I've lived here for a while now and have assimilated pretty well (I think)! I say yard instead of garden, trunk instead of boot, soccer instead of football and I even pronounce tomato and garage the American way. Mostly, anyway. It's easy to do so when everybody else is speaking like this, but some things just aren't quite so easy. Let's start with the positives though, there are a lot of things here that HAVE been very easy to get used to indeed :)
GETTING YOUR GROCERIES BAGGED FOR YOU
I LOVE THIS!! In fact, I'm so used to it that when I do go grocery shopping at home now, I'm standing looking around me, not realizing that my groceries are piling up at the end of the belt with nobody to bag them. Cue red face and mad scramble to throw said groceries in bags as quickly as possible. Then get charged for each bag. Not so over here, either the lovely checkout person or a bag packer packs your bags for you and sometimes even offers to take the bags (which are free) out to your car. Just call me Princess :)
HUGE WASHING MACHINES & DRYERS
Doing laundry over here is serious business and is actually quite pleasant! Our machines are MASSIVE and economical and are mostly housed in a laundry room of their own. At home, our machines are significantly smaller and are sometimes in the kitchen or outside in the cold garage. I understand how a lot of my American friends struggle with this in the UK now I'm used to my lovely laundry room over here :)
THE DRIVE THRU
I'm not just talking Fast Food Drive Thru's either. When you have 3 young children, convenience is everything. Sick kid? Go to the Drive Thru Pharmacy to pick up their medicine instead of having to drag them inside and sit and wait! Drive Thru ATM's - fabulous! Drive Thru Dry Cleaning? Okay, sometimes it is nice to get off your lazy ass and actually go inside, but more often than not, convenience rules.
Goes without saying. Crazy price difference between the UK and the
USA. For the better over here obviously :) It's almost twice as
expensive to fill up your car over there!
I'm not a fan of bugs and insects, but nothing beats sitting in your back yard watching fireflies on a warm summer night. Such a beautiful sight, every yard everywhere should have some!
I CANNOT, however, get used to the following things. Please excuse my tendency to over-dramatize :)
Back home, we have these lovely, orderly
traffic lights sitting on the side of the road or mounted on sturdy
poles. Easy to see, always in the same place. Over here however, the
lights hang precariously over the road, dangling from a cable! I still
get freaked out when it's windy and I have to drive underneath these
lights, blowing around all over the place!
In the UK, it's easy to buy bedding. We mostly have cotton sheets & pillowcases with quilts or duvets on our beds. Everywhere sells bedding and quilt/duvet covers, you can get decent bedding at your local Tesco. It's pretty cheap, there is a huge assortment of colors and styles and the standard sizes: Single, Double, Queen, King. Over here? Forget it! Even a huge place like Bed Bath and Beyond has a sad collection of duvet covers. They're usually designer, ridiculously expensive, made of horrid material (shiny, scratchy) and just plain old ugly! Hardly any nice 100% cotton stuff to be found at all! You can buy limitless beds in bags however, which is great if you don't care about the scratchiness of the polyester type material against your skin. These are monstrous. I've bought a few in the past thinking they couldn't all be bad. But they are I say, they're horrid! The sizes are different too. Over here, we have Twin, Full, Queen, King and the bizarrely named California King. California King? What the heck?!
Now I know this is a Tennessee thing, but I live here and I find it difficult to get used to. I go to the supermarket to get the weekly groceries. I can pick up some beer while I'm there, but if I want wine, I have to make a separate visit to the Liquor Store because supermarkets are not allowed to sell the evil grape. Children aren't allowed inside Liquor Stores. I discovered this after a stressful day, in the rain when I made the mistake of trying to nip quickly in to the Liquor Store with my children to pick up a bottle of wine. Could you imagine if the poor children were to witness their parents buying a bottle of wine? Shocking!!! Grrrrr.... Yes,I did feel like a criminal. Nor can we buy wine on Sundays. Anywhere. I enjoy the occasional glass of wine throughout the week. Why can I not just pick it up at the supermarket with everything else?!
Again, this might just be a Tennessee thing, but sometimes I can drive by up to 10 panhandlers in a day by just going to the gym and the store. They come right up to your car window with their signs explaining why they need your money. It's horrible and makes me really uncomfortable. Of course I feel bad for the genuine people who are truly down on their luck but some of them are downright threatening. You're sitting waiting for the dangling traffic light to change to green and hoping it doesn't fall on top of you. You're stuck with nowhere to go and the panhandler is glaring at you for trying to look in the opposite direction. Can't get used to this at all.
PUPPIES BEING SOLD FROM SOMEONE'S TRUCK IN THE WALMART PARKING LOT
Self explanatory. If you buy a puppy from some guy's truck in the Walmart parking lot, you need your head checked. Harsh but true :)
Unless you are a math whiz and can calculate percentages off the top of your head, you have no idea how much something actually costs over here. There is a price tag on everything, but when you pay for the item, sales tax is added on so it's always more than you think! Sneaky huh?! I know, on the flip side we pay more taxes in the UK, but it's so nice to buy something and know exactly how much you're going to pay for it at the checkout!
Yes, at the end of the day, most of these are pretty trivial and I hope they gave you a giggle, but they're different from what I'm used to so please don't judge :) Time to go see a bloke about a puppy at Walmart...