Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Living in the US: My Pros + Cons

I have had this post in my drafts for quite some time now, but it wasn't until I saw Kate's post here about the pros + cons of living in Germany that gave me the push and twist I needed for my own. I have been worried to post it because I didn't want to offend anyone, even though I'm sure it still will - it is not. my. intention.

Keep in mind that when I talk about 'Australia' and 'America' I am talking about the places I live (or have lived) in either country. Obviously I don't know things about places I have not been.

Again, I am not trying to offend anyone, and I'm sorry if I do. I am an expat, and I love my country, and I also love America! I think there are good and bad things of living anywhere and every person will have a different idea of what those good and bad things are. So, this is not a personal attack on anyone, obviously.

Living in America : Cons

1. Tipping.

BAH. Tipping drives me insane. I don't understand it, I suck at math and it is not fun. I think the US should just pay people better and tipping should be outlawed. The only thing that annoys me more than tipping is when people don't tip (contradictawho?) whether it's Americans (rude) or tourists (don't pretend you don't know). Whether I like it or not, tipping is a large part of the culture here in the US and not tipping when you should is just rude as heck.

2. Guns.

Yeah I'll probably get all the flack for this, but I care not. I get that you want your freedom and rights and blah dee blah blah. Can't you have freedom without all the deaths? Australia had a massive massacre in Port Arthur in 1996 and it transformed our gun laws. We have 1 firearm related death in every 100,000 now - the US has 10. Which I guess is not horrible especially compared to other countries, but how many massacres will it take to change the laws?

3. Snow.

Honourable mentions go to tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes.

4. Stop signs.

Why are they everywhere? Give me a roundabout, aint nobody got time for stopping.

Side note: I will say Americans have the whole 'traffic light goes out' thing down pat. Here, when a traffic light goes out, most people are like ok no worries we'll just act like it's a 4 way stop and traffic keeps moving until a policeman comes along and directs traffic. In Australia because we have very few stop signs and, as far as I am aware, zero 4 way stops, whichever direction of traffic who had the momentum when the light went out is who keeps going, and going, and going until a policeman comes along and saves the day.

5. Health Insurance.

Bah. Why must it cost so much and be (mainly) offered through your employer? It confuses me.

6. Tea.

I want a gosh dang it hot pot of tea and it better be English Breakfast, not no Earl Grey shit.

7. The Seasons 'start' and 'end'

THIS MAKES NO SENSE TO ME. Why can't Summer start on the 1st of June? WHY?

8. Religion.

Oy vey, don't shoot me. I am not against religion - each to their own! Before you judge or get mad, remember that I am from a different country with a different culture. You can't apply your culture to me and mine. I don't apply mine to you and yours. I respect other peoples beliefs and I expect the same courtesy. When I say 'religion' being one of the things I don't like about America, I am talking about things happening because of religion that have an impact on everyone (or at least people that may not be of that religion) like what Alyssa talked about here.

9. Being an expat can be so unbearably lonely sometimes.

Even though I am not alone, I am always the odd one out, the one who doesn't understand the reference, the one who hasn't been here forever. No one understands what its like to pick up and move and leave everything behind. Every.thing.

10. I'm a novelty.

9 times out of 10 people introduce me as 'my Australian friend' or like my only redeeming quality is the fact that I'm a foreigner. I have heard every bad joke a thousand times, and listened to unintentional insults about myself and my country from well meaning lovely people. It gets old. But if it goes away, I get sad. I like talking about my country. Go on, tell me a dingo joke. I'll laugh, I promise.

Living in America : Pros!


Um, yeah. It was my dream to live in America ever since I discovered the Babysitters club. Then I read Sweet Valley and watched a million movies and tv shows. Everything looked and sounded so fabulous here and I have wanted to live here for as long as I can remember. AND I DO. I LIVE IN FREAKING AMERICA.
see, look. I love America.
2. The weather.

