What "shocks" foreign immigrants about the US

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Posted 11/15/2013 by benem in NSBR Board
 

benem
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Posted: 11/15/2013 10:13:29 AM
I thought this was really interesting!

Like our food is "infantile"


Infantile ... food (and I'm not talking about the fast food). No bones, no spines, hardly ever find an entire fish, it's mostly filets, very little diversity (little lamb, or duck, hardly ever rabbit, and for fish it's almost always tuna, salmon, haddock and bass), seedless everything. A lot of things (not desserts) are sweetened, like honey smoked, glazed, etc. Even desserts sometimes look like 5-y.o. were left alone in the kitchen: cookie dough ice cream, oreo cheese cake..

ginacivey
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Posted: 11/15/2013 10:14:47 AM
good timing for me
a friend has finally been permitted to bring his thai wife to the US
and i do wonder what she thinks of us!
gina

PinkShirley
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Posted: 11/15/2013 10:26:31 AM
Without reading the article I was going to say "overwhelming choices" in EVERYTHING - clothes, food, restaurants, entertainment, etc.

The way we rush, rush, rush to everything.

Chain stores.

Basically, our high level of consumption of throw-away products.

LeaP
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Posted: 11/15/2013 10:30:49 AM
Thanks for the site, I am going to share it with my daughters. They are sick of me telling them that I am from the "old country" and that is why I feed them weird stuff.

Dalai Mama
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Posted: 11/15/2013 10:40:16 AM

Turkeys. They’re huge, and must be a chicken-y explosion of wonder. Actually, no.


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jemali
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Posted: 11/15/2013 10:45:50 AM
I remember one time at our church we had a visitor from Africa. He was overwhelmed by the grocery store. He said there was more food there than in his whole country.


Jean





lioness-rampant
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Posted: 11/15/2013 10:50:51 AM

Online money transfer between bank is done via cheque – In USA (at least in PA), whenever I want to transfer money to someone, the bank will issue a cheque and post it to the address of the cheque recipient. The recipient will then cash in the cheque. This procedure will take few days normally and applies even to customers who transfer money to another customers within the same bank.


Really? you can't just go to online banking, click 'pay to' fill in an amount and sort code/ account number and see it in that person's account the next day?! If I do that within my own bank (like SO has an account at the same bank- different branch, same chain) it's instantly in his account.

SDeven
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Posted: 11/15/2013 10:55:10 AM
I've friends who are visiting from Kenya. They are overwhelmed at the abundance of food selection at Publix.

And how many pairs of shoes my children have.

It was incredubly humbling to share this part of our normal with them.






benem
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Posted: 11/15/2013 10:55:16 AM
I don't want to eat bunnies and duckies!!

myshelly
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Posted: 11/15/2013 11:02:18 AM
That was really interesting - thanks for posting it!


benem
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Posted: 11/15/2013 11:07:03 AM

whenever I want to transfer money to someone, the bank will issue a cheque and post it to the address of the cheque recipient. The recipient will then cash in the cheque. This procedure will take few days normally and applies even to customers who transfer money to another customers within the same bank.


That's how it works with my bank, unless I want to pay a fee for a wire transfer.

rainydaypea
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Posted: 11/15/2013 11:13:07 AM
Lamb, duck, and rabbit are all pretty expensive compared to beef and chicken.

I'd love lamb, but the price of a rack of lamb keeps me from wanting to purchase it very often.


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lioness-rampant
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Posted: 11/15/2013 11:13:39 AM

That's how it works with my bank, unless I want to pay a fee for a wire transfer.


So, maybe just a weird thing with her account then? That would drive me crazy!

melanell
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Posted: 11/15/2013 11:17:55 AM
I have heard many of those things said about the US & Americans before, and I agree with a great many of them.


It's always interesting to me to hear what others think about us.

TFS.



scrappower
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Posted: 11/15/2013 11:18:08 AM

Lamb, duck, and rabbit are all pretty expensive compared to beef and chicken.

I'd love lamb, but the price of a rack of lamb keeps me from wanting to purchase it very often.


