People from Other Countries List What Surprised Them About Coming to the U.S.A.

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With Helpful Commentary From An American, Yours Truly

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That’s quite a list!

First, lets touch on the ones that I, a native of the U.S.A., agree with, or can relate to. Then we’ll get to some corrections and minor disagreements. Lets begin!

Slang

Is slang unique to the U.S.A? That’s news to me! But, I can’t disagree. A product of diversity, poor public education & rich teachers unions, multi-linguistic confusion, terminal hipness, and bad manners.

Jogging

True! Not only does everyone in Boston jog — all 636,479 of them — everyone in America jogs. Every day. Even babies jog. Don’t you? We started in the 1970s, and the fad just never ended! We love it.

Huge serving portions, ice water, baby seats, baby strollers, giant cars, obesity, general safety, wastefulness, etc. 

Check, check, check, agreed, those are things many of us observe, too.

Sensitiveness towards race and religion

Those are two unrelated things, but linked by a common desire to not offend.

Sensitiveness towards Race 

Yes, it’s a touchy issue here. Well-intended people don’t want to offend, so extraordinary caution is the default position. The stakes are high. One could lose their livelihood, social status, apartment, friends, savings account, and library card, if they accidentally say the wrong thing. Especially when a recording device is on.

Additionally, the guilt narrative has been successfully transferred from one generation of innocent people to subsequent generations of innocent people, the actual guilty oppressors being inconveniently long-dead.

To complicate things, not-so-well-intended people sometimes like to indulge in fake outrage, pretending to be offended. Sometimes for self-amusement, other times to practice their grievance theater performance skills, other times to lay the foundation for serious litigation.

But the good news is, these rules only apply to native-born Americans. If you’re a first-generation U.S. citizen, resident alien, or visitor to the U.S., you’re granted honorary immunity. You can say goofy things that would otherwise be heard as loaded with offensive racial meaning, and it’s not taken personally. It’s a free pass. Enjoy it! Just don’t overuse it. They’ll eventually catch on, and make you feel guilty.

Sensitiveness towards Religion

Not so much! We’re quite free to mock religion! So long as it’s Christianity, Christianity, or Christianity. If it’s not one of those three, then we have to check with our cultural advisors first.

Okay, that concludes the agreeable things. Now, let’s get to work. These are things visitors should know!

Tipping

Even if it’s unfamiliar, or peculiar, by your standards, most of us are obligated to know some basic customs of places we visit. And enjoy learning that, as part of the travel experience. It’s elementary travel advice, and basic good manners.

Of course, you can do like many foreign visitors do, and pretend to be ignorant, as a perfect excuse to not tip. It’s worked for millions of our guests. Feel free to use this excuse.  Or, failing that, complain that ‘the math is too hard”, so you can tip less. Also, if you’re tipping the person who cut your hair, you’re getting your haircut at the wrong place.  Read the rest of this entry »