By Snezana Stojilkovic; Chicago, Illinois
“How are you?”
It’s meaningless, just get used to it! And two years later, I still want to answer honestly when someone ask me: “How are you?”. I do want to say if I am great, sad, exited, tired, angry or just happy. I don’t like to pretend and always answer: “Good, how are you?” And then keep minding my business. If I do ask you that, than I would patiently listen to what you have to say. I’ll make it personal. Otherwise, I’ll skip the question, even risking to look rude.
Friendship and family ties are way too….
Yes, I saw in the movies that families gather once a year, either for a Thanksgiving or a Christmas, and the family members are not close at all, even if they live together, but I never believed that. Now, I DO! And I understand why: kids are being taught to be independent from the early age. Plus, American nation is extremely mobile. The country itself is huge, and people move all the time from state to state, looking for a better job, for a college, marriage or an adventure. Imagine that you leave in the East coast, and your family on the West. It takes time and money to visit them. So, once/twice a year is enough and manageable. My country is very small, visiting anyone is pretty simple. On top of that, we grew up with the very strong sense of family importance. Look at this: Americans call their uncles kids cousins and relatives, we call them: brothers and sisters!
“Go To Café” or “To Go Coffee”?
There is no such a thing where I come from about to-go coffee. You go out with your friends, never alone, take a seat and have a cup of coffee while you are at the coffee shop (we have a special name for that – kafic). Or you invite your friends over and make delicious Turkish coffee and spend great time gossiping. It is a ritual! The best confessions I made while I was drinking that magic beverage with my best friends. And trust me, that’s how Serbians start their day: they make coffee first, then do everything else.
How “big” is the problem?
The biggest size for T-shirts in my country is XXL. Here you can find even 5XL!
I understand that the unhealthy life style leads towards obesity, the low quality of food, as well as low incomes. It is true that healthy food (fruit and vegetables) is more expensive than junk food, and the food in the USA is full of sugar! Sugar is EVERYWHERE! If you don’t believe me, just read the labels.
If we are already talking about food, I have to mention how big the portions are in restaurants! Trust me, no matter how hungry I am, I can never finish the whole thing. But, the very good thing is that “to go boxes” are available so you can take your food home and finish it later.
Another thing that strikes me is the way people eat salads here. In Serbia, we eat salads with oil and vinegar. We do not really have a dressing. Here… Well, take a look at this picture.
Patriotism and Commercials Don’t Go Together
Patriotism – if that’s you are calling when you have flags EVERYWHERE, than I guess Americans are extremely patriotic nation. And when I say everywhere, I literally mean it: buildings, stores, house yard’s, schools, clothes…
Don’t get me wrong, but I would never be able to understand how Americans have turned one of the most important thing that defines one nation into such a commercial item. In my mind, this just don’t go together.
A Three Digit Number Can Make Your Life Difficult
Yes, I am talking about credit score. Depending on your credit score, which can go from 300 up to 900, you might not be able to find a good apartment for a living, get a loan from the bank if you want to buy a new car (or used one), to buy a phone and sigh a contract for two years with the mobile company or even get a job! Credit score is just like reputation – it follows you wherever you go and actually shows your relationship with money and banks. It takes quite some time to recover after ruining a credit score. Just like I said in some of my previous posts: be wise when spend your money!
And in the end, a couple of things that don’t require explanation:
– Free refills of soda
– Enormous amount of food being wasted in restaurants, while hundreds of people are starving on the streets
– The coffee is not strong enough. Not even close.
– Have a nice day
– American’s distorted perceptions of other countries
– Don’t get sick if you don’t have a health insurance. In other words: get one ASAP.
– Don’t criticize American foreign policy
– Biased media
– Non-affordable education
– Junk mail: special offers from the banks, money lenders, stores, insurance agents… I have only two words: poor trees.
The America that International Students Can’t Learn from Movies (Part I)