American Culture – Some habits we’ve picked up since living in America

American Culture – Some habits we’ve picked up since living in America

We’ve picked up quite a few new habits from living here, and not only a love of the typical American pretzel. Deciding to live in the States really has been the best decision of our lives. Already as a student, I was looking for a way to expand my horizons through internships and work placements. So enjoy this post about American Culture – Some habits we’ve picked up since living in America.

So for the past ten years, we’ve abandoned our typical German lifestyle for this great life in the United States, and though the tames are a-changing thanks to our bullying President, life is still good here. If only he would understand what Europe’s been through the past century!

Many of our German friends were skeptical about how different the American social custom system would be and how quickly we would adapt to that, but from the moment we touched down in this great nation, we knew we would have an eye-opening adventure awaiting us. Here a few lifestyle habits that we’ve picked up since we exchanged Germany for our great American Dream.

Embrace team spirit

When we first arrived in America, we were feeling a typical German reluctance towards the all-around American team spirit and patriotism. But by the end of our first year here, we had already become swept away in our community’s sports team colors and engaging community activities. We were even proudly showing our family in photos of our community barbeque!

Tipping

In America, service staff members make their income mainly through tips, so when you visit a bar or restaurant, leaving a generous tip (their wages, actually) is considered normal practice. Not doing so is seen as hugely disrespectful. Due to this social American custom, when we visit our friends and family in Germany, we are more inclined to leave a few extra euros at the end of our visit.

Preferring comfort over style

In the California heat and humidity, the daily go-to attire is often a somewhat nonchalantly looking Norths (Nike Shorts) in combination with a baggy t-shirt. No problem whatsoever. It became also immediately clear to us that flannel shirts (checked shirts) are also easily accepted and no problem at all at any sort of social occasion. So when you’re in doubt, just flannel out.

Weekends are for travel

With the sheer endless travel opportunities in America that we want to explore, we use (like so many Americans) the weekdays to work hard, and during the weekends, take our car, pack our bags, and take off to another state to tick off our to-visit list. This is quite different from Europe, though there are also many American habits that originated in Germany. Just check out this post.

Get used to driving crazy long hours

When we pack our bags for a weekend trip, we had to really prepare ourselves for some pretty long car journeys. In America, you won’t find the same public transportation resources we were used to in Germany, so here, the people are much more used to driving crazy long hours on their interstate freeways to reach the point where they’ve planned to get to and live their “American Dream”.

Express happiness by saying ‘blessed’

All across America, and perhaps because there are so many religious people, or because in general, Americans love embracing upbeat language much more readily than Germans do, you can hear them express a state of happiness using the word ‘blessed’ so many times. We even noticed a vehicle license plate which read ‘Bless3d’. I noticed that on my visits to Germany, we also used the word on a few occasions.

We plan our social life often around a sports game

Whenever we were not traveling on a weekend, we’d be attending some live sports event or watching sports on TeeVee. Our local football (not soccer!) team plays in a ground that has a capacity that’s almost the same as the Bayer Arena and as our kids get free tickets, we joined them for a much-needed weekly dose of socializing and American football. These moments are considered unmissable social events! See also this article about Language and Food.

Just go with the flow

We learned that assimilating with the Amerian Society is a lot easier if you just go with the flow. Although this, in all likelihood, is saying more about our overall experience for quick integration and assimilation as new individuals in this great country than about typical American social customs, we’ve become real pros at “going with the flow”. Our living abroad experience has had its moments of unpredictability so instead of thinking about wanting to have a good plan for just about everything and every new situation, our favorite phrase has become “Just go with the flow”.


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