephone poles) are mandated by building code in coastal areas so that the storm surge from a hurricane can blow out the bottom laundry room/garage area but leave the main house area intact.   Every beach house we've ever rented was on piles.

The ones in Queensland are built this way because of both floods and heat.  In floods the height of the house prevents water inundation inside.  In many cases the height the floods reach can be guessed by the height of the house - taller stumps for higher flood levels.  The raised floor allows air to circulate under the house and reduce the internal heat.  The stumps also usually have metal caps to prevent termite infestation - these houses are made of timber.

The traditional Queenslander house also had a wrap-around verandah to shade windows from the sun, high ceilings to allow air circulation inside, and frequently had open fretwork over doorways internally to also facilitate air flow.  The steep iron roofs are designed to allow tropical storm run-off.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queenslander_(architecture) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queenslander_(architecture))
Title: Banks
Post by: Bobbie on January 28, 2014, 04:06:14 PM
Back to the US banks being different then European to even Canadian banks..

US banks can't be closed for more then 3 days in a row because of the stock market crash in the 20's.

There are many us banking regulations that are in place because of money laundering, fraud, and theft etc

Also, FDIC (insurance on bank deposits) regulates how much an individual account is insured for ($250,000) because once again the crash of the stock market and the run on banks at that time.

There are many different types of paper check, personal, business, cashiers.  And many ways to pay cash, check, debit, cc, money order, western union, moneygram, bank transfers, bill pay (which can be a paper check sent or a money transfer) direct debit etc..


Title: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: OSUJillyBean on February 05, 2014, 05:03:07 PM
I'm an American but have a half-sister in the south of England thanks to Dad's navy days.  She's only been able to visit us once and on the first night, we took her out to eat.  She asked, a bit nervously, if the portions were going to be outlandish like she'd heard.  This was a chain pizza restaurant that also did some Italian food and salads.  We assured her that no, she'd ordered one of the smallest things on the menu so of course it would be normal-sized.

What arrived was the Italian-American equivalent of an eight-inch sub sandwich, piled high with meat, veg, etc.  She just boggled at the amount of food and laughed. 

When I've visited other countries, I have noticed not feel entirely full after dining out as I'm used to larger American portion-size so sometimes I'll treat myself to a cookie/biscuit or something afterwards.  And I don't think that's a negative in either direction.  It's simply a cultural difference.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Venus193 on February 06, 2014, 09:41:01 AM
I once went to a deli with an Australian after walking through a museum exhibit and we shared a corned beef on rye sandwich.  He counted the meat slices before biting in and was astonished at how much meat there was.  Apparently the sandwiches he was accustomed to were more like the ones I saw in England a couple of years later.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved
Post by: lowspark on February 06, 2014, 10:05:41 AM
LOL. I think it's written into the law that delis have to ridiculously overstuff sandwiches with meat. The delis here do anyway. They can be something like 6" tall. No way I can eat a whole sandwich!
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved
Post by: Yvaine on February 06, 2014, 10:21:47 AM
LOL. I think it's written into the law that delis have to ridiculously overstuff sandwiches with meat. The delis here do anyway. They can be something like 6" tall. No way I can eat a whole sandwich!

I think it's largely for the visual (people would complain if it only looked like one thin slice of meat, etc.) and there are techniques for making it look like more meat than it is. When I worked at a deli, it was called "fluffing" and meant you sort of scrunched the meat up instead of just laying it flat on the bread. This was supposedly to get it to toast more evenly, but really I think it was to make it look like more. I got in the habit, and one day I was making myself a sandwich at my friend's house, and she remarked on it. She didn't know why I was scrunching up my meat instead of laying it flat--she's a neatnik and thought her way looked more "organized"--so I had to explain to her about work policy.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved
Post by: Thipu1 on February 06, 2014, 10:28:32 AM
LOL. I think it's written into the law that delis have to ridiculously overstuff sandwiches with meat. The delis here do anyway. They can be something like 6" tall. No way I can eat a whole sandwich!

About once a month or so Mr. Thipu goes on a 'pastrami run'.  The sandwich he brings back has enough meat to keep him happy for about four days.  To eat the original sandwich you'd need the jaw structure of a T Rex. 
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on February 06, 2014, 10:33:04 AM
::Whines::  I want a hoagie now but I'm not allowed!
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: sunnygirl on February 07, 2014, 07:27:17 AM
Here's a silly small thing that occurred to me the other day: butter on popcorn. I love cinema popcorn, it's one of my favourite parts of going to see movies, but I've never seen popcorn with butter on it. I don't know what made me think of it but I am now very intrigued and will make a point of going to see a movie next time I'm in the US. Unless anyone knows anywhere in the UK that does buttered popcorn?

To go back to the portion sizes thing, the first time I went to the US I was staying in a motel that offered free breakfasts. The breakfast turned out to be coffee, bagels and doughnuts. I found that surprising enough, but the bagels and doughnuts looked like truck tyres - at least three times the size of a bagel or doughnut you'd see in the UK.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Seraphia on February 07, 2014, 08:52:52 AM
Here's a silly small thing that occurred to me the other day: butter on popcorn. I love cinema popcorn, it's one of my favourite parts of going to see movies, but I've never seen popcorn with butter on it. I don't know what made me think of it but I am now very intrigued and will make a point of going to see a movie next time I'm in the US. Unless anyone knows anywhere in the UK that does buttered popcorn?

To go back to the portion sizes thing, the first time I went to the US I was staying in a motel that offered free breakfasts. The breakfast turned out to be coffee, bagels and doughnuts. I found that surprising enough, but the bagels and doughnuts looked like truck tyres - at least three times the size of a bagel or doughnut you'd see in the UK.

That's interesting - do you have the sort of buttery-powder flavored popcorn, or does it only come plain? I don't always get butter on my popcorn at the movies, but that's because the popcorn already has something on it that makes it butter-flavored anyway.

Also, I sympathize with your shock at the size of our bagels and doughnuts. I adore the bagel shop in my hometown, but a bagel sandwich from there will fill me up until dinnertime even if I eat it at 10:30 in the morning. When we were little, toasted bagel halves with ham and cheese was one of our favorite dinners.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: sunnygirl on February 07, 2014, 09:43:22 AM
Popcorn here is either salty or sweet, or sometimes you can get toffee flavour too. But they're all fairly dry (and the toffee kind is extra crunchy), nothing with a butter-like consistency.
I accidentally bought salty and sweet mixed together when I went to see American Hustle last weekend.  :P

I am a pack rat - or a more accurate description would be a hamster with its little pouches - when it comes to food so when I lived in NY I generally had half-eaten sandwiches or whatever wrapped up in a napkin in my bag's back pocket.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: #borecore on February 07, 2014, 12:31:30 PM
Buttered popcorn from the movies should not be damp! It is a "butter flavor," generally. Some people add extra, which is probably a permanently liquid form of butter from a pump. I can barely handle the saltiness of the unadulterated stuff; extra would send me over the edge. But it's popular.

I know of some theaters that use actual melted butter, but they are the exception.

We make popcorn at home on the stove popped in vegetable oil and topped with dried herbs and spices and perhaps nutritional yeast or powdery Parmesan. Never butter.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: GlitterIsMyDrug on February 07, 2014, 12:38:36 PM
I smother my popcorn at the movie theaters in that...butter esque stuff. I hate dry popcorn, too salty. The...butter stuff makes it less salty to me. I had one the last time I was at the movie he asked me if I wanted butter and I said "Oh, yes" in a very excited tone, and he LAYERED it. Oh I wanted to kiss him I was so happy. Layer of popcorn, butter, popcorn, butter, popcorn, butter, popcorn, then a little bit of butter on the top. He asked me "Good?" I just smiled said "Magnificent!" it was a wonderful moment.

