9 things I both love AND hate about living in the USA

9 things I both love AND hate about living in the USA

Today’s post was inspired by my recent trip to visit family in Australia. It’s crazy to think I’ve lived in Boston for a year. One year ago when I left Melbourne, Australia I never thought I would be referring to Boston as “home.” I still remember finding my first few months in Boston painful, and some of you might remember, I even cried in a restaurant, as I felt so homesick.

I year later, and I have grown to love Boston and fondly think of Boston as home.

The funny thing is, I’ve always had a strange love-hate relationship with the places I call home. I feel this way about my home city of Melbourne, Australia and my second home of Malaysia, where a lot of my extended family still live. I love both these countries, but there are many reasons why I don’t love these places, and I have moments where I think “only in Australia” or “trust this to happen in Malaysia.”

I’ve started to feel this way about living in the USA, and my recent trip to Australia reminded me of the many differences in culture that exist between these two English speaking nations.

In celebration of my time abroad (and my visit to Australia!) I’ve put together a fun post about 9 things I love AND hate about living in the USA:

 

1. I love… Online shopping in the States (because it’s next level awesome)

I’ve never been a huge online shopper. After moving to Boston however, I found myself wanting to buy all the things. You can buy everything (groceries included) online. Not only can you get everything online, but you can also have them delivered to your doorstep in TWO days.

Yes, you read that correctly… Two days.

I still remember ordering a couch on Wallmart for our (very) empty apartment and it arriving at our front door a few days later. In Australia having a couch delivered would involve waiting at least a week, taking a day of leave so that you can be there to receive the couch, and letting delivery men into your house.

You’re probably thinking… Why would you hate online shopping in the US though, it sounds great!

This accessibility has made me want to buy everything, including this caffinated soap from Amazon – because who doesn’t want caffine when they shower?!

 

2. I love… Tipping (no really, hear me out)

I think it’s great how clear it is where your money is going. Tipping gives you the flexibility to reward great service and punish poor service. While the rest of the world is like “huh, what – tips?!” having a tipping culture encourages customer service.

But you know what tipping also does?

It tests your mental arithmetic skills.

I’m an Engineering graduate, and yet for the life of me, I struggle to calculate how much to tip. I mean, after a large meal, who can think, let alone figure out how much they need to tip?

I’m not going to lie: I still use my calculator to tell me what 20% of $10 is.

 

3. I love… How cheap Avos are in America 

For those who have visited Australia before and have been to cafes or had brunch in Melbourne, you’ll probably get the sense we are avocado-obsessed down under. Known as “avo” to Australians, we love it on sourdough toast with poached eggs, served with feta and a squeeze of lemon.

Words cannot express how much WE LOVE AVOS here.

Australia is basically in what feels like an avo drought, and we will happily pay $2.50 for one measly avocado at the supermarket.

But Americans? Are drowning in Avos. I can buy a whole BAG of avocados for $5.

This is a great thing, except because I am Australian, I will inevitably buy more avocados than I could possibly use because they are just so damn cheap.

To show how much Australians love avos, I leave you with a video of an avo coffee – the peak of avo love in Melbourne:

Combing two of Melbourne's obsessions – lattes and avo 😂

A post shared by Truman Cafe (@trumancafealbertpark) on

 

4. I love… Eating burgers in the US 

I know, as an Australian this seems bizarre. How much better could a burger be? Trust me; burgers can be bloody amazing.

I thought Australia had good, decent burgers. Then I moved to the US, and the burgers were next level awesome (don’t even talk to me about Shake Shack, they are 100% my reason for living).

But why do I hate having access to good burgers?

Burgers are not exactly nutritious… I guess that’s why my jeans feel tighter.

This is the stuff dreams (and nightmares) are made of:

Superstitious or super hungry? 📷: @willardengelmann #shakeshack

A post shared by SHAKE SHACK (@shakeshack) on

 

5. I love… Getting leftovers every time I eat out

Yes, yes and yes! Everything is bigger here: airports, cars, highways… and portion sizes. I can never finish my meal when eating out in the US and always end up getting whatever I don’t eat in a doggie bag to take home.

Every time this happens, the inner MG is fist pumping and thinking “YES I AM SAVING MONEY.”

But my stomach is like “oh god, you’ve already tried to fit so much in, and you’re going to do this again tomorrow?!”

The struggle is real:

 

6. I love… How big America is 

I recall speaking to a young American couple in their late 20’s when I was in Israel this year, who admitted that they hadn’t had passports before visiting Israel. They had never been overseas. My travel obsessed mind could not comprehend this.

The truth is, there is so much you can experience in the US that you can’t blame Americans for wanting to see more of their country rather than exploring others. I mean, DISNEY LAND exists in multiple states in America (on both the EAST & WEST coasts).

