After Things about America Kiwis Love, you must have known this was coming. Apologies in advance.
- Tipping. How can visitors ever figure out when, or how much, or who, we’re supposed to tip. It’s a minefield we’re doomed never to understand! Why not just pay people a decent wage and charge a little more?
- Adding tax at the check-out, not on the price-tag.
- Pennies. What do you do with them all?
- All the banknotes look the same. Do people ever make mistakes?
- US spelling. Yes, I know I’ve said this before. But it’s just wrong!
- Wearing green on St Patrick’s Day. It’s an excuse for green beer here and a lot of over-indulgence, but that’s about it. I’m of Irish descent, but never really knew about St Patrick’s Day until I got to university. It is promoted mainly by bars and clubs for obvious reasons. No-one else makes much of a fuss. (Well, except for two dear friends of ours who met on St Patrick’s Day ten years ago).
- The message that “America is the best place in the world. Everyone wants to move here.” (Blame the media, as this is where we hear it. All the time). Umm. Well. Sorry, but no. We don’t. I guess what we really don’t understand is why it is so important to emphasise this all the time? Is the country that insecure? How can it be when it is so large, so powerful, and has George Clooney? (Though I will add that I’d love to live in DC for a year or two).
- The “right” to bear arms. Huh? We really don’t get that. What about the right to safety, the right to live in a society where guns aren’t routinely carried by police or criminals? Where you don’t hear fireworks and automatically think of gunshot?
- The right to free speech, as long as you don’t criticise the USA, the flag, the troops, or God.
- The US political system, and US politics (the two things are different, but equally puzzling).
- Politicised news media. What happened to the idea of the Fourth Estate? (which brings me to …)
- Fox News.
- Donald Trump.
- Donald Trump’s hair.
- The strong role of religion in society/politics/the sheer number of people who identify as religious. We don’t realise this about the US – and even when we do, we don’t understand how it is possible, given the whole “separation of church and state” idea.
- Peanut butter and jelly. Peanut butter and chocolate (way to spoil the chocolate). Oh heck, just peanut butter. (Yes, I know we have Marmite and Vegemite. But this is my blog, and I don’t understand the attraction of peanut butter!)
- Bucket-size cups of filter coffee. Shudder.
- Cheerleaders. My feelings about cheerleaders are worth an entire post on their own. Nope. I don’t understand.
- Baseball caps at the dinner table.
- Why a main course (on a menu) is called an entree when it is not.
- Graduation at many different levels of education. (We only have university graduation ceremonies with cap and gown.)
- How big the US really is. We forget. The scale of it is hard to get our island-bound heads around.
Disclaimer: Forgive my observations and inevitable generalisations – I know that many Americans, including many of my readers, struggle to understand/accept some of these things too.
Note to my Readers: Believe it or not, I self-censored. A lot. And I love you all!