Rack of lamb is pricey, but it is an expensive cut. You can get lamb shanks, shoulder chops, leg of lamb and other cuts usually much cheaper than beef though. They are great. We can get farm raised rabbit here too cheaper than beef. Too many people overlook these as valid protein forms. They aren't hard to prepare and usually have a ton more flavor than chicken and beef.



busypea
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Posted: 11/15/2013 11:19:00 AM

Online money transfer between bank is done via cheque – In USA (at least in PA), whenever I want to transfer money to someone, the bank will issue a cheque and post it to the address of the cheque recipient. The recipient will then cash in the cheque. This procedure will take few days normally and applies even to customers who transfer money to another customers within the same bank.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Really? you can't just go to online banking, click 'pay to' fill in an amount and sort code/ account number and see it in that person's account the next day?! If I do that within my own bank (like SO has an account at the same bank- different branch, same chain) it's instantly in his account.

It depends on the banks - both the sending and receiving banks.

I work for, and bank with, a major national bank. I can transfer funds to other accounts (on which I'm not a signer) at the same bank and they will post overnight. Likewise to accounts at other big banks. But to smaller banks and/or credit unions - generally not. They just are not equipped to receive payments that way.

Susie_Homemaker
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Posted: 11/15/2013 11:21:32 AM

It really is a diverse place, much more so than many foreigners really understand. A country that can produce both Snoop Dogg and Westboro Baptist Church is like no other place (seriously!).

I loved reading that. I love to see our country from others point of view. It helps me open my mind and my eyes.




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Posted: 11/15/2013 11:21:37 AM
There are many answers on that site that resonate with our experience of living in America You think you know how things will be, as it's just like the TV and movies, right? Well, we all speak the same language, right? WRONG

My DD was convinced that going to school here was going to be like High School Musical... And that everyone wore cheerleaders uniform to school every day Mind you, she has found some parts to be true - especially as she is involved in the Chorus programme. It can get a bit Glee every now and again

What hit me was the size of everything. Cars, houses, shops, highways, Malls... I still get overwhelmed going into SuperTarget And I cannot just "nip" anywhere - ie a quick visit to a shop to pick up something or run a quick errand. I have been known to spend an hour in Walmart looking for 1 item

And I am quite adamant with the kids that we speak English at home They can use all the American words with their friends and at school, but at home it is the Queen's English that is spoken If they want chips and soda, they have to ask for crisps and fizzy pop I find myself feeling bi-lingual when I am talking with my American friends. I automatically translate things in my head. Time is a big one - I am used to saying "I'll be there by half ten" meaning "I'll be there by 10.30". And a "quarter to" anything usually leaves a puzzled expression But, I don't ever get tired of someone saying "I love your accent"

I have to agree with the quote that Benem put in her OP - food is so over processed here. I can't eat many desserts here, as they are just too sweet - and I always thought I had a sweet tooth I have a hard time trying to find nuts that aren't salted or honey roasted, and why does everything seem to also have a version with added cheese? I am cooking more things from scratch since living here, which I suppose is no bad thing

And the use of checks - back in the UK shops were not taking them as a form of payment anymore, and there were talks about phasing them out altogether. How I wish that was true here, when I'm stuck behind 10 people in the "express" checkout line who all pay using a check...


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benem
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Posted: 11/15/2013 11:34:38 AM

I have a hard time trying to find nuts that aren't salted or honey roasted


I shop at a produce market for groceries (not Walmart) and it is easy to find regular nuts there -- usually in the bulk foods, by the produce area.

You can also find large bags and small packs of plain walnuts, almonds and pecans in the baking aisle. The flavored and salted nuts are in the snacks aisle.

I buy my pine nuts for cooking in the baking aisle, they come in a small pack perfect for one recipe. Though more expensive than buying a larger container in the bulk area.

MergeLeft
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Posted: 11/15/2013 11:34:45 AM

They aren't hard to prepare and usually have a ton more flavor than chicken and beef.


Americans aren't big on flavor in general, except for salty and sweet.

scrappower
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Posted: 11/15/2013 11:36:29 AM


They aren't hard to prepare and usually have a ton more flavor than chicken and beef.


Americans aren't big on flavor in general, except for salty and sweet.


Just one more thing showing how anti-American I am.



sunny 5
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Posted: 11/15/2013 11:46:44 AM
maybe too it depends on what part of the us you are in...

here we have no walmarts...so our groceries have plain nuts, organic everything. we have the small shops you just "nip into"--most stores have limited parking..people take public transport everywhere...
more european I guess. and since we have 30% immigrants in our town..great ethnic food and groceries.

