What were the things you most surprised when you first went to the United States?

I have only been to the US once, when my father and mother were married for 25 years and wanted to make a great holiday with the family.We always went to Germany or Belgium, so I was not quite accustomed to cultural differences. But well, we landed in San Francisco, rented a camper for a month.. Very well I do not know the route anymore, but we are going to travel through California, Utah, Arizona and Nevada.

2009 was when the Mexican flu came to the Netherlands, but our mom had the misfortune to walk in the US that year. We had to look for a hospital in the middle of the night.We were on a camping pitch just outside Las Vegas, and so had to go to town over that huge road.. Every time I looked out the window there seemed to be more car lanes, and I had to keep my mother conscious while my father and brother were looking for the way…

Maargoed, hospital found, Big Brother knows the best English so that’s going to be paramount.The first surprise was that we had to show our insurance first. We were there to paniking, it was getting worse with our mom, but when they had the papers they all suddenly got a lot easier. It was such a wrap from unfriendly to helpful, which was really a shock.

Our mom was quarantined, and I’m not sure how long it was before we were allowed to come to her, but at one point I was only going to her on his way into the hospital.I was in a lift with other people, and someone asked ‘ So, why are you all here? ‘ So I tried to explain to my mother that my mom was on the quarantine. All of a sudden everyone had to give me a hug, which I found so weird. These wildly strange people with their own problems that have escaped a stray little teen. I walked a bit stray away, but actually it was pretty.

Than the hospital portions!My mother could hardly get inside, but she thought it was a shame to send good food back, so we had to help get it on. I myself, my father, my brother and my mother, had enough portions for one person together! It was also all hardstikke fat and unhealthy, in a hospital nota bene!

Further… It Was very difficult to find fresh fruits and vegetables.We actually expected it to just be in the grocery store, but that was all frozen. That was something we all missed, if we could find it it was pepper expensive. The meat was tastier and cheaper than at home, chocolate, cheese and bread didn’t taste!

There were many homeless people in SF, which is something that surprised me at the same.

The scenery was amazingly beautiful and diverse.We drove down from the Mono Lake to Death Valley, and every 10 minutes as you looked out the window you saw a totally different landscape. We had spent a freezing night at the lake, even had a few patches of snow on the mountains on the way, and when we got off again at our place of destination we were in the desert!

This has finally become a very long-wined answer, but it was a journey that will make you into your life once.Because I was on vacation, it hasn’t gone so deeply into the culture, but these were the things I wondered about.

That (late years 90) The salary was paid every two weeks and that the company I worked for (Ść§ 18 -000 employees worldwide) was amazed that I wanted to have my salary deposited directly into my bank account instead of every two weeks with a cheque To have to go to the bank to have my salary transferred.

Every two weeks you saw huge rows of people on the so-called “loan sharks” on Friday afternoon.When the money is deposited in a regular bank account, it usually takes up to Wednesday before the money is on the account. Many Americans cannot bridge this and redeem their paycheck at a loan shark that pays off the salary immediately under 10% administration and borrowing costs. After a few days, the loan shark has been paid the full salary and made 10% profit. And that for every paycheck and every 2 weeks. Yeah really soooo progressive those Americans.

In many ways it felt like I was going back in time 50 years.So much??? Yes, so much.

Men and women are here where I live very uneven.(Kentucky, one of the most conservative states of America, but yes… My beloved lived there already, what are you doing!).

Men and women are seldom friends, even if they have a relationship.Men are often possessive, women envy every woman who even looks, and if you talk to a man as a woman then you want some of it.

I still have contact with my ex, we have children together and it were difficult children.So good contact between him and me was essential to them, even after the divorce. It took four years for my wife to stop getting the the when I contacted him. She has learned that you have to hate your ex and never see again, and if you still want to see him or her, then you are not yet over him/her, or even more so, you actually want him/her back.

There is very little trust between people, therefore.

And then we are not talking about accepting a couple that only consists of women.In the early years I really had to learn to not touch my wife in public, not to call her “darling”, etc. People here for that sort of thing are really still getting the hospital beaten up, or worse.

And the ubiquity of religion is quite suffocating.Everywhere signs, even along the highway, at each church stand signs, people have signs on their yard, stickers on their car, T-shirts and other attire, and you can almost not have a conversation with them without them yielding Jesus. It is about as if they would like to convince you how faithful they are, and preferably faithful than the neighbours. The clean appearance is very important in America.

