A wee bit of culture shock

Some things make me feel so very American.

1. When I say “have a good day,” and the other person interprets it as a question.

2. Orderly bus queues.

(I grew up in New York City. At a glance, I can determine how best to position myself so I am among the first to board any oncoming bus or train. Here, the part of the brain that could be devoted to that task is instead used to remember everyone’s place in the bus queue. People track the smokers standing to one side, the friends standing together who did not arrive together, and the unruly three year olds who are swinging on the bench. And the order of arrival is politely, yet strictly, followed when boarding. So I’m learning to wait. Okay, there may have been an incident recently where I swung a small child over my head to snag an empty seat on the train. But there are always bumps in the road.)

3. The time I offered my friend a peanut butter cup, and she visibly recoiled.

4. When I see a date written as, say, 5/9/14 – and I have to stop to think about which country I’m in, and which country it’s referring to, before I know whether it’s already happened.

5. Filling out any form that asks for my race/ethnicity, and there are multiple choices under White, and those choices are White Scottish, White British, White Irish, Polish, and Gypsy/Traveller.

6. When I buy vegetables, and they come wrapped in plastic, and those plastic wrappers have cooking instructions that involve boiling for at least twelve minutes.


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