Mallie
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Posted: 11/15/2013 11:52:15 AM
I deal with with immigrants in my work. Their most common comment about our food is about the abundance of it. It's quite common for their first trip to the grocery store to end in tears because they simply cannot believe that all of that food is available to them.

A while back I picked up someone immigrating here from Liberia. Due to various snafus, their plane did not land until midnight. I asked if he was hungry and he kept shaking his head, but I kept asking. He finally admitted that he was hungry. Very hungry. So I told him that while I could take him to my home and feed him, if he was very hungry we could stop to eat, but the only thing open was a McDonald's. He was agog that anything was open at that hour. He took nearly 15 minutes trying to figure out what to order because he'd never seen that many options before in his life and finally just told me to order what I thought he would like. He has since told me that even today he finds the number of choices on American menus to be mind-boggling.



I have a hard time trying to find nuts that aren't salted or honey roasted
Really? I can find them at my local Target, Walmart, Walgreens and the grocery store.

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Posted: 11/15/2013 11:53:26 AM

I shop at a produce market for groceries (not Walmart) and it is easy to find regular nuts there -- usually in the bulk foods, by the produce area.

You can also find large bags and small packs of plain walnuts, almonds and pecans in the baking aisle. The flavored and salted nuts are in the snacks aisle.

I buy my pine nuts for cooking in the baking aisle, they come in a small pack perfect for one recipe. Though more expensive than buying a larger container in the bulk area.


The main one I have problems finding is plain pistachios. I wanted to make cranberry and pistachio shortbread last Christmas, and could not find plain pistachios anywhere. I ended up buying some that were roasted in the shells with a tiny bit of added salt, shelled them and rinsed off the salt before using them in my recipe

I am sure I could find them in Whole Foods, but that's a trip to the other side of the river Jacksonville is a huge sprawling metropolis


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SarahYoo
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Posted: 11/15/2013 12:01:21 PM

maybe too it depends on what part of the us you are in...

here we have no walmarts...so our groceries have plain nuts, organic everything. we have the small shops you just "nip into"--most stores have limited parking..people take public transport everywhere...
more european I guess. and since we have 30% immigrants in our town..great ethnic food and groceries.


See, Sunny, this is what I am used to. Yes, I have access to 4 huge supermarkets within 5 minutes of where I live, but none of them have a diverse selection of foods. Publix is the best - it has a great little "Ethnic Food" section, which includes British chocolate, and other foods from home. But we are used to eating a wide range of different foods from Indian cuisine, and I have had to search and search to find just one Indian grocery shop which can provide me with pastes and spices to make just a basic Indian curry.


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SarahYoo
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Posted: 11/15/2013 12:04:36 PM

Really? I can find them at my local Target, Walmart, Walgreens and the grocery store.


Knowing me, I am probably looking in the wrong place Maybe I'll finally find out where everything is in a supermarket just as we leave to go back to the UK....


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melanell
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Posted: 11/15/2013 1:02:16 PM

And a "quarter to" anything usually leaves a puzzled expression


That's interesting to me as I would think of that as just a very typical expression. It's taught in school with the units on telling time, here.



benem
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Posted: 11/15/2013 1:09:45 PM

Americans aren't big on flavor in general, except for salty and sweet.


And spicy!

But seriously amen, sister, you said it. I didn't even realize this until I recently changed my eating habits. Now anything I might consume that is not on my food plan (ie, I went to party last weekend, or if I buy lunch somewhere) really tastes so very salty or so very sweet to me. And chemical-ly. I'm pretty shocked by this, especially the salty, bc I would have sworn I never ate salty foods ever.

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Posted: 11/15/2013 1:31:55 PM
That was interesting. I was surprised at how many people liked the customer service in America. When they ask you at Nordstrom's if they can help you they really mean it.

When I visited Germany a few years ago, the people were shocked when I tried to explain the size of our county. They asked if I lived close to family and I told them it took about fours in a car. They were amazed because that was how long it took to get to Berlin. We were in Cologne. I told them that in four hours I couldn't even cross my entire state. They wanted to know how far from NY to LA in a car. We figured it would take at least six days with 12 hours a day in the car. I think most people had to pick their jaws up off the table.