And in contrast to what many Americans would like to believe, racism is very large and widespread.As in, my wife had a colleague in a previous job that was a bad worker, often too late and the wrong clothes to, that sort of thing. All not bad at all, all was wiped out. She could just keep coming. She was fired when she found out that the black boy who often came to pick her up was her boyfriend. That was the same company where they flocked to the warehouse as Latinos or black people entered.

It all reminds me of the Netherlands when my parents grew up.I hear stories about my mother (I’m a 60 baby myself), and it really looks very much like that.

It is a great contradiction with what we always see in movies and series.

The weird discrepancy between much smoother manners than in the Netherlands, and at the same time more deeply rooted and more evident racism despite the promise of the melting pot.A young Afro-American who pointed out during a concert that I was wasting his view, I immediately made a polite place. And he who was first angry, arrogant but also bloodnervous, and when I was right, kept apologizing and I kept thanking me, while his concern was not yet completely gone. And that African-American family that hastily rose up in the fast food to give us their places, very accommodating and anxious submissive. I didn’t expect this altogether. I said: Dear Man, you were before, go to rest, we are waiting. The father looked at me unbelieving and then sat down hesitating with his family. Later, after we had all eaten, he still came to me to thank me. He covered my petite hand with his big round hands, and looked at me with a blissful expression deep in the eyes as he asked: Where do you come from, my friend? Holland? Good country. I said nothing about the slaves transports of our ancestors.

It wasn’t the first time when I went to the United States.The first time I was only a small child.

If you are driving on the American motorways, you will soon notice that it is all less beautiful and advanced as in Europe.

Dutch motorways look neat and well maintained.The same can be said of the German Autobahnen.

However, when I drove on the American motorways, I noticed that there were holes on the road surface.The cars that drove around there were often also old and Gammel. I did not expect that from the most powerful country in the world.

I am when I was 8 a month with my parents and sister in California, because my aunt lives there.This was in the summer of 2000. Several things have been added to me.

I still see images of people with morbid obesity for me. A boy, probably just a teenager, with a giant mountain fries on an already huge board, and somewhere else a lady who just had her ice cream on it, she was already in line for the next ice cream.I had never seen such fat people in the Netherlands (later on though).

On one of the first days we went with my aunt to the beach.We were accustomed to dress us up on the beach. My mother apparently had little knowledge of American prudery, and my aunt only noticed when we were already on the beach. As a Dutch she found it all no problem, but she did say to my mother that changing clothes on the beach is not actually the intention.

And then the huge breadth of highways.5-Baans I believe is the narrowest I’ve seen.

A day we made a sneaky trip to Nevada (we didn’t actually have a visa for that), to Reno, to a children’s gokhal.Wait, Whut? Yes, really, a gambling for children. There were also more fairground games like such a grab with cuddly toys, but it was really a gokhal, also with things like slot machines. My sister and I have entertained us enormously and both have won a hug, but if you think about it it is of course bizarre. Gambling/winning is addictive, and to expose children to them… And no, there were no limits. There was a game where the same girl won all the time. She already had 3 big pockets full of cuddly toys and she played.

Furthermore, nature was really overwhelming beautiful and also very special.For me as a girl that had been further alone to France and northern Italy at least, so what follows now is not unique to the US. I had never seen boiling mud and boiling lakes, let alone lakes that went to rotten eggs (Bumpass Hell), or lakes with salt pillars, or climbed a volcano. In Yosemite National Park was a small river with such beautiful clear water that you could see everything, and it was quiet enough to swim in it.

The poor quality of the tap water.You could aim it in a swimming pool. This also applies to large parts of England.

My grandparents have a cottage in Florida.I went there for the first time when I was 8.

What made the most impression on me was how much ahead everything stood.

All cartoons ran for 3 years.I was when I came back the most up to date of all the kids.

Furthermore, you had gigantic malls with hundreds of shops.Lots of cooler toys.

Many of these things have only been introduced in Belgium years later.

It felt like another world that stood out on us.

Everything is grander and more enjoyable.People are enthiousiaster and more modern.

That being said nobody knew Belgium.

Except 1 woman who swore that she had been in that city and that it is a beautiful city.

People are much enthiousiaster about what they do, dreaming bigger.

And the people in vocational training were much less flat.

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