When we think about cultural differences, we often think of language barriers, traditional clothing, and different histories.
But some of the most fascinating cultural differences are embedded in the details of everyday life. Small accessories that are used in some countries but not others, slang-filled turns of phrases, and even decorating styles.
It's fascinating what comes up.
Opinion signs outside their houses. Like 'in this house we support...'. I find it weird and unusual.
This used to be much more prevalent in the US but food coloring. When I moved from Japan to the US, I was surprised at how colorful their foods were.
These days Americans are now more keen to organic natural stuff so I see it less but it took me a while to realize that blue raspberry is not a real thing.
Garbage disposals. Just shove that turkey carcass in the disposal and run some warm water behind it.
Root beer and ranch dressing. I brought some to Germany and had my friends try it and they said the root beer tasted like medicine.
They politely tasted the dressing with celery and said 'hmmm, interesting' but the look on their faces was that it was terrible ha.
ICE. Filled till the brim before you pour any drink.
My sister is visiting the US from Europe and sent me a picture of a small coke and asked 'why is it so big?' I could see old glory flapping in the wind, boys.
24-hour stores. I was in Chicago working with a colleague from Switzerland who suddenly realized around midnight that he needed a network cable to configure a mobile router for a job the next morning.
I told him that I'd meet him in the hotel lobby to drive him out to Walmart. He was happily surprised, as he had forgotten about the US's famous chain of Walmart stores.
Biscuits and gravy.
College sports. Particularly football and basketball. The rest of the world loves soccer, but nobody gives a hoot about it at the university level.
MM-DD-YYYY Date format 😅
I just finished my Masters in handicap discrimination and holy sh*t for once the US completely flat-out beats Scandinavia on a human rights issue. We are so far behind the US and our legislation is pretty much trying to be what the US did decades ago.
Bankruptcy laws. It's a major reason why America has historically had some of the highest rates of small business growth and entrepreneurship.
America is one of the most forgiving countries when it comes to personal and corporate bankruptcy (student loans notwithstanding).
Comparatively, European countries are much more pro-creditor which severely hampers any sort of investment that's even somewhat risky.
Driving everywhere. Anywhere you go, you go in a car. But I suspect for many, other options are so rare they don't think about them even if they do exist.
Free soda refills at dine-in places.
God d*mn delis. At least out of all the places I’ve traveled to the US by far has the best delis. I don’t know if I can live somewhere without a great Jewish or Italian deli.