Thursday, December 20, 2012

Month 9

Yesterday marked nine whole months since we said our farewells in Holland and moved to the USA! Three quarters of the way to a year already, my how time has flown.

The good...

- You don't have to ask for the bill (check) at restaurants. It just gets dropped off at your table - this is awesome when you have a cranky toddler who is ready to leave because it's more then likely the bill was delivered long ago and you don't have to spend half an hour waving down a waiter and waiting for them to deliver the bill while said child bangs his head on the table!

- Most restaurants seem to be pretty child friendly. There definitely are some around that I wouldn't walk into with Mr Oliver, but on the whole there are always high chairs available and kids menus. Oh and they tend to always bring out the kids meal asap - awesome!

- Again, about eating about - every restaurant we've been to allows you to split the bill! You can hand over multiple credit cards without them blinking an eye. I LOVE this - in Europe and Australia, most restaurants have a 1 bill per table policy which can make things messy when you're eating out in a group.

- The holiday spirit is kinda awesome. Yes, it's very commercial but I love walking through Target and seeing all the seasonal candy available, the decorations everywhere, the number of Christmas events in the local community...

- Drive through atms, drive through library return, drive through food, drive through Starbucks... Need I say any more :-)

The bad...

- There's not only no ring pull cans (this still annoys me), but spray deodorant doesn't exist either. They don't even have traditional roll on - you can only get deodorant in stick form. It's strange, I don't like it and I'm thinking I need to get our next visitors to bring me a stash of Rexona.

- Prices are deceiving and frustrating to figure out how much you actually owe on certain things. Prices exclude tax (which differs between states) and then you have to tip on top of that for certain things. I hate with a passion trying to figure out when tipping is appropriate, how much I should tip and then how much that percentage is of my bill and what it all adds up to. Me & maths just don't mix.

- Although the holiday spirit is awesome, from October onwards it's also rather overwhelming. It felt like Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas just mushed into one enormous, over commercialized event. I love it, but at the same time I find it exhausting. I know it's not possible but it'd be nice if they were spread out over the year a little more.

- Ok, so for the most part the weather here in the bay area is awesome. Sunshine, mild temperatures, clear blue skies... But when it rains, it pours. And it sets in for days. And I begin to wonder what the sun looked like and how on earth I survived those two overcast years in Holland :-)

The hmmmmm moments...

- Ads on tv... Where do I start?!?! They have these CRAZY medical ads here. I'm calling them crazy because it seems that you have to verbalize each and every possible side effect for medications to advertise them. So you're looking at images of happy, smiling, well people and all you can hear is blah blah medication has been known to cause cancer, fatal heart defects, liver disease, paranoia, severe depression and hair loss. I like to be well informed but I'd prefer to read about it on the packet, thanks. 

- Everywhere else in the world I've been, Starbucks is the lowest of the low when it comes to quality coffee. Mitch loves nothing better then to 'pay it out' as we Aussies would say :-) In the USA however, where coffee comes poured out of a jug at cafes (imagine all those American movies & tv shows you watched growing up where the characters are at a diner and the waitress pours coffee constantly out of a glass jug on the counter - it's not a myth) 99% of time rather then being individually made. So, Starbucks is pretty fancy pants. I'm just thankful I don't drink coffee anymore :-)

- We live in Silicon Valley. The area of emerging technologies. Yet I feel like banking here is wayyyy behind the rest of the world. Cheques (aka checks) are used EVERYWHERE. For the first time in my life, we have a cheque book. Even when we do an online transfer with our bank account, it sends a check to the payee rather then a direct deposit. Frustrating much!?!?

- So I know to tip wait staff at a restaurant. A taxi driver. But do I tip when ordering take out? What about a babysitter? A hairdresser? Some I've been to have the tipping option on the card machine, others just put through my payment without even asking if I want to give a tip. I hate this tipping thing - it drives me nuts trying to figure out who I should be tipping!!!!

- The local weather channel cracks me up. It flashes big headlines - STORMS! BAD STORMS hitting the bay area!!!! Watch further and you'll see that these 'storms' they are referring to are actually just rain. Nothing serious, just some water coming down but it makes big news here apparently.

- I have been thinking for the past couple of months that I had developed some kind of super strength since having Ollie because the weights I have been pushing at the gym are so much heavier then what I used to be able to do. Yesterday I realised that the machines are in pounds, not kilos... :-(

- Apparently whingey isn't a word here (when referring to my whingey toddler). Whine yes, but whinge no...

Nine months in - it feels like we've been here forever, yet some days I still feel like such a newcomer...


  1. Thanks for hopping by Thumping Thursdays and sharing the badge on your blog.

  2. I remember spray deodorant and roll on deodorant!! So it was stateside at least at some point ;) I'll have to look next time I go to the store... guess its just not on my radar anymore! And I think the rule of thumb with tipping is anyone who is a service person it is generally expected. For example: hair dressers (let's make that all salon people including waxers, mani/pedi etc.), food delivery, wait staff, drivers, movers, and that's all I can think of! And I haven't had a babysitter since LK was born that we've hired or paid but from what I remember when I babysat I didn't get tips.

  3. Great post on the USA! I've never been there before, so this will definitely provide much needed insight and information on the county, if I ever go there on a holiday. :)

  4. Hi! I'm Vickilicious from your newest follower all the way from Greece and the Thumping Thursdays Blog Hop! Looking forward to reading your blog! Please stop by mine and see if you like it!

  5. Following from Thumping Thursdays Blog Hop. I hate the tipping system too, they should really just add it into the cost.


  6. This is so fun to read and see your perspective. Really enjoyed it! We are just north of you up in Sonoma County. Thank you for coming by my blog and following! I am your newest follower


  7. I love your comparisons! Having lived in the U.S. my whole life, I am still annoyed by some of the same things. The holidays are so overwhelming. I actually saw Christmas stuff in stores before Halloween this year!
    The medical commercials annoy the crap out of me.
    As for tipping, most of us Americans don't know when we are supposed to tip either. True story, my dad had never tipped a waitress/bartender until he met my mom. He didn't know it was 'expected.'
    How about all the Christmas gifts? Do you really have to get people like your garbage man a gift? Sure, I appreciate the work they do, but a gift?
    Have a wonderful holiday.

  8. I loved reading the double perspective! I'm your latest follower. :)

  9. I completely agree about the coffee! We have NO idea what good coffee is. Hello, people...there's a reason the drink called an "Americano" is espresso and WATER! We've spent some (not nearly enough) time in England and Spain, and every time I come back missing the coffee. Of course, now I'm back to living for Starbucks. Sigh.


Thanks for reading, your comments make my day :-)


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