Category Archives: Strange USA

In this category you will find short posts on this I find strange about the USA

Mirrors

When we moved in 2014 from a house to an apartment, it came with the necessary difficulties (to put it lightly). After all, it’s not easy to put all the things that fit inside house, into an apartment.

But the apartment came with one major benefit: an elevator.Well, it wasn’t really the elevator that mattered to me, but the mirror that came with the elevator. Normally they put mirrors in elevator to make them seem bigger, so people don’t feel too trapped, but even though I don’t feel trapped quickly, I was grateful for them. Before I went somewhere, I could check quickly if my hair looked okay, there was no food around my mouth lipstick on my teeth and I looked halfway decent.

I don’t take the elevator as much in Boston as I did back in Belgium, and maybe that’s why, but every time I take the elevator here, I unconsciously look for the mirror. only to realize there isn’t any. Maybe it’s because the elevators, much like everything else here in the USA, are bigger than in Belgium, or because Americans don’t feel trapped as much as Belgians. I’ll never know for sure, but I still have to adjust every time I step onto an elevator here.

America, it’s a strange country.

 

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Liability issues

They say the USA is a “sue-happy” country, and having lived here for a couple of months, I tend to agree with that statement. It’s not that I have proof or anything, but whenever I go out for dinner with friends or grab a quick lunch after work, my attention is always drawn to that one line you can find on every. single. (food) menu.

“Consuming raw or undercooked foods such as meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, and eggs may increase your risk of food borne illness.”

All of this is done so the restaurant/chef/waiter cannot be held liable just in case someone does order a steak rare and gets sick. This way the customer is at fault when they get salmonella, food poisoning or some other food borne illness, as Americans call it.

Or that time when it started freezing and I was texting with my mom and she told me: “Well, if you slip and break something, you can always sue them.”
And I just knew that this has happened before, but I also think sued homeowners have started sueing the city because every person on my street got a bag of salt delivered right before the snow it, just to make sure everyone had the means of keeping the sidewalk in front of their house free of snow and ice and thus no longer a liability issue.

All of these liability issues, I’m always going to find them funny and bizarre at the same time.

The USA, it’s a strange country.

Eating with a fork

I’ve been in the States for about five months, and something strange that I noticed Saturday yet again is that people here usually eat with just a fork and put their other hand in their lap (most of the time the left one, unless you’re left-handed obviously). In Belgium this is considered extremely rude, whereas here in the US it’s strange and even impolite if you use both fork and knife while eating. It’s gonna take a while before I eat with only a fork , even in the comfort of my “own” home I still use fork and knife. How else can you get that last bit of food on your plate? (Unless you have a special tool to push your food on your fork, but so far I haven’t met anyone in Belgium, apart from my mother’s side of the family who knows what I’m talking about, let alone here)

The USA, it’s a strange country.

Wooden houses

I finally have some spare time to write a short post about another oddity that is very American (I think). Every day I walk twenty minutes from home to the train station (and vice versa) and everywhere I see wooden houses. See for yourself:

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I know the quality of the pictures is not great, but I think I get my point across. Also typical to the houses in America is the steps that lead up to the front door. Take note that I am talking about houses that are not in big cities, I don’t think I’ll find a wooden house any time soon in Boston. Anyway, so far my post!
The USA, it’s a strange country.

Potatoes and cheese curds

If you had told me a couple of weeks ago that cooking potatoes in the microwave was not only possible but common practice in the States, I wouldn’t have believed you. But this is actually the case in most American households. It still baffles me that a country with so many topchefs and cooking shows can have such strange culinary habits. Not only do they cook potatoes in the microwave, in Wisconsin I got to taste something called “cheese curds”. Wisconsin is the dairy state, so cheese curds are very popular over there. The first time I tried cheese curds it reminded me of fried mozzarella sticks, and that is basically what it is. For those who want to know more about cheese curds, check out this website: http://www.eatcurds.com/
I could probably write a lot more about strange American eating habits, but for now I’m gonna stick to these two.
America, what a strange country!

Taxes

The one thing I was confronted with as soon as I got to the States was that all the prices listed do not include taxes. There I was in a shop with a $5 bill ready to pay for my $4.99 sandwich, when all of a sudden $5 was not enough and I had to hastily search my wallet for more money. And then I got to Pennsylvania and I heard that some states, such as Delaware, don’t have the usual sales tax… The USA, it’s a strange country!