I also like kettle corn. Which like salty/sweet. The microwave stuff is fine, but I like when it's that big kettle cooked stuff they have at festivals and such.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Seraphia on February 07, 2014, 12:42:07 PM
Buttered popcorn from the movies should not be damp! It is a "butter flavor," generally. Some people add extra, which is probably a permanently liquid form of butter from a pump. I can barely handle the saltiness of the unadulterated stuff; extra would send me over the edge. But it's popular.

I know of some theaters that use actual melted butter, but they are the exception.

We make popcorn at home on the stove popped in vegetable oil and topped with dried herbs and spices and perhaps nutritional yeast or powdery Parmesan. Never butter.

See, my DH is in your camp. Me, not so much. I like the occasional damp popcorn, and I looooove salt. We split the difference and I drizzle butter over and salt my bowlfuls after I dish it out - he adds pepper, chili powder and parm to his.

Once, he tried to make popcorn my way, and we wound up with something akin to popcorn-butter soup. I like butter but not that much! Just enough that there's a little greasy morsel here and there.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Anniissa on February 07, 2014, 01:06:30 PM
Here's a silly small thing that occurred to me the other day: butter on popcorn. I love cinema popcorn, it's one of my favourite parts of going to see movies, but I've never seen popcorn with butter on it. I don't know what made me think of it but I am now very intrigued and will make a point of going to see a movie next time I'm in the US. Unless anyone knows anywhere in the UK that does buttered popcorn?


I've not seen any in a long time but I remember some of the bigger multiscreens in the UK doing buttered popcorn - it was hot melted liquid butter.  Rather delicious on the freshly popped corn but you'd have to eat it really quickly because it cooled rapidly and congealing cold butter is not really so pleasant!

The thing that I guess surprised me most about America when I first went was how insistent the servers were in restaurants that any uneaten food be boxed up to take away. Obviously, staying in hotels there was nowhere suitable to store the food and nowhere to reheat it even if we had wanted to eat it later. But even after politely declining, we kept being asked if we were sure or sometimes just had the boxed up food brought out to us and left on the table. It felt like we were offending the restaurant by not wanting to take the food away. Sometimes we were directly asked if there was something wrong with the food that we didnt want it.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Snooks on February 07, 2014, 01:13:19 PM
I've never got on with buttered popcorn, it tastes like cheese to me.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Margo on February 07, 2014, 01:26:31 PM
Yes, the boxing up food surprised me, too, although as the portions tend to be so large it makes a lot of sense.

Also, I want popcorn now. And I don't have any.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Sophia on February 07, 2014, 01:37:17 PM
Here's a silly small thing that occurred to me the other day: butter on popcorn. I love cinema popcorn, it's one of my favourite parts of going to see movies, but I've never seen popcorn with butter on it. I don't know what made me think of it but I am now very intrigued and will make a point of going to see a movie next time I'm in the US. Unless anyone knows anywhere in the UK that does buttered popcorn?


I've not seen any in a long time but I remember some of the bigger multiscreens in the UK doing buttered popcorn - it was hot melted liquid butter.  Rather delicious on the freshly popped corn but you'd have to eat it really quickly because it cooled rapidly and congealing cold butter is not really so pleasant!

The thing that I guess surprised me most about America when I first went was how insistent the servers were in restaurants that any uneaten food be boxed up to take away. Obviously, staying in hotels there was nowhere suitable to store the food and nowhere to reheat it even if we had wanted to eat it later. But even after politely declining, we kept being asked if we were sure or sometimes just had the boxed up food brought out to us and left on the table. It felt like we were offending the restaurant by not wanting to take the food away. Sometimes we were directly asked if there was something wrong with the food that we didnt want it.

Most hotels have some rooms with a little fridge and a microwave for the same price.  I always asked for them ahead of time.  Back when I was traveling for work, I was sooo over restaurants that relaxing microwaved leftovers were preferred over the original restaurant meal.  I used to order just a little extra to be able to make a full meal for the next day.  Like there was this taqueria in Hayward that served Super Nachos so loaded with stuff, that you ran out of chips first.  I would order some flour tortillas on the side and fill them with leftover nacho stuff the next day. 
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: demarco on February 07, 2014, 04:31:33 PM
Regarding butter on movie popcorn,  at some US theaters, they will ask you whether or not you want butter and if you do they put it on before they give you the bag.   They usually  fill the bag half full of popcorn then put some butter on, then put the rest of the popcorn in the bag, then put some more butter on.  Other places let you put on your own butter. Each method has its advantage.  The half bag method provides a more even butter distribution but putting your own butter on ensures that you get just the right amount of butter overall. 

I don't think it's ever really butter but rather some kind of yellow ooze. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)





 
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Venus193 on February 07, 2014, 06:23:15 PM
Regarding butter on movie popcorn,  at some US theaters, they will ask you whether or not you want butter and if you do they put it on before they give you the bag.   They usually  fill the bag half full of popcorn then put some butter on, then put the rest of the popcorn in the bag, then put some more butter on.  Other places let you put on your own butter. Each method has its advantage.  The half bag method provides a more even butter distribution but putting your own butter on ensures that you get just the right amount of butter overall. 

I don't think it's ever really butter but rather some kind of yellow ooze. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)


The price of movie theatre popcorn usually makes me turn away, but that "butter" smells vile to me.  I'd rather have my popcorn dry (crunchy) and salty.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Hmmmmm on February 07, 2014, 06:39:40 PM
I used to love movie theater buttered popcorn. And now I'm going to sound really old.

But now the size of the poppers are much larger. And they shake way too much salt on it. And the liquid butter flavoring doesn't taste late butter to me. I'm so disappointed in the taste these days that the smell makes me a little ill.

I do still enjoy home popped popcorn tossed with real butter. And if you add some M&M's while it's still hot and they get a little warm.... yummmm.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: demarco on February 07, 2014, 08:59:55 PM
I used to love movie theater buttered popcorn. And now I'm going to sound really old.

But now the size of the poppers are much larger. And they shake way too much salt on it. And the liquid butter flavoring doesn't taste late butter to me. I'm so disappointed in the taste these days that the smell makes me a little ill.

I agree that movie popcorn doesn't taste like it used to.  I find that it varies from place to place and I wonder if some theaters use popcorn that has been made remotely and shipped in, with predictable results.  Some years ago I observed a few huge bags of popped corn sitting on the floor behind the candy counter at one theater.  One of the theaters I go to has the popcorn already bagged for sale and sitting under heat lamps. There is no popper to be seen and their popcorn seems stale. I hope this doesn't become a trend. Movie popcorn is one of the few reasons I still go to theaters instead of waiting for the DVD. 
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: dawbs on February 08, 2014, 04:33:29 PM
when the large chain theatres hand you popcorn w/o being buttery all the way through, they often have those yellow-ooze pumps.
They also often have self-serve fountain drinks.
A straw can help you layer your yellow ooze down into the container better, so it's not just on the top.

And with that, I want popcorn, and I have a bottle of 'extra fine butter flavored salt', so I"m set
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: iridaceae on February 09, 2014, 05:44:38 AM
In my experience the more independent and art housy the movie theater the more likely it is the popcorn butter is real butter.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Katana_Geldar on February 09, 2014, 05:46:15 AM
There's a movie theatre DH and I go to that's licensed.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: katycoo on February 09, 2014, 05:52:46 PM
The thing that I guess surprised me most about America when I first went was how insistent the servers were in restaurants that any uneaten food be boxed up to take away. Obviously, staying in hotels there was nowhere suitable to store the food and nowhere to reheat it even if we had wanted to eat it later. But even after politely declining, we kept being asked if we were sure or sometimes just had the boxed up food brought out to us and left on the table. It felt like we were offending the restaurant by not wanting to take the food away. Sometimes we were directly asked if there was something wrong with the food that we didnt want it.

