Today it’s been exactly six months and four days since I moved to the US. During that time, my love for the country and its people have truly grown stronger for each day. Strangely enough, some of the cultural traits I once thought of as “extreme” or “ridiculous,” have now become normal to me. I no longer think it’s weird that strangers ask me how I’m doing, or that I always see a three-digit number on the scale when I weigh myself. – Which by the way, is not a result of the infamous American food, but instead their use of pounds instead of kilos.
However, there are still a few things I don’t get about this wonderful place.
First of all, there’s a reason why I tend to avoid using coins when paying for my groceries. If I have a bill, I’ll always use that before I even consider digging up any coins from my wallet. Why? Because the coins “over here” don’t have any numbers on them. And just to make it even more confusing, you can’t use their size as a reference either – a ten-cent coin is smaller than a five-cent, and so on. When I finally thought I’d gotten the hang of it, a cashier asked me one day: “do you have a dime?” To me, that sounded more like the name of a candy bar (that we have in Norway..) so I just said “No, I don’t.” And looked at her. She looked back at me, and a moment of awkward staring followed. Obviously, she asked if had five more cents, because I didn’t give her enough money. But as the genuinely nice person she was, she just said: “Okay hon, that’s fine. Do you need the receipt with you, or in the bag?” So I left the store, not knowing I’d just paid five cents to little for my groceries.
Another thing I don’t get, is why (many) Americans dress like morons in the cold weather. Here in South Dakota, we’ve had temperatures as low as -26°C, and the biting wind has at times made the effective temperatures drop down to -37°C. At least, certain students at Augustana sure knows how to live up to their name as “Vikings.” The picture below displays a not so unusual type of winter footwear. (If the owner of these feet now feels like a victim of online exploitation, I apologize in advance.. sorry!)
Then there are those gaps. The gaps you’ll see in every public bathroom, which truly makes it a PUBLIC bathroom – because privacy becomes a challenge..
And yes, everything is generally bigger over here. Especially the shampoo bottles. I’m not exaggerating when I say that they’re about three to four times bigger than the average norwegian bottle (But half the price, yay!) Sometimes I wish I could just bring my whole backpack to the bathroom at night.. that way I would be able to bring both my shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, face wash, moisturizer and toothpaste in with me at the same time – instead of walking back and forth several times.
When I first saw the size of this cereal pack, I thought it was quite sensational (Which is why I decided to pose with it in my hands.. heh) *As if I didn’t already look like a foreigner*
America even offers menstrual pads in “Kardashian-household sizes.” Unless you live together with six other girls, you won’t need that many at once.
*Talk to your doctor if you do…* – Which is another thing that is typically American. If you watch a TV commercial for medication, health products or diet supplements, there’s always a sidenote warning you of the possible side-effects. “If you experience headaches, nausea, dizziness, fainting, chest pain or loss of sight or pulse – stop taking the pills and go see your doctor.”
“Over here” you can also buy alcohol every day, 24 hours a day. Even in pharmacies! As opposed to in Norway, where only certified stores can sell beer and other low-alcolholic beverages and wine/spirits can only be obtained at the official “liquor stores.” (Usually only found in bigger cities)
I could probably go on and on about things that are different from the tiny country I’m from, but I’ll save that for some other time.
Peace out, and be blessed.