Here are the observations she's made of us Americans, and has made me noticeably more aware of myself, over the past two weeks:
- "How are you?" is a greeting and not a question. The majority of Americans don't care to hear the answer, hence why we just answer "Good, and you?"
- We wear flip flops everywhere. Those Europeans like their close-toed shoes.
- Boys like to wear their socks half way up their calves. This is a question I ask myself too: Why?
- With a lack of sidewalks, it's hard to walk anywhere. Now of course this depends on where Americans live geographically, but even here in the suburbs, there aren't sidewalks outside of our development.
- Food tastes creamier and fatter. We also witnessed a man eating his french fries with mayo and even I thought that was repulsive.
- We don't need to shift our cars. Coming from Europe where nearly every car is manual, this poor girl listens to the gears in the car and it hurts her to not be able to reach over and shift my car manually. Though I'm glad she hasn't tried.
- Our prices don't include the tax. So the price you see is different than the price you pay at the register.
- We like to sing our National Anthem at sporting events. We also just really like to display our American pride whenever possible.
- There's a lot of water in our toilet bowls. Is this an actual fact?
- There are a lot of commercial breaks on TV. Specifically ones that advertise prescription drugs.
- We use a lot of ice in our beverages. Everything is colder here, except for the weather which she's still trying to adjust to.
- Our portions of food are huge. Yeah.
- There are large gaps in the doors in public restrooms. What is with that anyway?
- We can take restaurant food home with us in a box. Thanks Olive Garden for that observation.
- There's an obvious difference between our social classes. Sadly true.
My favorite thing about this experience so far is how much I'm learning. I'm learning about her, the Swedish culture, and life beyond what is "normal" to me.
I hope a lot of you are willing to keep reading about our experiences and learning with us throughout the next several months. The best thing about my exchange student is how willing she is to share what's "normal" to her, and how open she is to seeing what's "normal" to us.
Oh, and just wait until I tell you about how much the Swedes love their salt.
Next week's blog post: The alarming concerns over the Swedish salt-consumpation rates.