Skyscrapers, warehouses, ads everywhere, huge portion sizes.. The United States are like a whole other world in some aspects. Here are some things that really amazed me when I visited the United States in 2011 and in 2013 .
I had seen lots of pictures of the incredibly high skyscrapers of New York, but I was still amazed when I arrived there. In the Netherlands we have maybe three skyscrapers in the centre of The Hague and a few in Rotterdam, but over here, almost every building is a skyscraper! If you’re used to Amsterdam like me, with the small canal houses, you will also be amazed by these tall constructions.
Okay, we do have Starbucks now in the big cities in the Netherlands, but when I first visited the United States in 2011, Starbucks was something very rare for me. And I heard americans talk about it on the internet a lot, saying they were going to get Starbucks or taking pictures of Starbucks cups with their name on it. So that’s why I thought it was quite special when I saw an american Starbucks for the first time in Miami.
I mean we have bakeries in the Netherlands that sell a few kinds of donuts but americans have a store dedicated entirely to donuts! There are so many choices; different fillings, toppings and different shapes. I hope Dunkin’ Donuts follows Starbucks soon, so there will also be some donut stores in the Netherlands.
The crazy amount of ads and commercials
Ads are literally everywhere. When you watch tv in the United States, it seems like the commercials are every 5 minutes. How can you enjoy a television show when there are commercials every 5 minutes? Also, you will see almost every celebrity you have ever heard of in one commercial or ad during your stay in the United States. And there are also commercials of medicines. In the Netherlands, the doctor decides what medicine you should take, so there’s no reason to advertise a medicine. And when you are driving down any road near a city, there are lots of illuminated ads as well!
So many all-you-can-eat restaurants
It seems as if almost half of the signs for restaurants have the phrase “all you can eat” on them. And it doesn’t even cost that much either. One time we went out to eat at one of these all you can eat buffets and I heard one family say: “Make sure you don’t eat too much, kids, remember, we’re going to another restaurant afterwards.” I don’t understand how big their stomachs must have been, because I was already completely full after one and a half plate.
The huge portion sizes
I remember the first time we went out to eat in the United States. My sister and I were both craving pizza, so we both ordered a medium one. The waiter was kind of surprised, saying: “Sure? Two pizza’s?” And we were like: “Yes, of course.” Then the pizzas arrived. They were the biggest pizzas I had ever seen in my life. They were huge, bigger than a Dutch large pizza. I think I only finished half of my pizza. Then the waiter asked us if we wanted to take the rest of the pizza home. We looked at him with confused looks, because no one had ever asked us this anywhere in Europe. We said “No, thank you.” and ordered small portions in every american restaurant from that day.
I mean, we also have very religious places in the Netherlands, but the most extreme thing is that the girls can only wear long skirts instead of pants and that all the stores stay closed on sundays. I was amazed to see that in the United States, there are people living without electricity or cars, where the women wear caps and the guys can have beards, but no mustaches.
Big warehouses like Walmart
In the United States, you have these huge warehouses, where you can buy everything you would ever need. In the Netherlands you just have supermarkets for your groceries, clothing stores for your clothes, drugstores for your shampoo, makeup and medicines etcetera. But here, you have it all in one! It’s more efficient, because you don’t need to go to five stores, you can buy everything in one go! My only question is, why are there more than 30 kinds of peanut butter?
Kids in the United States get picked up with the school bus to go to school and get dropped off at home again when they’re done. Lucky you! In the Netherlands every kid has to cycle to school everyday, sometimes really far. And if you want to go to a school that’s too far away to cycle, you’ll need to take public transit.