It's so much more predictable here, you actually have seasons (leaves! fall off trees!) and I love how hot it gets here.

3. I'm close to things!

This kinda falls with #1 but it deserves it's own point. Not only can I hop on a plane and go to some amazing places like NYC, San Fran, Florida.... but it is also way closer to Europe. Not as close as England, but closer than Australia. Australia is so.far.away. from everything! Except for NZ and Asia.
no big deal, just hanging out in DC after we DROVE there. 


We don't even have the Disney store anymore. It came and went within 10 years.

4. Everything is a novelty.

Almost everything is new to me, I see it with fresh eyes and no preconceived opinions - just like you might see my country, and although I love my country and I miss certain things, I think it's a wee bit boring compared to America or Europe.

5. Big stuff!

Sure in Aus we have the big banana and the big pineapple and a whole other bunch of big stuff but you guys have really big sodas and food portions! Ha! My waistline does not appreciate, but I do!

6. Stuff is cheap! 

Even though we make less moolah here, stuff is cheaper. Our monthly mortgage payment wouldn't even cover a week's rent where I'm from. And soda is like 80 cents. And I can buy a dress for $10. It all works out in the end, but that's not how my brain works so let me think it, ok?

7. People come here. Things happen here. I see people. I do things.

When I was a teenager / early twenties no-one ever came to Australia. Bands, celebrities, whatever. Or they didn't come out and hang out with me, or I couldn't afford their concert (Hey Bette Midler). In the 4 years I have been living / visiting the US I have been to more concerts and events than I ever did at home. Including comic con shameless plug of when I met Matt Smith & Karen Gillan which would not have happened in Australia.

Also, I met Chris Young in Nashville. I was obsessed with a capital OBSESSED with him. I got over it not long after that, maybe because I met my husband and I kinda liked him better.

8. Halloween! Thanksgiving! 4th of July! Memorial Day!

You guys win at holidays.

9. Sports.

Hey, I like a game of aussie rules as much as the next girl, but dang if Americans don't love love love their sports. I was not into sports when I moved here. Now, I love watching (even if I don't understand) football, soccer and basketball. I still don't love baseball, but it reminds me of cricket. I just love the atmosphere of going at NFL game; it's so much better than home. It's hard not to get into the game when the thousands of people around you are going nuts, or even the people in the bar shouting for their team. I love it. I'm not saying sports aren't big at home, they are just way bigger here.

10. I fit in here + all my friends and 'family'!

Ok I know I said up there that I am always the odd one out, but all my life I felt like I didn't fit in. I never had good friends, I was awkward and a little screwed up in the head. I feel more myself and more like I belong here than I ever have before. I know it can sound confusing because I love my country and my family and I miss it all so very much - but when I was there and I was missing the US I felt like a piece of me was missing.

Besides my husband (who I love with all the loves) and kitties I don't have any 'real' family here (ok I have in laws...) so I have made up for it by making some amazing friends including lots of blog friends! I know blogs are on the internet and the internet is world wide, but I probably would never have started a blog had I not been so lonely and it's nice to understand what you're talking about and be in the same timezone (give or take a few).

Y'all are my tardis ;) thanks to Jess for this one!

Ok! I hope I didn't offend anyone - it was not my intention at all. I didn't use the word wrong once, just because it's different doesn't mean it's wrong ;) 

this is me. ok? just in case you thought i hate your country, no way jose!

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  1. the safest i EVER felt traveling was in Australia. while there i heard in the news that someone had held up a bank or something with a butter knife! no one got hurt or died--they just convinced him to leave.
    and that is my traveling motto--it's not wrong, it's just different!

  2. OMG roundabouts in other countries scare the crap out of me! In Paris I was dying. I don't think there's any way I could drive in Paris and not freak out! I like my stop signs LOL! I am jealous you guys don't have tornados, earthquakes or hurricanes though. But brush fires... eh... I think I can live without those. And drop bears. ;) Yay for American sports though! :) I definitely see the pros and cons of living here... sometimes I wish I lived in the UK!

