5 Things that Surprised Me About Living in the USA
Many, many things surprised me about USA when I lived there for a few months on exchange. I could start with guns and politics but let’s deviate to more politically correct things, so here are some of the 5 Things that Surprised Me About Living in the USA:
Doing chores is super easy!
Doing chores is a lot easier in a developed country where you have available gadgets and grocery products out in the market that already do half the job for you. Sure, we do have a washing machine, but most households don’t have a dryer or a dishwashing machine. It consumes too much electricity. It was my first time to see many staple home gadgets: like Alexa and the robot vacuum cleaner; and the first time to see these products like hair removal brooms, hair tub stoppers and even Tide pods.
Back home, it wasn’t the case. We have to do most of the chores by hand. Well, most mid to upper middle class households also have household help or nannies so maybe I just didn’t bother learning these chores until I had to…
The Tipping culture
Tipping is a big thing in USA, it’s even a lifestyle. Tipping is not required, but it feels obligatory. It’s expected for you to give 15% to 20%–to anyone that will provide you service: waiters, Lyft / Uber drivers, pizza delivery guy, barber, etc.
(Funny story: I experienced one time when I gave a tip that’s 80 cents short, and the waiter called me out on it LOL)
(Another funny story: we went on a group dinner of 5 that cost $900. We left $100, I mean elsewhere in the world, people would be happy but the waiter called us out and followed us outside.)
Elsewhere in the world, there was a service charge. Tipping is not expected, but appreciated (although some countries are a bit extreme who will really run you down and return your change, such as Japan I heard)
Many people in the workforce rely on tips to get by with their horrible minimum wage, so let’s leave it at that–although in PH, wages are much worse. When Filipino restaurant staff detect an American in their vicinity, that always is a cause for celebration for them.
Required small talk, everywhere
Living in the USA, you’re expected to do small talk. Everywhere. In your elevator. In your dentist’s waiting room. When you Uberpool. When you don’t Uberpool. I could get hit on when I’m in a Starbucks or when I’m walking down the streets.
It’s nice, but sometimes it does get tiring. You have to be ‘ON’ mode all the time when it comes to socializing. Americans are super extroverted and like to jump in a conversation and think that’s fine. Filipinos are super shy and different when it comes to that; they prefer to just be close and chummy to close friends and family members.
‘I’m into sports’
“What are you into?” I asked my date.
“I like sports,” he responded.
“We should do that sometime,” I said, and we both agreed.
I expected he was into this:
But turns out he was into this:
They love playing games!
Americans love games. Anything that involves a ball, they enjoy playing. Basketball. But especially football (I still don’t understand how it works). If they’re not playing, they watch it on TV instead.
Even in bars, they play games. They say white men can’t dance, so they play games instead–and there are plenty of games to play in a typical bar in America — beer pong, darts, foozball, those kinds of things.
Even in house parties, we get to do all these drinking games all the time. Never Have I Ever, Drunk Jenga, King’s Cup, etc. Americans love games!
ZOMG Amazon Prime.
I feel like my closest relationship in the US was the Amazon Prime guy. Prime is amazing. I was semi-addicted to purchasing stuff I ‘needed’ in Amazon.
Also, customer service in America is impeccable. If I ended up not liking what I bought, I can just mail it back to them and I get a full refund. Astounding! That is almost impossible to do in the Philippines, so you just need to be 100% sure of your purchase before clicking the ‘Check Out’ button.
Everything is super easy to get in America. I got my credit card in two weeks, but when I returned to Philippines, I had to wait six months to get a bank account and a year to be verified and get a card!
American food will fatten you up
Oh gosh, there’s something about the American food that makes you thicc. I got my thighs and face pretty thick while there, and I’m just starting to get rid of the fat now that I’m back in Asia, three years later. But then again, I’ve always loved food.
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