Living in another country can be tricky. And while we adjust in so many ways, there may also be those little things we never quite understand, or "get."
I recently started listing those moments that always cause my husband to throw his hands in the air and ask, "What is going on?" It's amusing to see your own culture through someone else's lens.
Here are a few quirks that stand out in my memory:
#1 - Wet Wall Art
Spaghetti is a go-to easy meal. For as long as I can remember, I have always tested to see if the noodles were cooked by tossing one onto the wall. If it sticks, we're good to go! (You can see a video we made here.)
Billy was stunned when he first saw me do this. Now, I also usually forget to take it down, which he also finds problematic, but hello... the spaghetti is ready!
This one, though, I'm curious about... is this really a common cooking trick in the U.S.? Or is this "weird Sarah"? Seriously, does anyone else do this?
#2 - Acronyms
The U.S. loves acronyms. I mean... we are the U.S.A. after all. It's in our DNA. Just this week, multiple people happened to mention ITP and OTP, which is basically an Atlanta-specific rivalry between the entire metro area.
But I never realized how often we use acronyms until Billy started laughing and constantly questioning. What is POTUS? What is FYI? What is ASAP? Even still, he thinks they make more sense in an email than when people are talking. Mostly, I just crack up now every time I hear one.
#3 - Needing a License
When we were dating, Billy was shocked to discover I've never been water skiing. "I'll take you," he assured me. "I know how to drive a boat."
"Umm... do you have a license for that?" I asked.
"What?" he was astounded. "I'm telling you. I know how to drive a boat."
"Yep. That's not going to cut it."
The U.S. is a heavily documented society. And I see some of the value in that setup. But Guatemala... not so much. So Billy is still getting used to the ideas of everything needing an official license.
#4 - Doggie Bags
No, I'm not talking about taking home restaurant leftovers. I'm talking about the first time Billy saw someone collect their dog's waste in a plastic baggie, and he nearly flipped out.
But living in the city, dog poop picker-uppery is pretty much the social norm. And I will say, after living in Buenos Aires, where people don't really do that, I see the benefit. But I also understand (and relate to) the disgust.
#5 - The Social Calendar
"Would you like to have dinner with us in two weeks?" I don't know if Billy will ever fully come around to the scheduling of advance social engagements. His philosophy is pretty much if they want to have dinner, why don't they stop by tonight?
I will admit his perspective sometimes gives me tiny heart palpitations, though they have significantly diminished over our marriage. But he has really taught me about the beauty of spontaneous, comfortable friendship. Even if it means showing up at a party to which we did not receive an invitation. (Just remembering that makes me start to sweat.)
As life has gotten busier with kids and jobs and dentist appointments, we have moved more towards scheduling get-togethers. And I even got Billy sharing a Google calendar with me to improve our quality of life. So I think we've met somewhere in the middle on this one.
So those are a few quirks of U.S. culture that make us giggle. Can you relate to any of these? Do you have any to add?