    <3, Pamela

  3. hahaha "you guys win at holidays" this was very entertaining actually!! :)

  4. I agree with your con about tipping - I feel like the service is really poor in some restaurants because they are expecting a tip of 20% no matter what, but by the same token in Europe I found the service to be bad as well because they are paid better and know they will get money with good or bad service lol!! I love that you like all the "big stuff" in America, things are just large here lol - and not just in Texas either haha!!

  5. This is such a fun post! I love how you explained why things were cons and you were very smart about it. It's very interesting to hear things from a different perspective. Your holidays and disneyland pros were my favorite! xoxo

  6. I couldn't agree with you more on tipping and stop signs! And people demand/expect tips! Excuse me? No. That's not the definition of a tip. Believe it or not, my hometown of Minneapolis is changing intersections to roundabouts. They're so great. Now that I'm in Dallas, where nobody follows any sort of driving "rule" you roll through those badboys anyway, so it makes no difference.

    I lived in Paris for a while in my early 20's and I remember LOVING having my own car again after countless rush hours on the metro. And then I got a weak, sh*!!y cup of coffee, and I was like, "Take me back to France, ASAP!"

  7. I love this post and I totally agree with tipping...you are on point!

  8. You are so right on healthcare and religion-major problems in this country! If you want to see roundabouts just venture out into the country...they're pretty popular in the area of the midwest I now live in, and honestly I haaate them! Maybe it's just because I'm still not used to them... I grew up around Chicago and we didn't really have them up there. And girl, I love my snow, so gotta disagree with you there! Have you ever been skiing? I love snow sports!

  9. It's interesting to see what someone who isn't from the US appreciates about it (and what I take for granted). I actually agree with a lot of your cons list! Except for the points about snow and "Stop" signs (where I live, I think people NEED "Stop" signs to help teach them how to drive :-/).

  10. I think it's really cool and interesting to see a different perspective on the US from someone who wasn't born and raised here! Hahaha, I used to get so nervous at 4 way stops when I first started driving, I was so afraid I would go at the same time someone else did and get in a wreck! I'm not a fan of the whole tipping thing either, mostly because if it's something other than a restaurant, (like a hairdresser or manicurist) I get so confused as to how much to tip!

    I've gotta say I do love how into sports we get here! It's so much fun!

  11. You are so freaking adorable I love all the pictures of you! I always love talking to people from other countries to see what is the same and different etc. What is the unemployment rate in Australia? Just wondering it's always a question I have when places have universal healthcare which Australia does right?

  12. It is interesting to see your point of view:) And I totally get how you feel because me and my husband also moved across the ocean, no friends or family here just the two of us trying adjust to this lifestyle and failing all the time pretty much:)

  13. People here dont know how to use the roundabouts correctly. It is confusing to them. Silly people!

    I would be more concerned with tornadoes than snow! I want to live somewhere that doesn't have them!

    Health insurance.....sigh. It's awful!

  14. haha roundabouts are still a weird concept to me! I hate snow... I think I hate it more than someone should hate anything.

  15. Great post! I agree with all the cons. I used to have tornado nightmares like crazy when I first moved here.

    Blog friends are the best. I've actually met a few in person over the years :)

    They're started putting in roundabouts everywhere by me. No one knows how to use them, so I just zip around them. Suckas!

  16. Ok I basically agree with you on every con of america haha! Excepttttt roundabouts, they scare me and I feel like I am going to die when I encounter a busy one! Oh and snow because I live in Florida so ya! I think America needs to get a few tips from Australia and other countries ESPECIALLY health care!!

    <3 Shannon

  17. I love this! There definitely need to be more roundabouts (since I am the queen of rolling stops at stop signs). But the snow...I LOVE the snow! Love, love, love! Maybe if you visited the northwest and all the beautiful mountains you would like just a teensy tiny bit!