That's interesting.  We didn't experience that (though I'm sure if we had asked they would have).  Maybe we were in different areas of the country.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Library Dragon on February 09, 2014, 08:03:53 PM
Regarding butter on movie popcorn,  at some US theaters, they will ask you whether or not you want butter and if you do they put it on before they give you the bag.   They usually  fill the bag half full of popcorn then put some butter on, then put the rest of the popcorn in the bag, then put some more butter on.  Other places let you put on your own butter. Each method has its advantage.  The half bag method provides a more even butter distribution but putting your own butter on ensures that you get just the right amount of butter overall. 

I don't think it's ever really butter but rather some kind of yellow ooze. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)
 

DH likes the ooze I don't.  We have to ask that they don't do the two sections. He eats the top half and I eat the bottom.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Anniissa on February 10, 2014, 06:53:54 AM
The thing that I guess surprised me most about America when I first went was how insistent the servers were in restaurants that any uneaten food be boxed up to take away. Obviously, staying in hotels there was nowhere suitable to store the food and nowhere to reheat it even if we had wanted to eat it later. But even after politely declining, we kept being asked if we were sure or sometimes just had the boxed up food brought out to us and left on the table. It felt like we were offending the restaurant by not wanting to take the food away. Sometimes we were directly asked if there was something wrong with the food that we didnt want it.

That's interesting.  We didn't experience that (though I'm sure if we had asked they would have).  Maybe we were in different areas of the country.

Maybe - this was at least 10 or 12 years ago in New York. I suspect it varies according to restaurant. The portions were pretty huge so I can see why they'd assume people would want to take it away with them. We had to explain that it was absolutely not because the food was bad that we didn't want to take it away!


Most hotels have some rooms with a little fridge and a microwave for the same price.  I always asked for them ahead of time.  Back when I was traveling for work, I was sooo over restaurants that relaxing microwaved leftovers were preferred over the original restaurant meal.  I used to order just a little extra to be able to make a full meal for the next day.  Like there was this taqueria in Hayward that served Super Nachos so loaded with stuff, that you ran out of chips first.  I would order some flour tortillas on the side and fill them with leftover nacho stuff the next day.

I think it's just that I'm not a big fan of leftovers - I never book the rooms with the fridges/microwaves as if I'm on holiday I definitely don't want to be thinking about cooking and if I'm travelling with work if I'm really exhausted and want to crash out in my room I'd rather get room service or pick up something from outside and have a picnic. A decent sized fridge does come in handy for chilling wine though... Guess everyone is different - there are probably lots of people who do like the provision of a microwave so they're probably quite popular rooms. I'm happy to let others go for it - I just want the room with a large bath to soak in!
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved
Post by: lowspark on February 10, 2014, 09:00:07 AM
One of the things that makes movie theatre popcorn taste like movie theatre popcorn is that they pop it (or used to anyway!) in coconut oil. Now, in the past they used some kind of coconut oil that was terribly bad for you (hydrogenated?? I dunno) and coconut oil got a bad rap. But you can now buy coconut oil that isn't horribly bad for you and pop your own popcorn at home.

I know, I know, no one's ever heard of popping your own and just buys microwave popcorn. But really, most MW popcorn is so overly greasy I just can't eat it.

I buy the (cheap!!) 2 lb. bags of unpopped corn (cost about $2) and pop my own* every time using coconut oil I buy at Trader Joe's (I'm sure other places have it too). You can also add your own butter after it pops, and regulate how it gets buttered and how much you use. Just make sure to have the butter melted and pour it on immediately while the popcorn is hot.

I used to love that yellow ooze at the movies way back when. Especially if they let you put your own on. I'd lay it on thick. But man, talk about bad for you! But it tasted so good!!

*As a footnote, when I make my own popcorn I do not shake the pot as it pops. I have no idea why people do this. All my kernels pop (or let's say, I usually have fewer than a dozen which didn't). What is the point of shaking, anyway?
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: lady_disdain on February 10, 2014, 09:24:22 AM
To avoid the bottom kernels scorching while the rest of them pop.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: camlan on February 10, 2014, 09:33:40 AM
I pop my popcorn in a saucepan on top of the stove. If, and it's a big if, you get the temperature correct, you really don't need to shake the pan. Every time I move, there's a month or so of experimentation, and some burnt popcorn, until I figure out the settings required for the new stove. Once I have that figured out, I put in three kernels as a "test pop." When they pop, I pour in the rest, cover the pan and just let it pop without shaking.

You can pop corn by just heating the pan to "high." But if you don't shake that pan, some of the popcorn will burn. If the heat's too low, it won't pop. Lowspark, sounds to me as if you have found the sweet spot where the kernels pop but don't burn.  That makes you a popcorn popping master!
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Her
Post by: lowspark on February 10, 2014, 09:46:30 AM
LOL! Yeah, I don't think I've ever had popcorn burn except when I've gotten distracted and neglected to turn it off at the right time.

I used to do the three kernels test -- that's how my mom taught me to do it. Somewhere along the line, though, I got lazy and just put in the oil and the corn and turned on the stove. It worked just fine so I never looked back.

I agree that you do have to have the heat on the right temperature. High enough that it pops but not too high that it burns.

But you know what makes a real popcorn popping master? Knowing the exact right amount of salt to shake on. Yeah, I don't always get that exactly right, unfortunately. About 5% of the time I end up putting too much.   :-[

Yes! I do love me some popcorn? Why'd you ask?  ;D ;D
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: katycoo on February 10, 2014, 04:34:20 PM
I have an air popper at home.  No oil or other additives required.
Title: Re16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: lowspark on February 11, 2014, 07:46:24 AM
I had an air popper once, a loooong time ago. I hated it. Since I didn't need to add any oil the popcorn was dry and the salt wouldn't stick to it. I ended up having to add butter to the popcorn which defeated the (no fat) purpose of the air popper. I got rid of it.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: C0mputerGeek on February 11, 2014, 07:43:17 PM
Pyjamas - (Controversial here, I know) People on this site insisting that it's OK to walk around in public, attend university lectures etc in pyjamas. I have never in my life seen anyone walking around in public in their pyjamas, and certainly never at something like a university lecture, or on an aeroplane.
To be fair, I have never seen this either and I am American.

1. "Quality of Chocolates": I'd urge anyone NOT to buy Hershey chocolate. Yes, we have great chocolate here. It's just usually sold at chocolate/candy stores, and is usually quite expensive. *resists urge to go down to the local chocolate store and buy a pound of fudge*
Yes, I regularly purchase chocolate for my dad. It's not Hershey chocolate but the higher end brands. Hershey's is both inexpensive...and cheap.

Scotcat, is that why in the UK you can see carpet in bathrooms?

Carpet in bathrooms?  But, one toilet overflow and.. eep... :o

I've got Lino in mine but carpet is very common.
I've never seen a fully carpeted bathroom. I have throw rug and I've seen those. Is that what people are referring to?

Not half as odd as it seems to me the other way around! I can't imagine using anything electrical in a room where there's steam and water, it seems terribly dangerous to me, although I'm sure your stuff must be wired differently somehow to make it safe.
The only reason why I know this is because it came up when I was prepping my father's house for sale. The electrical outlets in USA homes (or, at least the ones in California) are required to be built so that a sudden surge will cut power to the electrical device (fault protection). When I sold his home, I had to upgrade the outlets in kitchen and all the bathrooms
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: MommyPenguin on February 11, 2014, 08:02:02 PM
Pyjamas - (Controversial here, I know) People on this site insisting that it's OK to walk around in public, attend university lectures etc in pyjamas. I have never in my life seen anyone walking around in public in their pyjamas, and certainly never at something like a university lecture, or on an aeroplane.
To be fair, I have never seen this either and I am American.

