Expat Life

5 Things They’ll Tell You About the U.S. … That Aren’t True

Ah, I get it. You are returning to the United States, and you are preparing for the much-feared reverse culture shock. What to expect?

You should expect to find it weird when people address you in English, that the grocery store has about three hundred different types of cereal, and people want to talk to you while standing in line. Yeah, okay, I feel ya. I see how that could seem weird or odd for a while after you return home.

But let me tell you something, sometimes I wonder if I grew up in an alternate universe, if perhaps my experience of the US has been different from many expats who write on the Internet, because some things I just don’t see. Some stereotypes just don’t fit my experience. I write this to see if I am alone.

1. Americans are always in a hurry

I live in Madrid, so everyone seems to be in a hurry, especially on my morning commute. But my experiences in Madrid aren’t extended to the rest of Spain. Thus, I find it hard to believe Americans are always in a hurry, because most of my family and friends don’t ever seem to be in a hurry. Where are all these hurrying people you’re talking about? New York City? Where?

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The U.S. vs. Spain: Kitchen Tools Edition

After receiving a small pressure cooker from my mother-in-law (yeah, I got the hookup!), I started thinking about which kitchen gadgets seem to be more popular here in Spain as well as which don’t even seem to exist.

Tools Popular in Spain

Olla a presion

Pressure cooker. This is gaining popularity in the U.S. as well, but in Spain a kitchen is not a kitchen nor is a cook a cook without one of these. Pressure cooking makes cooking easier and faster! Who doesn’t want that. Have you made chickpeas from scratch? Then you’ll know that, even after being soaked all night, they take forever to cook. Other good things to make in a pressure cooker include whole grains, chicken stock, soups, cabbage, and many more.

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Things I Didn’t Do Before Moving to Spain

Inspired by Georgette’s post, I decided to write a similar post about things I didn’t do before I came to Spain. You never really realize how much you’re changing while in the process, but looking back I realized I’d changed quite a bit over my years in Spain.

Gym Spain
Source

Say hello to people in the gym locker room

Can someone please clarify why this is a thing? I still can’t get over the fact that, while I’m partially undressed (awkward!), I’m supposed to say bye to you as you leave the room. I don’t even know you!

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A Life Lived in Airports

I recently mentioned to my mom that I hate airports. Her reply? “You picked the wrong guy if you really despise them!”

Touché.

Departures Madrid Barajas AirportMy most-frequented airport, Madrid Barajas

What is it about airports that brings out all the feels? The airport environment is heightened somehow, as though they put something in the water or air. The arrivals area is decidedly more cheerful than departures. At the arrivals gate you see signs: “Welcome home, Katie” held by the cutest set of parents and dimpled younger brother; “Mr. John Smith” held by a blankfaced businesswoman; “Happy anniversary” accompanied by a 20-something young man holding a boquet of tulips. These people are awaiting the arrival of a loved one, a business associate, a girlfriend or wife. The hugs are numerous. The tears flow. No one seems too impatient or upset.

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