11 Things that Surprised me When I First Got to the US

If you’re new to the blog: Welcome!

If you are not, you might know that 2 years ago I packed my things and left everything behind to come to the US. It wasn’t easy, but I’m really proud of myself for doing it, because I learned so much and I met so many interesting and amazing people since then (my hubby!).

As I said, it wasn’t easy. First, leaving my family and friends and taking a plane alone to get to the other side of the ocean. Second, the US is SO different from Europe. If you’ve been to both places you know what I’m talking about. (Also, you can check my post about the 10 things that I miss about Spain. Some of them are pretty random!).

11 Things that Surprised me When I First Got to the US

In today’s post I bring you a list of things that surprised me the most when I first got here. Some good, some not so good. Keep reading to know what I’m talking about!

People are really nice. In general, of course. But at least here in the south people give you conversation when waiting for the train, in line in the grocery store or practically anywhere. I have seen a lot of “fake nice” people too, though. They give you a smile and the moment they think that you’re not looking, they put a face or something. That is definitely not nice.

Layout of the cities and skyscrapers. All those super tall buildings amaze me. I don’t specially like heights, but there’s something with those buildings. And when you look up and you get dizzy too. Also, it was (and still is) very surprising how the cities are laid out. People live outside the city in the suburbs and go everyday to the city to work. I can understand now why there’s so much traffic all the time!

Downtown and Midtown Atlanta from Georgia Tech

Nightlife, at least in my city, is practically nonexistent (compared to Europe). When I was still dating my husband, we wanted to go eat out on a Sunday night. It wasn’t after 10 pm, but everything was closed. And on Fridays and Saturdays most restaurants close around 11pm. Where I come from, people go have dinner around 10pm and go have drinks around midnight.

How expensive healthcare is. Like, seriously. You need to pay monthly a health insurance, but you have to pay AGAIN when you go to the doctor or to the hospital. That is a profitable business…

Credit score. I still don’t know very well how it works, although I have seen on the internet guides on how to build it. Something I definitely need to study!

Portions in restaurants are huge… but you can take whatever you don’t eat in a box, which is pretty cool. I also like the fact that you don’t have to waste all the food that you can’t eat; you just have to save it in the fridge for the next meal! 🙂

Me holding a HUGE Hershey's bar

No, but really LOL

Nobody walks. When I got to the US I stayed in a hotel in Downtown. And I thought that was considered what in Europe is the city center, where everyone is. Well… my first day in the US I learned that it is not. I got out of the hotel around midday (it was a Sunday), and I walked around. There were barely a few people walking in the street, and you could imagine how surprised I was. Then, I learned that people here usually drive to wherever they are going; basically, they go from door to door. Public transportation also sucks (at least in my city), so you can see why people just drive. I guess is like a spiral…

Something that amazes me is that you can pay virtually ANYTHING with your debit/credit card. Even if it’s $1. And that’s so great! Why carry cash when you can just use a card?

Public toilets are so clean (again, in general). When I went on a crazy roadtrip to Kansas City (more about that in a future post) I stopped in pretty much every state welcome center. I specially loved the one in Kentucky: it smelled great and it had flowers in the sink counter. I don’t think I’ve had that many bad experiences in restrooms.

The US is HUGE, and takes tons of time and money to travel. It’s a pity, because I want to see EVERYTHING! LOL I didn’t think that distances here would be so big, but I guess it’s actually hard to know when you just look at a map without really knowing.


Source: Rebrn.com

It’s easier to change careers. I know a person that was housekeeping manager in a hotel that has now a job position in banking. And with no previous experience. That in Spain would have been very unthinkable.

These are just some of the things that surprised me when I first got to the US. There are more things (and I keep seeing new things every day), even some very random (people going to Wal-Mart in their pajamas?), but I don’t want to make this blog post too long 😉

Tell me, what did surprise you when you came to the US? And if you’ve been in Europe, what did surprise you the most when you got there? I’d love to read your thoughts!


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