I have occasionally seen this at the gas station.  I also used to see it when I lived on campus.  However, when I went to college (12 years ago or so), you didn't really see it during the day, like to classes and stuff (even night classes).  When you'd see it would be in the dorms, or at "late night" at the dining hall.  The dining hall, which was in the middle of the group of dorms, would switch after dinnertime to something called "late night," where they'd have different food, more snacky type of stuff, like breaded cheese sticks and hot pretzels.  It closed at midnight or 1am, so it was pretty much for people up late studying.  You'd see a lot of people, especially girls, wearing shirts with pajama bottoms or yoga pants.  However, since it was sort of the campus equivalent of heading to the kitchen for a snack while studying, it was socially acceptable.

Not sure if things have gotten more extreme nowadays, though.  As I mentioned, I've seen people at the gas station pumping gas in pj bottoms.  Personally I hate having to step out my front door to get a package in pj bottoms, but other people don't seem to mind.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved
Post by: Library Dragon on February 11, 2014, 08:11:58 PM
One of the things that makes movie theatre popcorn taste like movie theatre popcorn is that they pop it (or used to anyway!) in coconut oil. Now, in the past they used some kind of coconut oil that was terribly bad for you (hydrogenated?? I dunno) and coconut oil got a bad rap. But you can now buy coconut oil that isn't horribly bad for you and pop your own popcorn at home.

I know, I know, no one's ever heard of popping your own and just buys microwave popcorn. But really, most MW popcorn is so overly greasy I just can't eat it.

I buy the (cheap!!) 2 lb. bags of unpopped corn (cost about $2) and pop my own* every time using coconut oil I buy at Trader Joe's (I'm sure other places have it too). You can also add your own butter after it pops, and regulate how it gets buttered and how much you use. Just make sure to have the butter melted and pour it on immediately while the popcorn is hot.

I used to love that yellow ooze at the movies way back when. Especially if they let you put your own on. I'd lay it on thick. But man, talk about bad for you! But it tasted so good!!

*As a footnote, when I make my own popcorn I do not shake the pot as it pops. I have no idea why people do this. All my kernels pop (or let's say, I usually have fewer than a dozen which didn't). What is the point of shaking, anyway?

I too pop my own corn. I use this popper:
http://www.amazon.com/Presto-05201-Orville-Redenbachers-Stirring/dp/B003R5ODOE/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&qid=1392170818&sr=8-14&keywords=popcorn+orville+redenbacher (http://www.amazon.com/Presto-05201-Orville-Redenbachers-Stirring/dp/B003R5ODOE/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&qid=1392170818&sr=8-14&keywords=popcorn+orville+redenbacher)

The melting butter during popping gives an even dispersment.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Vall on February 11, 2014, 09:14:14 PM
I've seen pajama bottoms worn many times in public.  I live in a medium-sized city in the mid-west.  Five to ten years ago, it was mostly young people doing it.  I saw it at grocery stores, walking downtown, at festivals, and at the community college.  Lately, I've noticed older people doing it (maybe 50 and over) more often.

I have also seen women in flannel nightgowns and fuzzy slippers in the grocery at night.

I don't think that the majority of people dress like this or even like to see people dressed like this.  But I see it enough that it isn't uncommon.
Title: Re: Re16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: katycoo on February 11, 2014, 09:32:04 PM
I had an air popper once, a loooong time ago. I hated it. Since I didn't need to add any oil the popcorn was dry and the salt wouldn't stick to it. I ended up having to add butter to the popcorn which defeated the (no fat) purpose of the air popper. I got rid of it.

I find that if salt is wanted, a spritz of spray oil is enough to get it to stick.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Margo on February 12, 2014, 03:49:04 AM
Quote
Quote from: RingTailedLemur on November 25, 2013, 11:13:23 AM
Quote from: Diane AKA Traska on November 25, 2013, 11:04:02 AM
Quote from: Katana_Geldar on November 25, 2013, 08:34:39 AM
Scotcat, is that why in the UK you can see carpet in bathrooms?

Carpet in bathrooms?  But, one toilet overflow and.. eep... :o

I've got Lino in mine but carpet is very common.
I've never seen a fully carpeted bathroom. I have throw rug and I've seen those. Is that what people are referring to?

No, actual full carpet throughout the bathroom. In extreme cases the side of the bath is carpeted as well. I think it was a late-70s / early 80s thing. Yhe bathroom in my house had carpet on the floor when I moved in.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Corvid on February 12, 2014, 06:34:16 AM
Just saw this series of photos about lighthouses on the Great Lakes in Michigan that have been completely frozen over from winter storms.  It's gorgeous and kind of amazing.  Everybody is talking over here about the "polar vortex" that is bringing so much cold weather (though my understanding is, this is no worse than we get every 10-20 years or so, not a game-changing event).

However, the astonishing thing, to me, is that this photographer goes out and shoots these same two lighthouses every year.  It's not the extreme weather this year - this happens every winter.  Yikes!  Glad I live 18 hours' drive South.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2534548/Michigan-lighthouse-transformed-giant-icicle-freezing-storm.html

Oh, thanks for that link!  I live near that area.  I have a picture of the South Haven lighthouse on my dining room wall - it was taken during a storm and has a wave crashing way over the top.

As for pajamas in public, I'm sure it happens but I live in a university town - we've got more than one - and I haven't seen it yet, and my job involves driving around all day.  Maybe the local students are keeping it on the campuses.  At any rate, it's definitely not common around here.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: sunnygirl on February 12, 2014, 08:26:03 AM
I very occasionally see people in PJs in public (in London) - but only very young women, and only as a fashion trend (i.e. clean PJs put on that morning, and of a specific style - not PJs worn to sleep in).

For some reason everywhere I've ever lived (save the one year I lived in NY) had fitted carpet in the bathroom. My current flat had fitted carpet everywhere when I moved in, and I do mean everywhere, but I ripped it out of the kitchen and put down lino tiles, because eww. The bathroom is still carpeted. Doesn't go up the bath though.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: lowspark on February 12, 2014, 08:28:55 AM
Quote
Quote from: RingTailedLemur on November 25, 2013, 11:13:23 AM
Quote from: Diane AKA Traska on November 25, 2013, 11:04:02 AM
Quote from: Katana_Geldar on November 25, 2013, 08:34:39 AM
Scotcat, is that why in the UK you can see carpet in bathrooms?

Carpet in bathrooms?  But, one toilet overflow and.. eep... :o

I've got Lino in mine but carpet is very common.
I've never seen a fully carpeted bathroom. I have throw rug and I've seen those. Is that what people are referring to?

No, actual full carpet throughout the bathroom. In extreme cases the side of the bath is carpeted as well. I think it was a late-70s / early 80s thing. Yhe bathroom in my house had carpet on the floor when I moved in.

I used to know a guy whose mother apparently had carpeting in her kitchen! Yeah, she didn't cook. At all. His wife was a super cook. Probably why he fell in love with her.  ;D
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: gramma dishes on February 12, 2014, 08:32:26 AM
Quote
Quote from: RingTailedLemur on November 25, 2013, 11:13:23 AM
Quote from: Diane AKA Traska on November 25, 2013, 11:04:02 AM
Quote from: Katana_Geldar on November 25, 2013, 08:34:39 AM
Scotcat, is that why in the UK you can see carpet in bathrooms?

