Author Topic: 16 People On Things They Couldn’t Believe About America Until They Moved Here  (Read 41537 times)

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nutraxfornerves

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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.

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MommyPenguin

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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.

cwm

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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.

lady_disdain

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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.

VorFemme

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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!
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Katana_Geldar

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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.

turtleIScream

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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.

jedikaiti

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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.
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Hmmmmm

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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.

Venus193

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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.

Two Ravens

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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.

MrsJWine

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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.


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camlan

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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.
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MurPl1

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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. 

jmarvellous

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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.)