American Culture Shock

I expected to be surprised by America. And I am. Here are some of the things I have found surprising so far.

25 percent tip is expected on many restaurant bills.

Tip for almost everything. When paying electronically on a tablet at a cash register, the cashier will turn the tablet to you so that you can add a tip… for standing on the other side of the counter.

The prices. I ordered pizza. It cost me 60 dollars for two. But in general, the prices are high. Except on gas. Healthy food is expensive. But now even the fast food is pricey.

Pepperoni and Hawaiian pizzas from Wise Guys.

The smell of skunk (in DC, I’m told that if it smells like skunk then it’s a bad grade of marijuana).

Large food portions. I ate half a chicken. It sounds like it was a small chicken. No, I was SERVED half a chicken. And it was large. That said, the other day, I was surprised at the average size of my sandwich.

Music in the parking lot to keep away the homeless and the migrants. Yes, that’s true. There are some parking lots where canned music is piped out all day long. Apparently homeless people do not like it. This is one of the oddest things I’ve discovered about America and I feel like there must be more to it than this. I will admit that the music is a sort of sickly elevator style teeny bop muzak. Maybe if I remember, I’ll do a YouTube video about this.

Homeless people are everywhere in Washington, DC. Entire cities of tents — some with front yards and patios!

The relative speed of Amazon orders. I can order items to be delivered in six hours from when I order. I also live near a hub. It usually does not get delivered that fast but the offer is there so that is what surprises me.

Vocabulary. The language is different. “Stuffy” for a soft toy — what we called a doll. “Slide deck” for PowerPoint because not everyone uses Microsoft. “Coms” for communication ’cause shorta i’ betta? And don’t get me started on the acronyms!

Shocks and all, I’m enjoying it. This may have seemed negative, so I will write, as I usually do for each new country I live in, a set of pros and cons blog articles. Watch this space.

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