Carpet in bathrooms?  But, one toilet overflow and.. eep... :o

I've got Lino in mine but carpet is very common.
I've never seen a fully carpeted bathroom. I have throw rug and I've seen those. Is that what people are referring to?

No, actual full carpet throughout the bathroom. In extreme cases the side of the bath is carpeted as well. I think it was a late-70s / early 80s thing. Yhe bathroom in my house had carpet on the floor when I moved in.

When we first moved into the house, I carpeted the bathroom that the kids would be using.  It was just a big square of carpeting with rubberized backing and you cut it with a utility knife or scissors to fit around the toilet base and the cabinet of the sink. 

I loved it then because it was soft and squishy and the kids (very little kids) didn't slide all around when I got them out of the tub and was warmer than the ceramic tile floor it covered.  It was color coordinated to the shower curtain.   :)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: C0mputerGeek on February 12, 2014, 01:20:42 PM
No, actual full carpet throughout the bathroom. In extreme cases the side of the bath is carpeted as well. I think it was a late-70s / early 80s thing. The bathroom in my house had carpet on the floor when I moved in.

Okay. Wow. It's not even the toilet I would worry about (I don't have a septic tank), but the carpet getting moldy. My shower and bathtub have leaked more than once. I cannot imagine how often the carpet in a bathroom/kitchen would have to be cleaned...
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: squeakers on February 12, 2014, 02:02:29 PM
The house we rented as newlyweds had a carpeted bathroom.  And I mean carpeted: the whole floor, the sides of the tub and up the walls. I hated it because we lived on a main road so had tons of dust to contend with which meant also vacuuming the tub and walls.

As far as popcorn goes we have one of these: http://www.furniturefashion.com/home_theatre_popcorn_machines/ which makes much better popcorn than the microwave stuff we used to do.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on February 12, 2014, 03:12:38 PM
Please tell me it's the sides of the outside of the tub...
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: squeakers on February 12, 2014, 07:12:03 PM
Please tell me it's the sides of the outside of the tub...

Lol .. yeah, the outside.  Though I suppose one could sell an astroturf kind of carpet for inside of tubs as a "safety" feature.

The tub was an old fashioned clawfoot tub that had been encased with a wooden frame and the frame was covered in carpet.  So where you had the rounded rim that normally you'd grab to get up and out of it your fingertips would be brushing carpet. 

It did make for a warm bathroom but keeping toddlers from splashing let alone getting out and running dripping wet was a nightmare.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: KB on February 12, 2014, 08:34:11 PM
Please tell me it's the sides of the outside of the tub...

Presumably yes, something like this (http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTlQCC5j2nYnVg2R_R5-ZB0GqZfbjrN43e_xWOp2nz61jTZuHRATg). Google has some other lovely images of you search for 'carpeted bathroom.'
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: squeakers on February 12, 2014, 09:13:09 PM
This is about what the bathroom looked like but the carpet was burgundy and the carpeting only went 3/4 of the way up the wall. http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/c4/17/f4/c417f4f0aa0bbf6aa4df88803afe240a.jpg

It was a rental so nothing I could do about it but shake my head.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: oz diva on February 13, 2014, 01:34:46 AM
I only ever make popcorn in a saucepan with a lid. I heat some oil, chuck in a handful of popping corn and apply heat. Hey presto popcorn. Microwaved popcorn doesn't taste right.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on February 13, 2014, 07:15:35 AM
This is about what the bathroom looked like but the carpet was burgundy and the carpeting only went 3/4 of the way up the wall. http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/c4/17/f4/c417f4f0aa0bbf6aa4df88803afe240a.jpg

It was a rental so nothing I could do about it but shake my head.

 :o
Title: Re: Re16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Shea on February 14, 2014, 09:21:17 AM
I had an air popper once, a loooong time ago. I hated it. Since I didn't need to add any oil the popcorn was dry and the salt wouldn't stick to it. I ended up having to add butter to the popcorn which defeated the (no fat) purpose of the air popper. I got rid of it.

I find that if salt is wanted, a spritz of spray oil is enough to get it to stick.

I have an air popper, and I use one of those oil misters to give the popcorn a light, even coating of oil (I use a mix of olive and canola). It's enough to give it flavor, and to make the salt and yeast (my popcorn toppers of choice) stick.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Margo on February 17, 2014, 03:31:06 PM
This is about what the bathroom looked like but the carpet was burgundy and the carpeting only went 3/4 of the way up the wall. http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/c4/17/f4/c417f4f0aa0bbf6aa4df88803afe240a.jpg

It was a rental so nothing I could do about it but shake my head.

 :o
Ha! I've never seen one where the carpet went up the wall as well as the outside of the tub.

I always associate it mentally with bathrooms which have one of  those knitted dolls as a toilet roll cozy...
(http://www.decorateitonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Crocheted-Toilet-Paper-Cover.jpg)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Dazi on February 17, 2014, 03:40:55 PM
This is about what the bathroom looked like but the carpet was burgundy and the carpeting only went 3/4 of the way up the wall. http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/c4/17/f4/c417f4f0aa0bbf6aa4df88803afe240a.jpg

It was a rental so nothing I could do about it but shake my head.

 :o
Ha! I've never seen one where the carpet went up the wall as well as the outside of the tub.

I always associate it mentally with bathrooms which have one of  those knitted dolls as a toilet roll cozy...
(http://www.decorateitonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Crocheted-Toilet-Paper-Cover.jpg)

Can I just tell all y'all that those dolls always totally freaked me out.  When I was really little, I couldn't go if one was "watching me".
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Diane AKA Traska on February 17, 2014, 04:12:05 PM
This is about what the bathroom looked like but the carpet was burgundy and the carpeting only went 3/4 of the way up the wall. http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/c4/17/f4/c417f4f0aa0bbf6aa4df88803afe240a.jpg

It was a rental so nothing I could do about it but shake my head.

 :o
Ha! I've never seen one where the carpet went up the wall as well as the outside of the tub.

I always associate it mentally with bathrooms which have one of  those knitted dolls as a toilet roll cozy...
(http://www.decorateitonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Crocheted-Toilet-Paper-Cover.jpg)

Can I just tell all y'all that those dolls always totally freaked me out.  When I was really little, I couldn't go if one was "watching me".

And seriously, what's the point?  I mean, I wouldn't leave a naked roll of TP on the coffee table, but in the bathroom?  What do these people think people *do* in there?
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Layla Miller on February 17, 2014, 04:13:22 PM
This is about what the bathroom looked like but the carpet was burgundy and the carpeting only went 3/4 of the way up the wall. http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/c4/17/f4/c417f4f0aa0bbf6aa4df88803afe240a.jpg

It was a rental so nothing I could do about it but shake my head.

 :o
Ha! I've never seen one where the carpet went up the wall as well as the outside of the tub.

I always associate it mentally with bathrooms which have one of  those knitted dolls as a toilet roll cozy...
(http://www.decorateitonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Crocheted-Toilet-Paper-Cover.jpg)

Can I just tell all y'all that those dolls always totally freaked me out.  When I was really little, I couldn't go if one was "watching me".

And seriously, what's the point?  I mean, I wouldn't leave a naked roll of TP on the coffee table, but in the bathroom?  What do these people think people *do* in there?

Knit toilet paper cozies?  ;D
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: #borecore on February 17, 2014, 05:59:38 PM
The thought of having to pick up something porous and difficult to wash that other people pick up every time they run out of paper mid 'visit' grosses even me out.

(Also, I am a little creeped out in general by old-fashioned dolls, especially as I get further from my own doll-loving years. I will avoid looking at or touching them in almost any context.)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Marga on February 17, 2014, 06:04:26 PM
This is about what the bathroom looked like but the carpet was burgundy and the carpeting only went 3/4 of the way up the wall. http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/c4/17/f4/c417f4f0aa0bbf6aa4df88803afe240a.jpg

It was a rental so nothing I could do about it but shake my head.

