Before I moved to Pennsylvania, I thought I had a pretty good idea about the American life – but I was wrong. When Mark first asked me how I feel about moving for 2 or 4 years to the States, I was a little bit overwhelmed. I was born in Karlsruhe, Germany and the first time I moved to another city was 1 year ago, when Mark and I decided to move in together. So after 6 month living in munich, we had the opportunity to live abroad for a few years and we decided to go. So I tried to picture America…
Fast Food, unhealthy Food in general , bad cops and guns!
It’s been 7 month since we moved to Allentown, PA and we both love living here – So I want to share with you my experience and some facts about the United States:
- Americans and Fast Food. YES, there are a lot of trashy fast food restaurants, BUT the most people I know do a lot of sport and eat really healthy (healthier than I do). I don’t know one person with overweight!
- You always pay by credit card, even if it’s just a coke. “Tipping” is very important here. You tip around 15%-20%.
- Tap Water is complimentary and you get free refills on softdrinks – almost in every restaurant. At Red Robin you even get unlimited fries (so-called bottomless fries).
Check out our visit to Red Robin on YouTube.
- In Summer Air Conditioning is set to low temperatures everywhere. Most of the time I’m freezing because it seems like they either have off or arctic temperature setting – they definitely prefer the latter one.
- Almost every store is open 7 days a week – with long evening opening hours.
- Tax is not included in the advertised price so the final price will be + tax. Sometimes I still forget, that tax isn’t included and then I’m wondering about the large bill at the check out.
- Food is much more expensive than in Germany. In return clothes are a lot cheaper, and you get coupons and deals all the time. Sometimes you “save” more money than you pay – so you don’t feel bad after shopping all day.
- The return policy is very costumer friendly and everyone is very kind and helpful. Costumer Service is really the best in the US.
- Not every American citizen has health insurance. However, you can get a lot of medicine at the pharmacy without prescription (e.g. Hydrocortison creme).
- Every family has at least 2 cars – you never walk or ride a bike (except in bigger cities like New York)
- The traffic lights are behind the intersection. In the beginning it was really confusing to me, but now I’m getting used to it and actually it’s very neat. The Americans don’t use kilometers, they use miles.
- Gas is extremely cheap. You pay about 30 or 40 Dollars to fill up your whole tank.
- Everything is bigger than in Germany. The common milk package size is 1 gallon, that is about 4 liters.
- Guns! Most of the people I know never shot before. However, some of their dads or other family members are hunters – which means, they have a bunch of guns at home.
- In general “Shooting” is considered a socializing sport activity. People bring their kids to the shooting range. You can buy pink Hello Kitty guns for your little girl, IF YOU WANT TO.
Bottom Line – it was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. Sometimes I miss my family and my friends, however I never regret that we moved to Allentown (Thank god there is Skype and WhatsApp). There is so much to do here, we have outlet malls, recreational parks and beautiful nature just around the corner. We really have a great time and we enjoy our American way-of-life to the fullest!
P.S: I didn’t have the chance to meet a police officer yet. Haha.