As I mentioned on my My first big trip post, going to America was one of the most memorable experiences I have ever had. I had the chance to live the American culture and experience their day-to-day lifestyle.
If you are from Europe or North America you might find the things I’ll mention here a bit odd, but as surprising as it may sound, living elsewhere in the world may be a totally different life experience.
One of the first things I noticed that was so different from where I come from was the fact that in the city buses the driver is responsible for collecting your bus fare. Most people have a Transit card that they either tap on or insert in a machine to have the bus fare paid, electronically. I know it may sound crazy but in my home country, we did not have that until like five years ago. And even so, we still have someone in the bus to collect the fare paid by cash and give bus riders change. I know those people need their jobs but it was very interesting seeing how Americans automated every step they could and used technology everywhere. I was really amazed by the American life.
It was all about the details. For example, even the bus doors are different. Here the driver has to do a billion things other than driving, AND open the bus door so passengers can get off. In America however, all you have to do is simply touch the door when at your stop or just give a little push and there is a sensor above the door that will open it for you. So to me, that was amazing eight years ago just as it is today.
The second thing that I was the most amazing by while in America was accessibility. Most subway stations were accessible. And every store and sidewalks were accessible too. I was so proud for them to see how people who really need accessibility could be independent and go everywhere without depending anyone’s help. I was happy for them but I was so angry whenever I thought about how things are in my own country because it’s just not fair not to have accessibility. It should be mandatory for everyone to have the right to go everywhere, no matter the person’s physical condition.
Thirdly, out of the subject of infrastructure, one of the things I believe to be very typical is the American food. The restaurants’ menus are all about pizza, salads, burgers, and soups. And their main meal is dinner and for lunch, Americans are likely to simply have a sandwich, which in my country is the opposite.
Lastly, I couldn’t finish up without mentioning how polite American people are. I have heard some people saying Americans are not very affectionate but to me, I don’t think so. It’s just how they are. Being different doesn’t mean being worse or better at something. Just because other people are very close to their family to the point where moving to a different city or country may sound impossible for some of them, doesn’t mean that it has to be like this to everyone out there. But at the same time if being close to your family is something that works for you? That’s great.
I think it’s more of a matter of accepting differences and respecting them. I do understand the differences between Americans and people from other cultures. I understand, I respect. Therefore I try not to make expectations or comparisons to other cultures. This makes meeting new people much easier when abroad. And from my experience, I can say that Americans are yes affectionate, and very much polite. When I was in the US people used to hold the door for me. On the streets, they would always smile and say hi. Except in downtown, of course, where the stress of a busy work life takes over. But in residential areas, this was work-life behavior. And I loved it!
When it comes to saying what I love about America the list goes on and on. But I’ve written a full, detailed post on my Au Pair experience for The Lifestyle Hunter blog, where I tell everything about it, the ups and downs, how to apply, what to expect, the advantages and disadvantages of being an Au Pair.
Thanks for your time guys. And you, what did you find most interesting about when abroad?
PS: Guys, English isn’t my first language, so feel free to correct me.