 :o
Ha! I've never seen one where the carpet went up the wall as well as the outside of the tub.

I always associate it mentally with bathrooms which have one of  those knitted dolls as a toilet roll cozy...
(http://www.decorateitonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Crocheted-Toilet-Paper-Cover.jpg)

Can I just tell all y'all that those dolls always totally freaked me out.  When I was really little, I couldn't go if one was "watching me".

And seriously, what's the point?  I mean, I wouldn't leave a naked roll of TP on the coffee table, but in the bathroom?  What do these people think people *do* in there?

Knit toilet paper cozies?  ;D

You mean crochet! ;)
Title: Re:16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until...
Post by: VorFemme on February 17, 2014, 06:29:08 PM
(http://www.decorateitonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Crocheted-Toilet-Paper-Cover.jpg)

There are worse things than those toilet paper cozies.

Having one of those dolls show up wearing a birthday cake as her skirt and a strapless icing corset top....

Seriously - those freaked me out worse than the toilet paper cozies...
Title: Re:16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until...
Post by: Nikko-chan on February 17, 2014, 06:34:15 PM
(http://www.decorateitonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Crocheted-Toilet-Paper-Cover.jpg)

There are worse things than those toilet paper cozies.

Having one of those dolls show up wearing a birthday cake as her skirt and a strapless icing corset top....

Seriously - those freaked me out worse than the toilet paper cozies...
wait what?
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: lady_disdain on February 17, 2014, 06:36:36 PM
Those dolls would suit this bathroom perfectly: http://www.wimoveis.com.br/imovel/aluguel-apartamento-brasilia-df-3-quartos-sqn-304-bloco-d-1140286 Now, what would match that orange kitchen?

I am looking for an apartment and I have plenty of fodder to revive the real estate thread, believe me. Including the person who turned a balcony into a closet.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: PastryGoddess on February 17, 2014, 06:48:08 PM
(http://www.decorateitonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Crocheted-Toilet-Paper-Cover.jpg)

There are worse things than those toilet paper cozies.

Having one of those dolls show up wearing a birthday cake as her skirt and a strapless icing corset top....

Seriously - those freaked me out worse than the toilet paper cozies...
wait what?



Ahem.... Click Here (https://www.google.com/search?q=barbie+cake)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Psychopoesie on February 17, 2014, 06:53:54 PM
(http://www.decorateitonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Crocheted-Toilet-Paper-Cover.jpg)

There are worse things than those toilet paper cozies.

Having one of those dolls show up wearing a birthday cake as her skirt and a strapless icing corset top....

Seriously - those freaked me out worse than the toilet paper cozies...
wait what?



Ahem.... Click Here (https://www.google.com/search?q=barbie+cake)

I had one of those Dolly Varden cakes for my 9th? birthday. A friend of the family made it for me as a surprise. Absolutely loved that cake (helped that the cake bit was chocolate). Still gives me the warm fuzzies whenever I remember it.  :)

Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved...
Post by: VorFemme on February 17, 2014, 07:30:56 PM
(http://www.decorateitonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Crocheted-Toilet-Paper-Cover.jpg)

There are worse things than those toilet paper cozies.

Having one of those dolls show up wearing a birthday cake as her skirt and a strapless icing corset top....

Seriously - those freaked me out worse than the toilet paper cozies...
wait what?


Did you think I was kidding?

Please note - I do not kid about cake. 

Although the first time I saw one of those dolls...I was in third grade and thinking about making an exception...it didn't LOOK like cake....
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: nutraxfornerves on February 17, 2014, 08:56:25 PM
Combine Barbie with a toilet paper cozy and you get this:
(http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-o15fiGVBZDw/T9CzP1MO8PI/AAAAAAAAAHY/M02BvkoqAiI/s1600/IMG_1303.JPG)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: jedikaiti on February 17, 2014, 09:11:56 PM
Those dolls would suit this bathroom perfectly: http://www.wimoveis.com.br/imovel/aluguel-apartamento-brasilia-df-3-quartos-sqn-304-bloco-d-1140286 Now, what would match that orange kitchen?

I am looking for an apartment and I have plenty of fodder to revive the real estate thread, believe me. Including the person who turned a balcony into a closet.

Go for it!
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: jedikaiti on February 17, 2014, 09:12:41 PM
OK THAT is funny.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Katana_Geldar on February 17, 2014, 10:52:02 PM
I had one of those cakes too, for my 8th birthday. My mum made it, with pink icing.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: magicdomino on February 18, 2014, 09:49:22 AM
Combine Barbie with a toilet paper cozy and you get this:
(http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-o15fiGVBZDw/T9CzP1MO8PI/AAAAAAAAAHY/M02BvkoqAiI/s1600/IMG_1303.JPG)

All of a sudden, I want one.  Please be patient, I'm sure I'll get over it.   ;)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: nutraxfornerves on February 18, 2014, 09:55:30 AM
Combine Barbie with a toilet paper cozy and you get this:
(http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-o15fiGVBZDw/T9CzP1MO8PI/AAAAAAAAAHY/M02BvkoqAiI/s1600/IMG_1303.JPG)

All of a sudden, I want one.  Please be patient, I'm sure I'll get over it.   ;)

Ask an ye shall receive. Here is the pattern (http://auntieelle.blogspot.com/2009/08/barbies-toilet-toilet-roll-cover.html)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Yvaine on February 18, 2014, 10:03:51 AM
(http://www.decorateitonline.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Crocheted-Toilet-Paper-Cover.jpg)

There are worse things than those toilet paper cozies.

Having one of those dolls show up wearing a birthday cake as her skirt and a strapless icing corset top....

Seriously - those freaked me out worse than the toilet paper cozies...
wait what?



Ahem.... Click Here (https://www.google.com/search?q=barbie+cake)

I had one of those Dolly Varden cakes for my 9th? birthday. A friend of the family made it for me as a surprise. Absolutely loved that cake (helped that the cake bit was chocolate). Still gives me the warm fuzzies whenever I remember it.  :)

I always wanted one of those doll cakes, though I was bummed out when I learned that it's not a "whole" doll in there but a half doll with a spike instead of legs.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: gramma dishes on February 18, 2014, 10:19:36 AM

I always wanted one of those doll cakes, though I was bummed out when I learned that it's not a "whole" doll in there but a half doll with a spike instead of legs.

Barbie has such long skinny legs anyway, why couldn't you just stick the whole doll down in there?  It wouldn't be that much different from a spike.   :)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: magicdomino on February 18, 2014, 10:21:31 AM

I always wanted one of those doll cakes, though I was bummed out when I learned that it's not a "whole" doll in there but a half doll with a spike instead of legs.

Barbie has such long skinny legs anyway, why couldn't you just stick the whole doll down in there?  It wouldn't be that much different from a spike.   :)

I've seen that done, often on bundt-type cakes where there is a convenient hole in the center.  I've also seen them on Cake Wrecks because Barbie's long hair is trailing in the frosting.   :P
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Yvaine on February 18, 2014, 10:21:46 AM

I always wanted one of those doll cakes, though I was bummed out when I learned that it's not a "whole" doll in there but a half doll with a spike instead of legs.