  18. I love this. And I love you! But stop for the love of God apologizing when you have your opinion. Who the fuck cares what people think. It's your thought and dislike/like so if anyone has a problem.. they can suck it. xoxoxoxoxo

    I agree with EVERYTHING you said. Except for sports. I could care less about sports. There is a roundabout in Sarasota and Englewood here. They confuse the hell out of me... I am always saying: "wait... what the... do I stop? Do I keep going? WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO BILL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"


  19. haha kill the snow!! I agree. And the holidays really are fantastic, but ya health insurance in the states confuses me and makes me sad. I'm so happy I'm Canadian when it comes to that

  20. I've wanted to move to the States (NYC) for a long time now - but the guns and lack of health insurance are some of my biggest factors on my con list of moving there!

  21. I'm so glad you posted this! I love being able to see things from your perspective. I would actually love to live abroad (not permanently, just for a little while) so it is crazy interesting to me to see the other side of the coin. Definitely agree with most (all?) of your cons, and the pros are mostly things I've never really stopped to think about like that. Also apparently I need to move to where you live because people here seem to think that when a stoplight goes out it means you just zoom through the intersection like it's a green light (which, if everyone did it, would be a great way to kill a bunch of people).

  22. I love everything about this post. I want to keep reading it over and over! All of your cons are soooo truuee....some of the crap we do here is so stupid! So stupid. I'm happy that you love it here though :)

  23. Haha I totally have that white American flag top.

  24. This was such a fun and fascinating read! You did a great job of sharing your opinions in a respectful manner on the more serious subjects (religion! gun control!! All the sensitive things in one post! LOL.) And I'm actually amused at the Americans on here saying they don't like roundabouts (I'm with you...why a stop sign? Such a waste of time. They should be Pause Signs or Roundabouts. That's it.) and they DO like snow! I can see liking it for snow sports but for every day life it's a PITA. Anyway, I'm glad you came here and got lonely enough to start a blog. Coincidentally, I started mine right after a cross-state move made me lonely too :)

  25. Holy cow the roundabout gif scared me! You should add bad drivers to your list of Cons, because we are some bad drivers! Haha! Very interesting read!

  26. Somehow this post did not show up in my Blogloving feed. Lame.
    I have to say some of the things you don't like about states are some things I don't like about the states...
    Also, don't feel bad about not understanding football or basketball I've lived here my whole life and still don't completely understand either.

  27. Haha, I'm so with you on the tipping, stop signs and health insurance. And being a novelty - it feels like I'm from outer space, not Europe sometimes :) Seriously, it's not that different.
    I also can't help the shopping when I'm over here because CHEAPNESS. Still thinking about making the move to the US sometime soon..... regardless of the cons.

  28. I really love this post, and it's because I was an expat for a year in London. I had so much fun comparing/contrasting life in the US vs. the UK...it is the best kind of learning experience! Many Americans don't venture out of this country, so really don't know everything you've gone through. Kudos to you. Leaving your continent is hard, but the most rewarding thing as well, right?

  29. TIPPING!!! Oh my god I'm so glad I'm not the only one. I'm not obligated to tip you. First and foremost it's your job. Your employer pays you. If you don't give me good service, why should you get a tip? You are right. They should get paid more. P.S. Just found you!

    Darianne | Morning Brew blog | Instagram | Bloglovin'

  30. This is an awesome post and I think I lust you! :) Tipping is the most annoying thing ever. I'm horrendous in math so I always over-tip. I agree, people should receive a higher salary and tipping should be axed.

    Religion is nothing but a pain in the arse and an excuse to fight. I avoid it. Stop signs are the devil. I love circles (that's what we call them in NJ... and NY.. and everywhere as far as I know). How can you hate snow?!? It was nice to read the "pros" from someone else's perspective. I've lived here all my life so I'm sure I take certain things for granted.


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