Friday, December 7, 2012

Top 5 weirdest things about living in the US again

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As most of you may or may not know, we are back living in the US now for a few weeks.  I know--not a lot of fanfare on that return via the blog, but give me some time and I may post a bit more on the subject.  For now, here are some thoughts I've had during our adjustment period. 


5. Driving everywhere.  I didn't drive at all the entire time we lived in Germany.  I took a bus every single day.  Thankfully, we lived by a main stop where almost all of the lines stopped so while I couldn't just leave whenever I wanted, I had a lot more flexibility than people who lived by a one-line-only stop.

4. Everything is so BIG!  I still remember us laughing about the size of bottles in the store during one of our first ventures into a Rewe in Marburg.  After our return, I couldn't believe the size of a jar of tomato sauce.  I sent my husband to the store for toothpaste and when I saw the tube I said there wasn't any reason to buy the family size one and he reminded me that it was the regular size.

3. People you don't know talk to you.  This has been a bit weird.  You're in a public place and someone you don't even know says something conversational to you.  Not to say that it doesn't happen at all in Germany, but it's much more rare and even when it did happen, I didn't always notice because I wasn't tuned in to the language.  Which brings me to...

2. Everyone speaks English!  I was used to speaking English with my husband, some friends, and our family when they visited.  No one that I didn't know personally spoke English to me.  So when I was going for a walk with my parents the day after our return, we were about to pass in front of a man playing frisbee.  I began to say, Entschuldigen (excuse me), but the man turned and said, "How're y'all doin'?"  (Yes, this was in NC, of course.)  I was completely surprised that he spoke to me and spoke English to me.  My initial reaction was, "Hey!  I speak English, too!!"  Of course, within seconds I realized how utterly stupid this thought process was and found it so hilarious I couldn't stop laughing.  But it still happens to me occasionally.  Mostly in the form that I am still hesitating to ask for help or say those random conversational things to people I don't know because somewhere in my mind I'm thinking they might not understand me (sometimes I wouldn't want to buy something for fear I would need to return it and explain myself).  For instance, I saw people selling Christmas trees at church and was trying to figure out on my own how long they would be selling and how much they cost.  It did finally occur to me to ask because they would speak English :-)

1. Not going grocery shopping every day.  This is a bit of a misconception about Europeans--the idea that everyone goes every day.  Most people these days do just one shop or two a week.  However, if you only have a fridge the size of a dorm fridge, you don't have too much choice.  This also means a freezer that is slightly larger than a breadbox.  My first few trips to the grocery store have been difficult for me because I'm trying to readjust to buying more than just what I need for dinner.  It's difficult and there is still very little in my cupboards and refrigerator.  Since this was the thing I did the most that was different, it's probably my biggest adjustment.

Been back for almost a month and this is still ...
all that it is my fridge.
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  1. Just happened by your blog via Company Girls. May I say "welcome back!" And prayers for the adjustment. I have a girlfriend that moved away (within the States) for a couple of years. When she came back everyone expected her to fall back into her old routines. But they had changed and so had she. All in good ways...but changes. Hang in there!

    1. Welcome, Carey! I'm glad you stopped by. I think returning to an American way of life is pretty necessary--trying to live like I'm in Germany would just be making my life more difficult. The good thing is that when you've had experience living a different way you can take some of the things you've learned and apply them to the old. Have a great weekend!

  2. Sounds like reverse culture shock. :p hehe Hubby's cousin and cousin's wife are leaving Thailand soon after being there for 2 years, staying in the states for awhile for language training, and then heading to Tunis. I will have to ask them their thoughts about being back here. And you're right about everything being big here. :p

  3. Def. got some reverse culture shock going on! =D I know, everything in the US feels so huge compared to here, doesn't it?? Still, you should add one more thing: No more 19% sales tax!! =)

    1. Actually, after I wrote this I thought of about 3 or 4 more things I should have written and tax was one of them--except not in the way you said. We aren't used to the ADDITION of tax anymore. We lived in Delaware before Germany and they don't have sales tax. So just like in Germany, the price you see is the price you pay. I keep getting surprised by my total at the register!


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