America is a unique melting pot of wonderful contradictions, here’s what I learned about America after living abroad! One of the most fun experiences is returning home after living abroad and noticing all the little things that didn’t used to irritate you, now drive you crazy.
So I’ve been back home for about 4 days now after being abroad for two and a half years and here are my observations.
Americans are seriously friendly, especially Californians.
I’ve always loved the laid back and friendly Californians, but after two years living with the French and Germans, holy hell are they a cheery bunch! My friends in Europe always said this about me, but I figured they were just exaggerating – definitely not! The guy at the grocery store yesterday asked how my day was going like we were old friends and I couldn’t help thinking like a European at first, wondering does he really care what I say and then, oh shit, do I know him? After a couple days, this wears off but I couldn’t help thinking several times if I knew somebody before I realized they were just being friendly. Best part of being back in California? The surfer/snowboarder/skier language. Can’t find that anywhere in Europe! All time brahs.
Life in America is all about innovation and convenience.
Holy cow, I haven’t been here for a Sunday yet, but I am overwhelmed by the million options of things I could do! Shopping, no problem! Stores are open Sundays and some even 24 hours. After two years of dreading the boredom of Sundays in Europe where most everything is closed, the possibilities are overwhelming. Not only can I finally do anything I want on Sundays, but I can also put food down the kitchen sink – thank god for garbage disposals! I don’t have to separate my trash into ten different piles? Awesome, what will I do with all this extra free time?!
America really isn’t into public transportation.
One of the best things about being home was driving my parent’s brand new Subaru Outback. But only because there is really no other option if I plan on getting anywhere in this wonderful mountain town that is Tahoe. I mean I could cross country ski everywhere, but there’s not enough snow for that yet, thanks global warming. Or I could mountain bike everywhere, but there is too much snow for that, thanks El Nino. So to the car it is since the bus system up here doesn’t even go to my house and runs randomly. As depressing as the metro in Paris is and how quiet it is in Munich, I miss the ease of hoping on an U-Bahn or Tram and going anywhere – particularly after a couple Maß of Paulaner.
Shopping in America is all about Consumerism and Ease.
Checking out at the register, I was ready for the rat race that is packing groceries at Aldi in Europe. Stress, dirty looks from the cashier, and lightning fast packing of bags all included. Pleasantly surprised, I didn’t even have to unload my groceries on the belt and a nice young man packed my reusable bags (new enough concept that people here still complain about it) while chatting about how nice it is that time is going quickly at work today. After that, the cashier kindly told me all the pennies I saved, handed me a million coupons, and a receipt long enough to be Santa’s Naughty or Nice list before sending me on my way into the sunny world that is California.
I’m still adjusting (no jet lag so at least this means I might be a pro at this whole travel thing), but looking forward to the other surprises I learn about my home upon returning. Another bonus point for travel and living abroad for letting me see my home through completely different lenses.