Melissa

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Posted: 11/15/2013 1:31:57 PM

Like our food is "infantile"
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Infantile ... food (and I'm not talking about the fast food). No bones, no spines, hardly ever find an entire fish, it's mostly filets, very little diversity (little lamb, or duck, hardly ever rabbit, and for fish it's almost always tuna, salmon, haddock and bass), seedless everything.


For me personally I don't eat pets and we've had pet rabbits, ducks and goats. I do eat lamb and we fish so I love to eat the fish we catch, which is trout and salmon. Why would I go buy other fish when fresh caught is so much taster?


~ Dori ~

lg03
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Posted: 11/15/2013 2:18:31 PM
That was very interesting to read. TFS!



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Posted: 11/15/2013 2:34:25 PM
Thanks for sharing! That was an interesting read.



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sammi71
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Posted: 11/15/2013 2:47:58 PM
I have visited many areas if the US over the years and can honestly say that different coasts/states do have somewhat different ways of life. That's not surprising given the size of the country. some of the points made do resonate with me, and I didn't have to immigrate to say that!

For instance, over here, in this tiny island of ours, we went over to what we call 'faster payments' about 3 years ago. That means, I make a transfer between my account to another of whichever bank and it is almost instant. If I pay in a check to my account from another person who banks at the same bank, it is instant.

In my city (and no other city/county etc that I know of) we do not have major congestion when the Sunday Service is coming out, nor do we have the local police doing traffic duty for it. We have a far greater difference between church and State and so the two are more widely divided, even though I always thought it was the same way over with you guys.

When I was far younger, I would have totally agreed with the 'Service is EVERYTHING' creed that we always appreciated so much when we visited. I can honestly say that this has diminished so much over the past few years, I can't even recognise it any more.

Food - interesting, really, as I prefer mine to come without spines and bones as much as possible! So, I am a fan of that! Also, both the fish and meat tend to be nice and fresh. What tends to make me laugh is seeing al the posts on the forums saying that, for example, the food over here in England is terrible, when I have to search fairly hard to find better - and what I do eat is so heavily seasoned, I have to ask for it to be unseasoned (and for those who do not live there, I mean not salted to within death levels).

The 'under-dressing' issue, we have comments on over here - various town centres are known for those who have more vanity than common sense, for example, so that's an area we can probably agree on. Or you think you are harder than us. You aren't. There are lasses running around Newcastle dressed in nothing later than most of you go to bed, and they are just getting geared up for the night out!

The whole yelling across the store thing.... I think that baffles many overseas people, to be honest, especially when the assistant barely even looks at you and is busy doing something else by the time you say 'yes, I'm good, thanks'!! I honestly, truly, try to be polite, but it really does start to annoy after a few times!

The great things.....most tend to be pretty friendly (even when we have to translate English to American English!)....most tend to really want to help out when asked....we see and do the most amazing things....

MichyM
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Posted: 11/15/2013 2:54:12 PM
That was really interesting, thank you for posting it!


Lauren




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Posted: 11/16/2013 4:52:05 AM

Dependence on GPS – I knew people who went to office everyday since the past 5 years and could not tell their way without a GPS. It was amazing! I made some friends there and they were so impressed that I could tell my way back to their home without help from a GPS.


One of my best friends is from Minnesota, and she has the poorest sence of direction I've ever seen. She got lost taking a walk, and did'nt make it home for 7 hours. First of all, we live on an Island, you're bound to hit the coastline sooner or later. Secondly, it's pretty flat here, and one of the higher points has a water tank-thingy on it. It's in the department of " you can't miss it and you can see your house from there"

She has a great sence of humour about it though, and we've come up with a few theories as to why she has such a poor sence of direction. She thinks it's because all the roads in her home state are pretty much always going in a straight line, and that they never really walked to anything.

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Posted: 11/16/2013 6:36:24 AM
I've only been to Hawaii, but the first time we went into a supermarket we were amazed at the range of food available. In fact I took photos of the salad dressings (3 vertical shots!) because I couldn't believe how many there were to choose from!
I think we spent over 3 hours in there just looking at stuff!
Corinne

Anna in TX
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Posted: 11/16/2013 7:28:23 AM
Thank you for sharing this--it is very interesting. I thought this was the most interesting:


A lot of people really think a constitution written hundreds of years ago provides written guidance to any issue the nation might be faced with. Then again, a large subset of the same group believes that a book written 2000 years ago provides answers to all problems in life.