Why would I want to go overseas, when instead, I can go to the happiest place on earth??

Disneyland aside, it’s amazing the variety of experiences that exist here. In what other country can you experience both the craziness that is New York City AND go hiking in the Grand Canyon? I’ve been kayaking in the Everglades here, pretended to gamble in Las Vegas and eaten lobster rolls in Maine. It’s nuts how you can do all these things without even leaving the country. The vastness of the US means you can take a domestic holiday, all without worrying about dealing with international flights and insurance.

The downside of this?

As someone who has lived in the US for a year, the sheer number of states becomes overwhelming. I can’t believe I am about to admit this – but I just can’t keep track of them all. Not only is there too many to remember (I swear I’m learning about a new state every week) some of the cities and states even have the same names. I mean: there’s Washington DC, and then there’s a state called Washington too?? And there’s Portland in Maine, but also Portland in Oregon??

How does everyone remember it all???

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:  Top 5 must have experiences in the Everglades

7. I love… How cheap flights are to Europe from the East Coast

If you live on the West Coast, I’m sorry, but sometimes I cannot believe the sale fares I come across from NYC and Boston to Europe. To give you an idea of how cheap flights are, I managed to score $300 USD return flights from Boston to Iceland. Yes. Return. With Iceland Air.

I feel like New Yorkers are drowning in sale fares to Europe – and every time I come across a sale, I can’t help but reach for my wallet, only to remember that no, I’m here to explore the US – not Europe.

This last year has been a test of my ability to refrain from constantly booking flights to Europe.

The struggle is real.

 

8. I love… How talkative people are here 

This sounds so weird when I type it. If you’re American, you probably have no idea what I’m talking about. The truth is, while Australians are a friendly bunch, we’re not as friendly (or should I say outspoken) as Americans are.

Living in the US and traveling here, I have never spoken to so many random people I didn’t know previously.

To give you a taste, I’ve had conversations with: people waiting in line for the toilet, people waiting in line to board the plane, people at the next table in the restaurant I was eating dinner at, people in the post office and even people waiting at the traffic lights to cross the street.

The talkative nature of Americans I have come across has astounded me and allowed me to learn more about what it’s like to live here. The downside? I’m a massive introvert, and sometimes I want to tape a sign to my head with the words “please don’t talk to me.”

This is actually how I feel sometimes:

 

9. I love… F’all, y’all. 

I never really understood this “fall” thing. Then I moved to Boston, and next thing I knew, I was obsessed with fall. I was obsessed with the leaves, with apple picking, with warm comfy jumpers and anything with pumpkin and/or cinnamon in it.

I have proclaimed over the last few weeks on Instagram, how much I LOVE FALL.

But what I haven’t proclaimed is how much money I have spent on hiring cars to go leaf peeping, the many disappointing pumpkin spiced lattes I’ve tried, and I also haven’t mentioned the very large bag of apples sitting in my fridge from going apple picking. (secretly, I don’t even like apples)

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:  10 free things to do in Boston

Fall is serious business in America (or at least in New England), and while it’s bucket loads of fun (I mean, who doesn’t want to sit on the back of a wagon at an Apple Orchid?!) you can also find yourself getting sucked into fall activities and spending way too much $$.

 

And after all that rambling – yes, I think I’ve developed a love-hate relationship with America. But despite all this, I still refer to Boston as home. Secretly, just between you and me? I’m excited about leaving Australia and heading back home to Boston (shhh don’t tell my Australian friends!)

 

Tell me: Have you ever been to the US?

What did you love about it? What did you hate about it?

Leave me a comment and let me know!

 

 

 

 

Sick of always wondering how other people afford to travel so often?

101_ways_you_can_save_money_on_your_travels_screenshot

Download our FREE guide to 101 ways you can save money on your travels! This guide is filled with practical advice on how to save money when planning your vacation.

Enter your email here and we'll send your freebie, PLUS you'll get access to our travel lover's resource library, filled with checklists and budget-friendly guides.

Spam is evil - I promise not to send you spam, just 100% travel lovin' awesome-ness here! Powered by ConvertKit
Follow:

17 Comments

  1. October 20, 2017 / 7:28 pm

    Ive only been to NYC a few years ago. I am wanting to do a cali trip next year. I hope it works out. cus like you said America is BIG, so much to see, just like my home country Brazil., so much to explore! AND OMG I want to try in ‘n out burgers!

  2. October 20, 2017 / 7:43 pm

    I moved from France to Australia and if I had to do a list like that, I’d put some of these exact same things! (talkative, burgers, leftovers) Hence, it makes me wonder how it is in the US compared to France ahahah
    I only spent a 24-hour stopover in the US. I got crazy at calculating tips. I had no idea my arithmetics skills were buried that deep in my brain. I found it so helpful when they added a few lines to the bill to give an estimate of a few %!