Barbie has such long skinny legs anyway, why couldn't you just stick the whole doll down in there?  It wouldn't be that much different from a spike.   :)

Probably because the half doll is cheaper, but if you're giving a Barbie anyway as a gift, I don't see why not stick it in the cake.  ;D Or get a cheapie fake Barbie from the dollar store, which still has more "re-play" value than the spike doll.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Psychopoesie on February 18, 2014, 10:33:26 AM
It's quite a while since that 9th birthday cake but I'm pretty sure it was the whole doll (not a barbie either). The place where I grew up wouldn't have sold spiky cake dolls. Pretty sure they used a pudding tin for the cake to get the shape of the skirt. Plus I would've remembered if the doll was cut in half like there'd been some horrible baking accident.  :)

With the kitsch toilet dolls - these were a common decoration from my childhood. One of my aunts made them as gifts (along with a whole heap of other crafty stuff). She was a total neat freak and I'm sure any doll she made would have germ repelling properties.   ;)

I'm sort if disappointed I didn't end up with one although I have heaps of lovely covered coat hangers thanks to her.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Julian on February 18, 2014, 09:20:47 PM
I admit to once, only once, making a Barbie (fairy) cake.  There's a special cake tin that makes the bell skirt in one piece.  The little girl loved it.

The tin also makes a great booby cake too.   ;D

The crocheted and knitted TP covers bring back memories.  Ghastly things!  They always looked dusty and grimy and a little bit kooky.  Older Aunts were particularly fond of them.  Even worse, the crocheted or knitted bit was often done with that horrible nylon ribbon yarn stuff. 

I must admit though, the Barbie on the throne one tempts me... 
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: gramma dishes on February 18, 2014, 09:28:15 PM


...   The crocheted and knitted TP covers bring back memories.  Ghastly things!  ...

Oh!  That reminds me.  When I was little they also made Kleenex box covers like that.  I always thought "Ewww ... someone blew their nose in one and then grabbed the box with one hand to hold it still to pull out another tissue. 
Ewww ...!!"
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Katana_Geldar on February 18, 2014, 10:00:19 PM
We have my grandma a tissue box cover for Christmas. But it was made of cage and had Chrustmas goodies in them.

I really don't like the plastic streamers they have over the doors of fish and chip shops to discourage flies. They're usually greasy.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: PastryGoddess on February 18, 2014, 11:58:52 PM
We have my grandma a tissue box cover for Christmas. But it was made of cage and had Chrustmas goodies in them.

I really don't like the plastic streamers they have over the doors of fish and chip shops to discourage flies. They're usually greasy.

plastic streamers???  they don't use air?
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: oz diva on February 19, 2014, 12:07:21 AM

I always wanted one of those doll cakes, though I was bummed out when I learned that it's not a "whole" doll in there but a half doll with a spike instead of legs.

Barbie has such long skinny legs anyway, why couldn't you just stick the whole doll down in there?  It wouldn't be that much different from a spike.   :)
The time I did it, my cake wasn't quite deep enough, so I had to trim Barbie's legs. I just bought a $5 Barbie from the supermarket.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Psychopoesie on February 19, 2014, 12:11:19 AM
We have my grandma a tissue box cover for Christmas. But it was made of cage and had Chrustmas goodies in them.

I really don't like the plastic streamers they have over the doors of fish and chip shops to discourage flies. They're usually greasy.

plastic streamers???  they don't use air?

Sort of like this. Although the ones I remember best were a bit narrower and less see through.

http://www.premierplastics.com.au/premflex.php (http://www.premierplastics.com.au/premflex.php)
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: PastryGoddess on February 19, 2014, 12:16:16 AM
We have my grandma a tissue box cover for Christmas. But it was made of cage and had Chrustmas goodies in them.

I really don't like the plastic streamers they have over the doors of fish and chip shops to discourage flies. They're usually greasy.

plastic streamers???  they don't use air?

Sort of like this. Although the ones I remember best were a bit narrower and less see through.

http://www.premierplastics.com.au/premflex.php (http://www.premierplastics.com.au/premflex.php)

That's really interesting.  Most place I visit use air.  Walmart has those massive blowers at the entrance.  But even small shops have plug in air blowers that sit on top of the door and prevent insects from coming in.  They're not that great at regulating the temperature, but work really well for bugs
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Katana_Geldar on February 19, 2014, 12:24:03 AM
Most places that use these are rather small and don't have air conditioning.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: PastryGoddess on February 19, 2014, 08:12:39 AM
Most places that use these are rather small and don't have air conditioning.

Ah, I think we may be talking about two different things.  What I'm talking about is not air conditioning.  It is a horizontal fan that sits on top of the door and blows air down and out.  It's not super strong, but its strong enough to prevent bugs from flying through it.  Even the small convenience stores in my area have them.  And most of those stores don't have a/c
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: GlitterIsMyDrug on February 19, 2014, 09:16:57 AM
Most places that use these are rather small and don't have air conditioning.

Ah, I think we may be talking about two different things.  What I'm talking about is not air conditioning.  It is a horizontal fan that sits on top of the door and blows air down and out.  It's not super strong, but its strong enough to prevent bugs from flying through it.  Even the small convenience stores in my area have them.  And most of those stores don't have a/c

Is that with that big blast of air thing is for? I never knew that!
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Venus193 on February 19, 2014, 09:44:36 AM


...   The crocheted and knitted TP covers bring back memories.  Ghastly things!  ...

Oh!  That reminds me.  When I was little they also made Kleenex box covers like that.  I always thought "Ewww ... someone blew their nose in one and then grabbed the box with one hand to hold it still to pull out another tissue. 
Ewww ...!!"

I never got down with those.  The plastic ones that could match the room decor?  No problem.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: PastryGoddess on February 19, 2014, 12:02:44 PM
Most places that use these are rather small and don't have air conditioning.

Ah, I think we may be talking about two different things.  What I'm talking about is not air conditioning.  It is a horizontal fan that sits on top of the door and blows air down and out.  It's not super strong, but its strong enough to prevent bugs from flying through it.  Even the small convenience stores in my area have them.  And most of those stores don't have a/c

Is that with that big blast of air thing is for? I never knew that!

Yup :) Sure is
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Thipu1 on February 20, 2014, 10:29:25 AM
We have a Christmas toilet roll cover but we don't use it in the bathroom.

It's a 'Miss Christ-Mouse' and we use her as part of our holiday decor.  She's wearing a lace-trimmed Dickensian dress with a bonnet  and a faux fur muff. MIL made her many years ago and she works very nicely with a Dutch Sinter Klaas in our entry way.     
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: RingTailedLemur on February 20, 2014, 10:36:49 AM
We have a Christmas toilet roll cover but we don't use it in the bathroom.

It's a 'Miss Christ-Mouse' and we use her as part of our holiday decor.  She's wearing a lace-trimmed Dickensian dress with a bonnet  and a faux fur muff. MIL made her many years ago and she works very nicely with a Dutch Sinter Klaas in our entry way.   

Oh my, I had quite a different image for a moment there.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: GlitterIsMyDrug on February 20, 2014, 10:37:45 AM
We have a Christmas toilet roll cover but we don't use it in the bathroom.

It's a 'Miss Christ-Mouse' and we use her as part of our holiday decor.  She's wearing a lace-trimmed Dickensian dress with a bonnet  and a faux fur muff. MIL made her many years ago and she works very nicely with a Dutch Sinter Klaas in our entry way.   

Oh my, I had quite a different image for a moment there.

Oh good I wasn't alone.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: perpetua on February 20, 2014, 10:46:41 AM
We have a Christmas toilet roll cover but we don't use it in the bathroom.

It's a 'Miss Christ-Mouse' and we use her as part of our holiday decor.  She's wearing a lace-trimmed Dickensian dress with a bonnet  and a faux fur muff. MIL made her many years ago and she works very nicely with a Dutch Sinter Klaas in our entry way.   

Oh my, I had quite a different image for a moment there.

