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  • January 28, 2015, 01:53:39 AM

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Author Topic: What We In The U.S. Think Foreign Citizens Know  (Read 1229 times)

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sylviatexas

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Re: What We In The U.S. Think Foreign Citizens Know
« Reply #15 on: Yesterday at 10:31:36 PM »
I once worked at an insurance office in Dallas with Chica, a single girl from Puerto Rico.

One morning, after a deceptively mile November & most of December, winter struck with a vengance & the temp dropped 40 degrees overnight.

Chica came in shivering, with chattering teeth & cold fingers & toes...& no coat.

She didn't have a coat, never had owned a coat, & was stunned that Texas could get that cold.

Our boss's secretary, Mona, said,
"No coat? Ever? Doesn't it get cold in Puerto Rico?"

"Yes, sure it does."

"What do you do when it gets cold at home?"

"We close the windows!"

Since Chica didn't know what to look for in a coat, Mona took her shopping.



 

oz diva

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Re: What We In The U.S. Think Foreign Citizens Know
« Reply #16 on: Yesterday at 10:52:03 PM »
In Australia if you asked to a gathering and requested to 'bring a plate' it means a plate of food to share, not that the host needs more crockery. It confuses many people.

Victoria

GreenEyedHawk

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Re: What We In The U.S. Think Foreign Citizens Know
« Reply #17 on: Yesterday at 11:32:30 PM »
The city I live in has a large, world-class university that attracts students from all over the world.  Because of that, we get a lot of students from places where it doesn't get that cold, and up here in northern Canada, it can get pretty darn cold.  So every year the university will put on a seminar to teach students how to dress for winter, usually in the fall.  I went once, with a friend, and they walked out a few volunteers dressed in various ways...one girl was wearing knee-high, fuzzy boots and a short coat (by which I mean the bottom of the coat barely reached the bottom of her ribcage) with a fuzzy hood.  Her legs and midriff were bare.  This is a style a lot of girls from a certain part of the world think will be adequate for a full-fledged Canuck winter.  When the person leading the seminar asked what was wrong with her outfit, my hand instinctively shot into the air (I can be very Hermione-ish that way sometimes) and when called on, I promptly said, "She'll freeze to death."

The students at the seminar laughed, they thought I was kidding.  The instructor had to explain to them that it's not an exaggeration when we say in winter, exposed flesh can freeze in less than a minute.
"After all this time?"
"Always."

kareng57

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Re: What We In The U.S. Think Foreign Citizens Know
« Reply #18 on: Today at 12:06:08 AM »
In this case I was the stupid foreigner, but sometimes things are just done differently in different places! 

I was about 21 and on my first trip to the USA (from UK).  I had hired a car, and eventually needed to fill up with so I drove into a gas station.  Now the way petrol stations at home work is you stop beside a pump, select the fuel you want, stick the nozzle into the filler slot and hold the trigger down.  The fuel runs until either you let go, of the tank is full, when it automatically stops.  While you are doing this your registration number is recorded by CCTV, so if you do a runner you can be traced.  When you've finished filling up you go into the kiosk and pay for what you've used.  (Pay at pump wasn't around then).  Anyway, I pulled up to a pump and tried to fill up.  Nothing happened.  After a while an intercom spluttered something incomprehensible.  I looked up and the lady in the kiosk was glaring at me.  Then the intercom crackled again.  Cue helpless look from me.  Again the crackle and I manage to make out "What the h*ll are you doin'?"  I give up and went into the kiosk.  I got a rant about trying to steal gas.  By this time I was nearly in tears.  I explained that I didn't know how the pumps work, and was asked how much fuel I wanted.  I didn't know how many dollars, I just wanted to fill up the tank.  This was clearly a stupid answer.  Eventually, with much huffing and puffing, she took $20 from me and filled up the car for me.  As I got back in the car she glared again and asked if I was from a certain state near to NY (also beginning with N) ??!  I said no, I was from the UK.  Oh, that was OK then, why hadn't I said....!!!   

Ummmm??

