I’ve been living in this great country now for several years and let me tell you here a few things you need to know about the American culture. Here are some of my experiences.
Life in this new country is fun and exciting but usually requires quite a lot of adjustments. Often you will find yourself wondering “What does a certain phrase mean?” or “Why do Americans do certain things?” Mostly, you’ll be wondering about American habits. Let’s take a look at some of the most common things that surprid]se us most when it comes to American culture and the things Americans do.
In America, everything is big, bigger, and great. They think big. Even their Ancestors were great and did great things. Just take a look at Mount Rushmore. Where residents of other countries often are thinking practically, compactly, or quickly, are Americans usually doing things rather large, big, and luxuriously.
You should not be surprised to see big, huge trucks and massive all-terrain vehicles driving around parking spaces. Americans love their freedom and space and that can be found all around! Thinking big and large can also be seen in American food. Most of the restaurants serve very large portions and it is not uncommon for Americans to order a good meal and later take the leftovers home in a “doggie bag”. I guess this is not caused by German influence in America.
Some restaurants also serve starters that are meant to be shared. If you are going out for dinner in America and you are not sure of the portion size, you better ask your server what they recommend so you won’t get surprised. There is, however, a pretty large counter-movement going on against that “bigger is better” mentality. Many younger enthusiastic and contemporary city folks are looking to get more environmentally-friendly cars, search for honest food at the local market, and care about a healthier lifestyle. These people are also trying to get their waste production down and reduce their energy consumption as much as possible.
The Food “To Go” Concept
Most Americans are always on the move. It seems that they are racing from one appointment to another, commuting to and from work, picking up their kids from school, They always seem to be on the move to or from a business meeting or some social gettogether. Because Americans are continuously “on the move”, they usually have no time to sit down for a formal dinner. A regularly hears expression is “24 hours in a day is not enough!” And that’s the way it is for so many Americans…Read also the post “Germans in America – Language and Food”
You might be surprised to see how Americans walk around with their coffee mugs or soft drink or packed food. You often see people on the street with a slice of pizza, especially in New York City, or with a cappuccino in their hand while standing in line at the bank. You will see drive-thru restaurants everywhere and all across the country, there are plenty of fast-food restaurants. There are studies that indicate that some 20 percent of all American meals are eaten in the car. Many Americans have simply not enough time to sit in a restaurant or enjoy a cup of coffee in a café. They just don’t seem to have a few minutes to relax and enjoy a little bite to eat don’t be surprised to hear all the time that they order their food and drinks “to go”. I’ve been living here now quite a few years and it’s really been 18 years of Blood, Sweat, and Beers.
Americans eat out not only for reasons of time and convenience but also because it is so much fun! The United States is a huge melting pot of different cultures, so the availability of tasty meals is practically infinite. Eating out lets Americans get acquainted with a range of new cuisines, dishes, and endless varieties. Even in small American cities, you can get pizza, Chinese, Japanese and Mexican food and in the larger cities you will find numerous restaurants dedicated to the cuisines from countries like Ethiopia, Brazil, or Afghanistan. Keep in mind that the habits of people are always subject to change. Some people rarely eat out but it is not uncommon for Americans to eat out several times a week. Some bring their lunch from home, but most Americans go to a take-out restaurant for lunch or eat out for lunch every day.