Tea, screen.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Thipu1 on February 25, 2014, 09:54:47 AM
Moving right along---

Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s many Russians came to NYC and settled in The Brighton section of Brooklyn.  Brighton is just to the east of Coney Island.  It's right on the ocean and, because it already had a thriving Russian community, was nicknamed 'Little Odessa'. 

One day at work, I was talking to a Russian woman who moved there from Moscow.  She was  disappointed to find out that Brighton can get very cold in the winter with brutal winds off the Atlantic ocean.

She took the name 'Little Odessa' a bit too literally and thought Brighton would be sub-tropical.  Before leaving Moscow she had given her fur coat away to a cousin and deeply regretted that decision. 
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Jocelyn on March 08, 2014, 04:48:40 PM
I can't imagine living in a wooden house.  Doesn't it get cold?
There are hollow spaces between the studs (the 2x4 pieces of lumber that run vertically and form the frame of the house. On the inside, you have sheetrock walls; on the outside you have siding (wooden or metal). In those spaces, you have fiberglass insulation. :) A well-insulated house also has insulation in the attic to keep the heat from going up through the ceiling. It is possible to drill holes in the siding of older houses and blow in liquid insulation that then solidifies in those gaps. How warm your house is depends upon the insulation you have in the walls. :) Plus, it also blocks noise from outside. Some people even put insulation in the interior walls of the house, to tamp down on noise leakage from room to room. I've lived in houses with brick exteriors instead of siding, but the house itself is built using a wooden frame. As are many commericial buildings, too.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: pierrotlunaire0 on March 13, 2014, 09:57:56 AM
My home is wooden.  It has a shingled siding.  The shingles run vertically, and the actual house plans run horizontally, so that air just doesn't get through.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Copper Horsewoman on April 23, 2014, 06:27:35 PM
Very cool link!  This is one of the questions I love to ask first-time visitors, since they have been subjected to USA tv, movies, music,etc. for all their lives,what most surprised, or amused, or startled them, and I also say that nothing they say could offend me, I really want to know.  Some of the answers I have gotten:
Every child in a family have their own bedroom, even if all are boys or girls.
How big houses are, even for the middle class.
The "compact" cars here are bigger and more powerful than most European "average" cars.
How much the CEO of a company makes compared to the regular worker, and even more than the President.
Restaurant portions, and the obesity they see regularly.
How America does not take universal healthcare and really quality education and good public transportation as the right of every citizen, and to pay taxes willingly to support these public good.
How until 9/11, America lived in a bubble like nothing bad could ever happen here, and how shocked we all were that it did.

Really makes one think, doesn't it?
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: katycoo on April 23, 2014, 06:48:11 PM
Every child in a family have their own bedroom, even if all are boys or girls.
How big houses are, even for the middle class.
The "compact" cars here are bigger and more powerful than most European "average" cars.
How much the CEO of a company makes compared to the regular worker, and even more than the President.

These ones at least I think are predominantly true for Australia also.  Our PM only earns about $350K.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Copper Horsewoman on April 23, 2014, 06:50:00 PM
You think it starts with parents? I learned to cook from my parents as it meant they could have the help if myself and my sisters or even have me making the meals myself.

I think all children need to learn how to cook before they leave home. And how to do laundry.

If you come from a very poor background you may well have been living with no working fridge or freezer (or it is a dorm fridge or maybe barely works) and maybe one burner on the stove. Slumlords still exist and they will resist fixing appliances. And if you complain too much you get evicted and have to find another place to live as cheaply.


GlitterisMyDrug you must live in the Southwest ; the roadside cross memorials are mainly found there. (Also Central and South America- kids didn't believe me when I described them after coming back from Venezuela as a kid).

I live in Northern Illinois, near Wisconsin:  roadside crosses are usual here, too.  When I lived in Chicago, public transit (buses and subways/els) were easy and prevalent.  Once you get outside the cities, other than commuter trains going into the big city there is NO buses or other public transit to speak of.  Cars are necessary. 
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: VorFemme on April 23, 2014, 06:53:37 PM
Very cool link!  This is one of the questions I love to ask first-time visitors, since they have been subjected to USA tv, movies, music,etc. for all their lives,what most surprised, or amused, or startled them, and I also say that nothing they say could offend me, I really want to know.  Some of the answers I have gotten:
Every child in a family have their own bedroom, even if all are boys or girls.
How big houses are, even for the middle class.
The "compact" cars here are bigger and more powerful than most European "average" cars.
How much the CEO of a company makes compared to the regular worker, and even more than the President.
Restaurant portions, and the obesity they see regularly.
How America does not take universal healthcare and really quality education and good public transportation as the right of every citizen, and to pay taxes willingly to support these public good.
How until 9/11, America lived in a bubble like nothing bad could ever happen here, and how shocked we all were that it did.

Really makes one think, doesn't it?

To be fair, I think some older people still remembered the lesson that we weren't immune from WWII (Japan & Pearl Harbor) - but the younger generations just didn't think about it at all...until it happened.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Copper Horsewoman on April 23, 2014, 07:12:20 PM
(This is a perennial arguement with him.  He insists that it's not raw, it's rare.  I say that if it's still cold and red in the middle, that part is RAW.)
A blue steak is one that's barely seared on the outside, vaguely lukewarm on the inside.
And totally delicious!  I generally order my steak "as rare as you will serve it".


"Moo-ing rare" is what I ask for. 
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Hmmmmm on April 23, 2014, 07:24:19 PM
Very cool link!  This is one of the questions I love to ask first-time visitors, since they have been subjected to USA tv, movies, music,etc. for all their lives,what most surprised, or amused, or startled them, and I also say that nothing they say could offend me, I really want to know.  Some of the answers I have gotten:
Every child in a family have their own bedroom, even if all are boys or girls.
How big houses are, even for the middle class.
The "compact" cars here are bigger and more powerful than most European "average" cars.
How much the CEO of a company makes compared to the regular worker, and even more than the President.
Restaurant portions, and the obesity they see regularly.
How America does not take universal healthcare and really quality education and good public transportation as the right of every citizen, and to pay taxes willingly to support these public good.
How until 9/11, America lived in a bubble like nothing bad could ever happen here, and how shocked we all were that it did.

Really makes one think, doesn't it?

While I'll agree on quality, I really think they should check their facts about our willingness to pay for education. In 2011, the US spent on average $7.7K per child as compared to the next closest spend of $5.8K in the UK and $5.7K in AU. It's not that we aren't willing to pay taxes to support education, it's that we can't seem to figure out how to manage the spend for the biggest bang.

And if you look at the cost of fuel, there is a reason why the US hasn't been forced to spend as much on public transportation. Privage transportation in other countries is just too costly.
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Katana_Geldar on April 23, 2014, 07:42:59 PM
What about health care? I realise this may be a political issue but it's something I keep seeing from Americans I'm friends with on Facebook. They're astounded by the level of medical care I'm receiving in my pregnancy that I'm not paying for and the fact our health insurance doesn't cover it and we don't intend to change that. We "pay" for it, of course, through taxation which is taken out of our wages. Well rather, my DH's as all the tax I'm paying I'm going to get back at the end of the year as I wasn't earning enough.

Taxman helped pay for our wedding that way  ;D
Title: Re: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here
Post by: Yvaine on April 23, 2014, 07:43:39 PM
What about health care? I realise this may be a political issue but it's something I keep seeing from Americans I'm friends with on Facebook. They're astounded by the level of medical care I'm receiving in my pregnancy that I'm not paying for and the fact our health insurance doesn't cover it and we don't intend to change that. We "pay" for it, of course, through taxation which is taken out of our wages. Well rather, my DH's as all the tax I'm paying I'm going to get back at the end of the year as I wasn't earning enough.

Taxman helped pay for our wedding that way  ;D

It really is hugely political in the US, and probably best avoided on this board. :)