America is a very complicated place.
It’s also the only home that I’ve ever known, so I don’t really know any different.
Sure, I’ve traveled outside the country, but you never really know what a place is like until you actually live there for a while.
My brother-in-law is from rural Australia and he said that before he moved to the U.S. he assumed that every single one of us carried guns at all times because he watched a lot of episodes of Cops.
Of course, that isn’t true, but there are a lot of things about this place that are uniquely American.
AskReddit users opened up about the things about America that would sound crazy if you tried to explain them to someone from another country.
1. Sugar and painkillers.
“I studied in Chicago for a month at 17, and I was so confused as to why all your bread was sweet. I get migraines if I eat too much sugar and I basically lived off of chips, mac and cheese, and the salad bar in our accommodation.
On the Fourth of July I just ate a bowl of carrots dipped in ranch dressing as I didn’t eat meat at the time. It still had enough sugar to knock me out.
Also your painkiller bottles are HUGE! I had to buy ibuprofen and the smallest bottle was like 100 pills, I haven’t finished it yet and that trip was two years ago!”
2. Howdy, stranger.
“Complimenting strangers. But I like it though.
Some of you have said that you received compliments in Europe too. I said this because it was a first big difference I’ve noticed visiting America.
People there are usually very communicative and easy to talk to. I live in Slovakia and everyone just minds their own business here.”
3. Tell me about the jerky.
“I was on a night train in Italy from Rome to Venice.
I explained beef jerky and he asked me why we would do that to steak, and I was like blame the cowboys.”
4. Mind the gap.
“I don’t care if someone said it already, I’ll repeat it anyway because it’s so important:
That gap next to the doors in toilet stalls!!! I don’t want eye contact with strangers when doing my thing!”
5. Time to mow the lawn.
“Mowing the lawn.
So, I told my friend in China I had to mow my lawn….she had no idea what it meant. I went on to say …”you know …a lawnmower…it cuts the grass ..” …she looked at me like I was crazy. She didn’t fully understand until I linked her some videos of folks getting their lawn. Perhaps not the MOST American thing but not many ppl there have gardens or yards to maintain so she had never seen or used a lawnmower in her life.
I was thinking damn I had to mow the lawn as part of my chores just about every week growing up.”
6. We think it’s insane, too.
Premiums, deductibles, coinsurance, copays, out of pocket maximums, in-network, etc.
It’s an insane amount of knowledge that you need to have to make a good decision about your health coverage. And no one teaches you any of this sh*t. You have to go and learn it yourself on the Internet.”
7. Totally ridiculous.
“I honestly couldn’t believe people had to worry about calling an ambulance because of the fees.
Like… wtf? Imagine being seriously hurt or sick and hesitating to call an ambulance and having to think about how much it will cost.
Can’t imagine it.”
8. From Sweden…
“From the perspective of a Swede”
Not including tax in price tag
Shoes on inside
9. Doesn’t seem right.
“The fact that there’s no government-mandated maternity/paternity leave?
In Canada, we get 12-18 months so it sounds crazy to me when I hear stories of people giving birth and going back to work in 2 weeks.”
10. Tipping is hard for foreigners.
“I always wondered why in the US it’s obligatory to tip people like you already got your meal in the restaurant for example and you get the check you just leave the amount in the check and leave the place what can they do to stop you from doing that you already got what you requested right? Is it a moral thing ?
Or you will be blacklisted or something like that?”
11. So did I…
“As a French person, I’d say the president swearing on the bible, i thought you guys were a secular country ?”
12. It’s a twister!
The high majority of the world’s tornados happen in the US. Where I live they only happen about once a lifetime.”
13. A lot of time on the road.
“I had a friend from Europe who could not get over the fact that I regularly drive 30+ mins just to go to dinner.
I live in DFW. There are closer things but it isn’t unusual to pick a restaurant across town just to try it.
Really just the amount of driving in general was shocking to them.”
14. Sad, but true.
“That the plot of Breaking Bad was completely plausible.
A public school teacher could face bankruptcy because he got cancer.”
15. All Hallow’s Eve.
“Asked my foreign language classes / students this question once. They all agreed: Halloween
Halloween is a bit more international now but at the time they were like, “So you get dressed up… and go around at night knocking on strangers’ doors… and randomly ask them for shit? Y’all crazy.””
It’s always interesting to try to look at your country from an outsider’s perspective, that’s for sure.
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