Sounds like you just got a really cranky attendant. Yes, if you're paying cash, you do pay in advance, but in my experience you can always ask for a fill-up and go back in and get your change afterward.

The pumps operate the same, it sounds like, too. They just have to be turned on by the attendant from indoors (or by the customer paying at the pump).

New Jersey has attendant-serviced pumps rather than self-service, so that makes sense that she'd ask that.


It happened to us (Canadian) in a US state, too.  We're pretty used to self-serve, and Dh pulled into the gas station and lifted out the gas dispenser.  An attendant came running out - I think we convinced her that we truly weren't trying to steal gas, but that we were accustomed to self-serve.

Kiwipinball

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Re: What We In The U.S. Think Foreign Citizens Know
« Reply #19 on: Today at 12:07:55 AM »
The city I live in has a large, world-class university that attracts students from all over the world.  Because of that, we get a lot of students from places where it doesn't get that cold, and up here in northern Canada, it can get pretty darn cold.  So every year the university will put on a seminar to teach students how to dress for winter, usually in the fall.  I went once, with a friend, and they walked out a few volunteers dressed in various ways...one girl was wearing knee-high, fuzzy boots and a short coat (by which I mean the bottom of the coat barely reached the bottom of her ribcage) with a fuzzy hood.  Her legs and midriff were bare.  This is a style a lot of girls from a certain part of the world think will be adequate for a full-fledged Canuck winter.  When the person leading the seminar asked what was wrong with her outfit, my hand instinctively shot into the air (I can be very Hermione-ish that way sometimes) and when called on, I promptly said, "She'll freeze to death."

The students at the seminar laughed, they thought I was kidding.  The instructor had to explain to them that it's not an exaggeration when we say in winter, exposed flesh can freeze in less than a minute.

I live in Minnesota. One of the problems we had with students from foreign locations was not that they didn't know how to dress, but that a really good winter jacket can be expensive. Most didn't want to spend $200 on a new jacket they'd only wear one season (granted they'd get a lot of use out of it, but still only a few months). They kept asking what kind of jacket to get to stay warm. It was hard.

Slartibartfast

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Re: What We In The U.S. Think Foreign Citizens Know
« Reply #20 on: Today at 12:27:54 AM »
My freshman year roommate was from LA.  We got an inch or two of snow that year (NC).  I remember coming back to the room the day of the snowfall to find her on her computer wearing her coat, hat, and gloves - indoors - while trying to type.

This is the same roommate who was mesmerized by the snowfall.  "I've seen snow on the ground before, like on mountains and stuff, but I never thought about it falling, like, from the sky!"

Coincidentally, the group of guys from Texas who all were in my dorm spent that afternoon outside in boxers, cowboy hats, sandals, and nothing else - having a snowball fight with the rest of the guys on the second floor.  While the latter were still in the building.

MommyPenguin

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Re: What We In The U.S. Think Foreign Citizens Know
« Reply #21 on: Today at 12:58:55 AM »
I once worked at an insurance office in Dallas with Chica, a single girl from Puerto Rico.

One morning, after a deceptively mile November & most of December, winter struck with a vengance & the temp dropped 40 degrees overnight.

Chica came in shivering, with chattering teeth & cold fingers & toes...& no coat.

She didn't have a coat, never had owned a coat, & was stunned that Texas could get that cold.

Our boss's secretary, Mona, said,
"No coat? Ever? Doesn't it get cold in Puerto Rico?"

"Yes, sure it does."

"What do you do when it gets cold at home?"

"We close the windows!"

Since Chica didn't know what to look for in a coat, Mona took her shopping.

I have a friend who has been living in Honduras for the past ten years or so.  She jokes about how she has totally lost her tolerance for the cold.  Every year when rainy season comes around, she's freezing and miserable, because there's no heat in her house, no way to get heat, and the house is designed to stay cool, not warm.  So it's easily under 60 degrees inside the house (and similar outside, so we're not talking super cold temperatures, just uncomfortable inside the house), and nobody really has cool weather gear, so you just shiver.  Apparently sweaters in donation boxes are *very* popular in the region.  :)