I recently moved to Texas and I am still analysing the US as a traveller and not as a person who is living here. There! I explained why this post is not coming up too early from me.

That is exactly the reason why I am writing this post so early though – there are too many astonishing things and I really have to adapt to them. No matter what! Initially, I started with 8 astonishing facts but ended up writing 15. Phew! I am so sure I will be facing more surprises here!

I was mentally prepared for the cultural shock but there are other things for which I was not prepared for which I discovered after I came here.

I have travelled to the other “western” countries and I was probably aware of many things which we are not usually used to in India. For example, people in the west are pretty warm and they will just smile at you while on the road or in the elevator – which, by the way, would be a creepy thing to do in India!

I have watched enough of the American TV series to know a lot of stuff but the things that I am going to talk about are not shown on any television series.

So, the following things are just my observation about this new place. I am loving it here – it’s just that few things are still pretty atypical for me to adjust to.

  1. Tipping is the way of saying “thank you” here and thus, it’s mandatory. Whether you go to the restaurant or order groceries at home or go to the hairdresser, tipping is a must. And most of the time I and bae are checking the optimum percentage of the tip on Google for a particular service because we are not afraid of tipping – we are afraid of tipping less and end up being tagged as uncouth.
  2. Everyone talks about this and so should I. The food portions are super HUGE here. When I say huge I mean huge. A regular main course that you order at a restaurant can feed two but it is kind of rude that if two people go to a restaurant and order just one dish.

    That is Nachos for one. And it’s an appetizer.

     

  3. Talking about food – everything here is very sweet. The bread, the poultry products, the beverages – everything seems like it is made of an extra dosage of sugar. I am very uncomfortable eating everything that tastes so unhealthy. But the beverages – they come in so many flavours. That is overwhelmingly unhealthy!
  4. This country is huge. For someone coming from India, it shouldn’t matter much because even we travel for two hours to go from one metro city to the other but here the ball game is entirely different. It not only takes you almost 8 hours to get from one coast to the other but this country has six time zones. So every trip comes with a li’l jet lag.
  5. This place is a germophobe’s paradise. The public washrooms are highly automated. You don’t have to touch a single thing in there, apart from the doors. The flushes, the taps, the soap dispenser, the tissue dispenser! Phew. That might not be pretty amusing in most of the countries but for me it is!
  6. Speaking of toilets – I hate the no-toilet jet culture here. I could find them even in a few nations of Europe. But not here. No. And it’s not a great feeling for us-people from India!
  7. The traffic and driving sense of this nation collectively has won my heart. The pedestrian is the king in this part of the world. People STOP when the pedestrian is crossing – with or without the signal. People follow lane driving. They maintain the speed limit. Just wow!
  8. Now my mental calculation speed has increased here by 10 folds. I wish 10 helped here much. I miss the metric system. I am not sure why the US follows a different measurement system altogether but it’s confusing at first. Or even after ages. And the multiplication factor is different for different units. Miles to Kilometer is 1.6. Pounds to Kilogram is 0.45. Volume is measured in ounces and I am not learning that conversion. No.
  9. One thing that astonishes me the most is that almost every household here has a dog. Or two. Sometimes, even three. It’s a part of their lifestyle. Are people here so lonely? I wonder sometimes.
  10. Oh, the street animals and birds here! I mean the crows and cats and squirrels of India are just malnourished. The crows are crows here. Big and cuddly. The squirrels are of the size of the Indian cats. But yes, they are scary too!

    Okay, so the trees are proportional as well!

  11. Even after having so much sweet in their food items and having almost 35% of the adult population as obese, it is hard to believe that people here are such fitness freaks. And when I say that I don’t mean you will find highly swollen bags of steroid here but in general people here have a knack for fitness. They run, they jog and do all sort of heavily physical activities despite their desk jobs. Families here are passionate about going on trekking during the vacations. And that is inspiring!
  12. I have learned it very well that “Hey! How is your day going?” is just an elaborated version of “Hi” or “Namaste”. No one is expecting a full-fledged conversation. People here are just being polite and it’s best to play along! It was intimidating even for someone like me who loves to talk with anyone because I am not programmed to strike a conversation with a stranger walking across the road. But now I am adjusting slowly to it but it’s definitely bewildering.
  13. I am yet to learn about the tax and pricing system of this country – still working on it – however, general goods can be priced anything depending on the store from where you are shopping. The concept of MRP is not applicable here.
  14. Okay, the metric system was fine. But learning that the whole English language that I learned during my childhood is a lie here is something I am not able to come to terms with. Take away is to-go here. A footpath is a sidewalk. A dustbin is a trash can. And even the DD/MM is flipped to MM/DD. I have literally refilled so many application forms here just because of that!
  15. People here are cute. They are in no rush. They can stand in the line, sorry, queue, forever. And they don’t crib about it. They have a lot of patience. They don’t honk on the roads – no matter how slow the traffic is moving. I love this place!

