General Question

America's avatar

Does anyone remember their first day here in the US, what was the first thing that was difficult to understand?

Asked by America (46 points ) April 21st, 2014

Cultural details

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20 Answers

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JLeslie's avatar

My husband tells a story of seeing a sign that said “littering $100 fine.” He thought it really odd that it was ok to litter.

Do you mean first time in US, even on vacation? Or, first time when someone immigrated here?

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
downtide's avatar

I went to the US for a 2-week vacation and the first thing that surprised me was just how much food is on the plate when you order in a restaurant. And that nobody bats an eyelid when you ask for the leftovers to be boxed up to take home. I swear, one restaurant dinner fed us for three meals. The next thing that shocked me was how cheap gas is over there. About 1/6 of what we pay in the UK.

talljasperman's avatar

Not to drink the water, and to have coffee or cola without ice cubes.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

@talljasperman What? Who said to not drink the water? And who drinks cola without ice? Are you sure you aren’t thinking of Mexico?

No comment on the coffee without ice cubes, although iced coffees are becoming more popular here. It’s pretty good, but doesn’t replace my morning cup of Joe.

talljasperman's avatar

@Skaggfacemutt The water tasted funny and I saw that my driving partners were avoiding unboiled water I thought I could avoid the funny tasting water so I ordered a cola drink and unfortunately the waitress put in contaminated ice cubes. I was in North Dakota and The lack of clean and clear water turned me off from spending any more time on vacation everywhere anymore. I stay where the water is clean. Edit I made a grammatical error I don’t put ice cubes in coffee.

linguaphile's avatar

I’ve lived in America/US my whole life and nothing, I mean nothing, prepared me for the cultural shock I got when I moved to Minnesota. My first year was a cultural hell.

If I had moved to another country and had been expecting a different culture, that would be one thing, but to move somewhere not expecting to act any differently, then slowly realizing you’re in a place made up of cultural smoke and mirrors… that was difficult. It wasn’t a good fit, and I eventually moved out.

I’ve lived in 8 US states and each has its own flavor.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

@talljasperman I still don’t get it. We have clean, clear water. We aren’t Mexico, or Egypt. Boil the water, in the United States? Are you kidding? What, do you think we have – bacteria, tapeworm?

I have been to Indiana, Illinois, Florida, Colorado, Nevada, California, New Mexico, Montana, Wisconsin (just to name a few) and see nothing wrong with the water. Where do you live?

talljasperman's avatar

@Skaggfacemutt Red Deer Alberta, Canada… The water is much better in Edmonton, but Red Deer still has super clean water.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I lived in Prince George and Nanaimo, and the water was pretty okay. I guess to me, water is water. But you certainly don’t need to boil the water in the U.S.A. That is ridiculous, unless you are drinking well water.

talljasperman's avatar

@Skaggfacemutt It was in 1995 in Grand Forks North Dakota ... the water must be better by now.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I haven’t been to North Dakota since 1968, but the water seemed okay to me. I think they have mountain run-off water, like most of the mountain states, so it should be wonderful.

jaytkay's avatar

Natural gas production is linked to polluted well water (bad enough to be flammable) and North Dakota is a center of natural gas production.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

I’ve only been to the US when transiting through, and never left the airports. I was aware of most cultural details thanks to TV/movies, and the rampant Americanisation of my own country’s culture. However it was a different thing being there; experiencing the over the top security; talking to the rude, arrogant security personnel; and trying to remember to tip the people at the airport food outlets. Flying over US cities was a revelation too. I live in the largest city in my country, but LA in particular dwarfs anything here. The sheer size of the place really shocked me.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Wow, @jaytkay ! Really? Does it only affect well water? Are their city water supplies okay? Personally, I wouldn’t drink well water, ever. No telling what is in it.

downtide's avatar

Where I live in Manchester has super tapwater. When I stayed in New York, the city water there was just as good if not better. Wasn’t so tasty in West Virginia though.

JLeslie's avatar

NY has some of the best water in the country. It wins competitions all the time, even up against spring water. Parts of the US the water is awful. Here in FL is some of the worst. Worst tasting, it is still safe for drinking.

I am shocked by the food portion sizes in America and I was born and raised here.

cazzie's avatar

When I go back and visit now, I am always weirded out by how flat it is where I grew up. Of course I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but spending 15 years in New Zealand and now 13 years in Norway, it looks really odd to not see any mountains or hills in the distance. The heat is always a shocker for me now because I’m not used to it and trying to find actual food at the grocery store is a bigger challenge than I’d like. So much junk to sort through, but I go wild in the produce section, it is so cheap compared to what I’m used to! Weren’t we just talking about eating a whole cantaloupe in one sitting? Yes, please.

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