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Posted: 11/16/2013 7:46:27 AM
When my oldest was in undergrad, she dated a young man from Bulgaria. He was such a nice guy and still keeps in touch with us. He had many opinions. The first being no public transportation. He also mentioned the grocery stores. He was old enough to remember when it was controlled by the Eastern Bloc and he would stand in line at 4am for a loaf of bread.
I must say, while he was telling us we were spoiled, (and he wasn't being rude when doing this, it was just in conversations) I had to agree that Tsanko appreciated things much more than we did. He made us rethink quite a few things on how we looked at them.


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birukitty
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Posted: 11/16/2013 11:05:49 AM
This was very interesting and thanks for posting it. I loved reading all of the different opinions.

I was born in Germany and came to the USA when I was 5 years old. Yes, I was very young, but I still remember Germany quite well. My mother is German and I had a German grandmother who I'd visit once in a while over the years.

I agree with:

The Chocolate-it's terrible here. It doesn't even taste like real chocolate. It's overly sweet and kind of waxy.

Cakes, Pastries and Deserts-they are overly sweet. In our family we never had desert after a meal as a regular thing.

Lack of public transportation-this is readily apparent when I come back from a trip to Germany or Holland, or even Japan. There are trains everywhere and you don't really need a car. Not so in the USA.

Obese People-the is also the first thing I notice when I come back from spending a couple of weeks in Holland. I've been going to Holland more lately because we have family friends we visit. In Holland (I usually stay in Haarlem which is 30 minutes by train from Amsterdamn) and probably all over Holland the general public is fit and trim. They ride bikes everywhere! I saw bikes with windshields, and bikes with seats for kids and even ones with seats for dogs. Very cool. Their portion sizes are much smaller too.

Now there are a lot of good things about the USA, don't get me wrong. I have enjoyed living here for the last 48 years. These are just my observations. Also things have changed for the better. When we came here in 1965 there were much fewer options as far as shopping for bread went. My mother was stuck buying Sunbeam bread and was shocked about how white and soft it was-there was nothing to it. It was like air. Now with Whole Foods she can go there and they have all kinds of the dense loves of bread in the bakery that are much like the kind of bread she remembers from Germany.

Debbie in MD.

Mallie
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Posted: 11/16/2013 11:41:06 AM

Also things have changed for the better. When we came here in 1965 there were much fewer options as far as shopping for bread went. My mother was stuck buying Sunbeam bread and was shocked about how white and soft it was-there was nothing to it. It was like air. Now with Whole Foods she can go there and they have all kinds of the dense loves of bread in the bakery that are much like the kind of bread she remembers from Germany.
Things have changed for the better because they're more like what she remembers from another country. LOL

theshyone
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Posted: 11/16/2013 12:53:30 PM
I'm Canadian, along that same line some Africans that came to my sons school, totally shocked by seasons.


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Posted: 11/16/2013 1:31:06 PM
Thanks for sharing--I found that to be fascinating!

Where I live (Denver area), lamb and duck are much more expensive than beef or chicken--and that's if you can even find it to buy without going to a specialty store or a butcher. I love both but rarely eat it because of the cost.


Heidi

"No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation." General Douglas MacArthur
Vacuuming in High Heels and Pearls

azredhead34
peaintheheat

PeaNut 2,698
February 2000
Posts: 28,190
Layouts: 272
Loc: Mesa, Arizona

Posted: 11/16/2013 2:01:15 PM

The way we rush, rush, rush to everything.



DH's grandma from Sweden always used to say this, everybody here is rush rush rush.

And ditto on the chocolate. It's just not the same the US. We went back to Europe I couldn't get enough of it. Both is Sweden and Germany.




ceepea
BucketHead

PeaNut 343,496
October 2007
Posts: 840
Layouts: 0

Posted: 11/16/2013 2:12:17 PM
I have an online friend from Russia. She just came to California for the first time last month. She couldn't believe the air conditioning. She kept saying it was every where!!! She also told me that they were going to drive up the entire Ca. coast one day of their trip. I told them "Good Luck, hope you rent a vehicle that can go 600 mph" She comes from a huge country, but couldn't believe how large just one state was.
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