Living in Italy for almost three years has made me forget how certain things are done in the States. On a recent month trip to Seattle and Hawaii I noticed some things that struck me as odd, things that were once a normalcy.
Culture Shock in America
Dryers do exist
I’ve been hang drying my clothes for the past two and a half years, so a dryer feels like a total luxury. I forgot that laundry doors never seem to stay open, causing much irritation when trying to load and unload it. After using dryers in the U.S. I’m now stuck with a shirt that shrunk above my bellybutton and jeans that are so tight I need to grease my legs first before I attempt to wear them again.
America loves Mexican food
Mexican food in Florence is non-existent aside from the poor quality restaurant Tijuana, which is only decent at making salsa and a classic margarita. Other than that it’s awful, so no one even thinks to eat Mexican let alone share their love for it. Hawaii serves fish tacos everywhere…now I know just because you throw fresh mahi and avocado into a round thing made of corn doesn’t mean it’s Mexican food, but it’s as close to Mexican as I get in Italy, so I’ll take it!
Waiters can be annoying
I love to take my time at restaurants in Florence and not be asked every five minutes if everything is ok. I was at a place recently where I jokingly told my friend that I’m going to leave if the waitress asks me the same question one more time. It was irritating to have a bouncing pony tail swing around my table more often than necessary.
Stores stay open
No matter how long I stay while I’m back in the States—usually a month at a time—I still have this shocked look on my face when I realize that no one closes for lunch. Oh, America, you’re so good to me!
Every Spritz you order in Italy opens your world up to a dish or two of some snack—or meal depending on how you abuse aperitivo hour. In the States, you’re lucky if you get a communal bowl of peanuts. I prefer Italy’s happy hour version with a full spread of healthy options or mini panini served by the bartender, how ’bout you?
What cultural norms are now odd to you after traveling or living abroad?
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