I think that’s all I have to say. I am adjusting to this new place and it’s good to be surprised every now and then!

 

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30 Comments
  1. Hello would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re working with? I’m looking to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a tough time making a decision between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design and style seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique. P.S Apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!

    1. Hey! Thanks for asking. I just revamped my whole blog and it’s pretty motivating to get such amazing feedback. I am using WordPress.
      I was initially using Blogger and shifted to WordPress a few weeks ago. It is easy to use and the customization in WordPress is on point. You really don’t have to compromise on any feature that you want for your website. Please reach out to me at sushmita.malakar@gmail.com if you have any more questions. I will be happy to help.

  2. These are all big things here in the US. Certainly the huge food portions I have heard from some of my friends I had here from London who couldn’t believe how much came on a plate. And as for the washrooms you don’t have to touch anything, there are even some you don’t have to touch the doors at here. You go to the right one and all you have to do is wave your hand in front of it, and the door moves.

  3. I enjoyed reading this list. Although havent been there for long I agree with some of the points and will have to rethink some others!

  4. Oh you can say that all again! I love US and US people and you are so on point. but I do find everything charming, the good and not so good

  5. Oh my! You made me want to get the US right away! The food first…I admit I’m a foodie for all good food like those nachos over there. And I wouldn’t share my plate. Ha-ha! It’s nice that their transport is way on top plus the pedestrian is king! Enjoy your travels there for sure!

  6. Wonder where you visited? Were you in the south where they are in no rush or New York City where they are rushing. I was born and raised here and our countries obsession with dogs and cats is unreal and kind of sad. I wonder if some of us are lonely too!

  7. Nice to read your list. I guess each of us would have felt at least a few of these when we first landed here πŸ™‚ I first came to a suburb that was very quiet and so different from the busy town I grew up back home. I couldn’t take that silence for long and eventually moved to a bigger city.

    1. I can understand. However, for me, until now it is very different. I grew up in a crowded Metropol of India and I am loving the quietness of Austin! Thanks for dropping by πŸ™‚

  8. Well yes agree with your thoughts. Being an Indian and staying in US for few years it’s understood. But I would have been if a comparison was not made. Every country has its uniqueness and we should respect. Sorry for that but that’s what I feel

    1. Hey! Thanks for your comment. The comparison is pretty natural however, I did not mean to be disrespectful at all. I am sorry if it came out that way. πŸ™

  9. If you have a chance for a trip, come up north to Canada! We’re similar to the US in a lot of ways, but also quite different (in good ways)… Although, the US *does* have a lot more flavour varieties for their junk food than we do.

    1. I know right! πŸ˜€
      And yes, Canada is on my mind for next year! I am sure by the time I come to Canada, I will be completely accustomed to the culture! Thanks for the lovely comment πŸ™‚

  10. This is such a nice post and I am glad that you are able to adjust in your new place in a short period of time and I am sure you will learn more everyday.

    1. Hey Catherine, thanks! Yes, I totally look forward to every new day here. It is indeed pretty astonishing.

  11. Very well written.. By the way you described it people and culture here sounds really great..! I also love how they love being fit and hustling to gyms even at busy days.

    1. Yes, that is so true. Every day, any time of the day, the gyms are completely packed. And that is very motivating! Thanks for dropping by πŸ™‚

  12. That was certainly an interesting read Sushmita! It would take time acclimatizing to life and its rigors out there but I am sure you are doing just great! The conversion system also includes dollar to rupee or vice versa if you are a student! My kid is currently in LA doing her post grad, so she’s been telling me of similar experiences. Good going, keep writing about your experiences and more!

    1. Hey Kala! So good to see you here. I will surely be writing more of my experiences here. Thanks πŸ™‚
      The dollar to INR conversion is surely very important for students and tourists. In fact, initially, you tend to convert the price of almost everything that you buy. But then it sinks in that if you are spending in dollars, you are earning in dollars too. So that is a relief. And your kid will soon be doing that! All the best to her πŸ™‚
      And yes, US is pretty amusing! πŸ˜€

  13. My favorite is how you decided to post two photos and of course one of them has to show serving proportions. HAHA. During my first trip to the US, I was probably 8yos that was in 1989 I think. I was so shocked at the size of the softdrinks we ordered. I haven’t seen anything like that before.

    But anyway, I agree with all of your points.

    1. Thanks for the lovely comment! In fact, I went to the movies recently and the size of their Coca cola glass was so HUGE! I could have gone without eating the whole day if I had one of those. So in agreement with you!

  14. Well said Sushmita !! you have observed a lot in 2 months. Enjoyyy! you will get used to USA. v soon .

    1. Thanks a ton Ma’am! Almost every other thing here is so different. Hopefully, I will get used it soon! Thanks πŸ™‚

  15. The USA has a lot to offer and a lot to know and learn about for sure. I love that you noticed that hey how’s your day going is just a hi lol

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