  3. October 20, 2017 / 8:40 pm

    $5 for a BAG of avos??? SIGN ME UP. The flight would pay for itself in a year with bargains like that!! Hahahaha. I’ve not been to the U.S., but I’ve noticed the talkative thing – when I was in Israel recently (where you bump into an American tourist every few feet), I noticed how much they love to chat, and LOUDLY. The U.S. will remain on my “one day” list for a while I think – mostly because of the domestic travel options you mentioned, I won’t want to visit until I know I can stay a good long while. Still, you never know…! Thank you for sharing <3

  4. October 20, 2017 / 9:09 pm

    This was so fun to read as an American! Made me smile. It’s always interesting to see your home culture from an outsider’s perspective. 🙂 And especially since I’m from New England–I love that you’re getting to experience my home area. (Not only is the US very big, there are definite subcultures in different regions!) And the names of cities and states – yes, it’s a bit confusing. Being from Maine, I always get annoyed when people just say “Portland” to refer to Portland, OR. I always want to say, “Hey, we’ve got a Portland over here on this coast, and it’s pretty amazing!” Haha.
    Anyway, glad you’re enjoying Boston!

  5. October 20, 2017 / 9:22 pm

    I absolutely loved your post. It’s so interesting reading this as someone who has only lived in the US! Yes, burgers, fall, and online shopping are what we Americans live for?

  6. October 21, 2017 / 6:22 am

    Very funny post! Such an interesting viewpoint as an outsider experiencing the country with fresh eyes and an open mind 🙂

  7. October 21, 2017 / 7:42 am

    As a native of the US I really enjoyed reading this because I was able to get a different point of view. It’s funny (in a good way!) the things you enjoy and I think that’s great. The talkative thing is definitely not good though 😉

  8. October 21, 2017 / 8:13 am

    Having only lived in the U.S. my entire life, I guess I take so much of these things for granted. Your post made me giggle and agree. LOL! I’m from Texas, so “y’all” is just part of my vocabulary ;).

  9. October 21, 2017 / 9:10 am

    Lol, such an entertaining read and love the GIFs too! I find the same thing with the love-hate relationship with your home and adopted home country. Constantly think ‘urgh this would only happen in..’ The life of an expat eh?

  10. October 21, 2017 / 9:46 am

    I’m an American and I totally appreciate this list! I’m glad you’ve found some great things to enjoy while you’ve been here! I totally know what you mean about the burgers though!

  11. October 21, 2017 / 9:55 am

    I never thought about tips this way, but I totally agree with you! And I couldn’t agree with you more on the fall piece! I’ve only called one state home so far, so this was a fascinating read to learn about this perspective.

  12. October 21, 2017 / 1:35 pm

    The online shopping here is amazing. I would stay here for just that reason alone. I can’t remember the last time I went clothes shopping. Can I also make the confession that I’m not a huge fan of US malls, while I’m here?

  13. October 22, 2017 / 12:35 am

    Loved reading this! I have lived in america my whole life, so I guess I didn’t even realize some of these things, but it’s true! Can’t wait to visit your homeland in Australia someday and write about all the things I love there too 🙂

  14. October 22, 2017 / 3:58 am

    I really enjoyed reading your perspective on the US! I wrote something similar after I’d spent a year in London. 🙂

    YES to the avocado situation! I’m currently living in Singapore where I just paid $3.50 for ONE avocado. And chances are it will be bad when I slice it. We are ridiculously spoiled with fresh produce in the States!

    I think you might be the only person who likes how we tip in the US. 😉 I also can’t figure percentages very well and have to use the calculator on my phone nearly every time. The problem with thinking of tipping as rewarding/punishing for service is that, particularly in the food industry, servers make pennies by the hour and so DEPEND on those tips. So even if I get lousy service, I can’t justify not leaving a tip because than that person makes almost nothing for serving me. I’d much rather just pay our servers a regular wage and only tip when I get extraordinary service or something!

  15. October 23, 2017 / 7:56 pm

    Omg I agree with EVERYTHING you mentioned here! I just moved back to Sydney after living in NYC for 2 years, and the thing I miss most is online shopping. We’re trying to fill our new apartment with furniture, and the act of physically going to a store and figuring out how to get our purchases to our new place without a car is a giant pain in the backside. I’m seriously excited for Amazon to launch in Aus next year haha!

  16. October 27, 2017 / 2:29 am

    Really interesting article. I’m Australian and have always wondered whether I’ll like or dislike America. Part of me feels like a lot of things about the culture would annoy me, but I really need to go there and see for myself because I might end up falling in love with the place. Thanks for sharing <3

  17. October 27, 2017 / 4:58 pm

    This is an exceptional piece of writing to read. I loved reading your pros and cons. I’d definitely love to try an American burger!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *