Whatup ya’ll? I’ve been dying to talk to you about this and have contemplated doing a youtube video or article but figured I should start here. There are so many quirks about being immersed in a different country and experiencing all of the cultural variations compared to what I was used to. I’ve grown to love and appreciate both countries for all they have to offer and without getting too political, here are a few goofy variations between the two powerhouses of the world Australia and The United States of American that you HAVEN’T heard of:
- Gas- Pouring gas (PETROL) at a GAS station is a flawless experience in the US. You have the luxury of swiping your debit/credit card at the pump and not stepping foot in the gas station, unless of coarse you prefer to pay with cash. Yes SHOCKER, the first time I experienced this I couldn’t help but wonder why Australia is lacking in this department. Not only is it more efficient but it’ll give you time to grab a coffee before heading into work, which brings me to point numero duo.
- Drive through coffee- I know I know, before I knew this actually existed, I was 100% convinced that Starbucks stole this very concept from my “Million Dollar Ideas Notebook” from my very own bedroom in Sydney Australia. I decided not to pursue a lawsuit though 😛 Anyhow, once again, America wins in the efficiency department but it can also have some drawbacks. 1. Promote laziness. 2. Rushed culture- so rushed that for a few years there I genuinely forgot that coffee is best consumed in a coffee mug. One of my absolutely favorite things to do in Australia is to drink a coffee at a cafe by the beach while reading a book. A concept that has regrettably become foreign to me over the past 4 years.
- Grocery Stores- The amount of grocery stores in the United States are truly inconceivable. Not only that, but some of the grocery stores are open 24 hours! Whilst initially being very excited about this concept, I later realized how much I value the earlier closing hours in Australia as it allowed for more family time once my parents came home from work. They weren’t running to the grocery store at 9pm or trying to catch up with errands but instead were setting the dining room table and blessing us with a warm and comforting familial experience that I still cherish.
- TARGET SELLS GROCERIES- Yes you heard me correctly. When Jake and I first began speaking, he would ALWAYS be at target. I started to really question how many pairs of underwear or thermals (aka majici for you Macedonians because that’s the only thing I ever bought from Target) he really needed. So naturally, I questioned him as a person and just presumed that he needed to layer up for the winter. UNTIL…… I discovered that Target in fact has a large grocery section, with some targets even having two stories high with special trolly escalators ( I can post a video to prove it). This of coarse scored him MAJOR brownie points as he is always DTGG (down to get groceries). Funnily enough target is now my second home and trumps an Australian Target by miles..or kilometers…whatever.
- Differences in the same product- Surprise surprise, the US allows majorly messed up ingredients in their food and products. To be honest, when I first discovered grocery stores in the US, the sheer volume of products excited me like a kid in a candy store, all of the different flavors of pop-tarts, 20 different brands of peanut butter, 50 different kinds of cereal, hard liquor on the shelves, zero calorie butter and oil. I was in heaven, until I realized that it is an overabundance of pure crap. Not only do products contain carcinogenic ingredients that are completely banned throughout Europe, New Zealand and Australia i.e Azodicarbonamide (ADA) is a yoga mat chemical that is found in commercially baked bread and serves as a whitening agent and dough conditioner. The World Health Organization links ADA to disease but the FDA hasn’t banned its consumption. On top of the highly toxic ingredients, some of your favorite food products just don’t taste the same- because they’re not the same. Lets isolate a few examples below:
unbleached enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), whole grain wheat flour, soybean oil, sugar, partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, leavening (calcium phosphate, and/or baking soda), salt, high fructose corn syrup, soy lecithin.
Wheat Flour, Vegetable Oil, Sugar, Raising Agents (Ammonium and Sodium Bicarbonates, Disodium Diphosphate), Salt, Glucose Syrup, barley Malt Flour.
Doritos, Nutella and even rice cakes are likely going to contain some sort of artificial ingredient or filler. As a matter of fact Starbursts candy in America contains gelatin (banned throughout the rest of the world). Gelatin is made from the body parts of infected and drugged animals that aren’t used for fast food, like muscles, hooves, feet, hides and connective tissues. It’s all boiled down (reduced), loaded with sugar and food coloring, and sold as candy. Other countries ban gelatin, knowing how toxic it can be for humans to consume, but not America! It’s been a challenge navigating through these waters and having to initially spend a greater amount of time at the grocery store but once you know what to look out for or which brands to seek out, you will be a well conditioned health machine.
- University/College- Uni students almost ALWAYS move out of home after graduating high school and mostly go to an entirely different state in which they were raised. While some University students in Australia do live on campus, it is far more common to live at home while simultaneously holding down a job. In the Australian-European culture it is only acceptable to move out once you get married. Although some rebellious young adults have rebutted this tradition (including myself) it is far more common than not. Comparatively, in the US, it would be completely unusual to stay at home while going to Collage, especially living with your parents after you graduate indefinitely, and your decision being dependent on marriage. You would most likely be referred to a “loser”…in Australia we call it being “smart” 😉
- Culture- Americans don’t identify themselves by their culture. Presumably due to their earlier settlement. Unless you are an immigrant it is very rare to identify a person by their heritage. I find this one so fascinating because in Australia that would be one of the very first things that we would know about someone. So much so, that we would know what a strangers heritage was before we even knew their name. Australia is a vastly multicultural place, with people sharing their differing perspectives, values and traditions openly. Sure, the U.S is referred to as a “large melting pot” of cultures and people, but in my experience it is far less culturally expansive when compared to Australia. Certain States and Cities do have greater diversity such as Los Angeles, New York, Texas and New Jersey but when it comes to the Mid-West, let’s just say I get excited when I come across people with different cultural backgrounds.
What did you think of our article? Where there things that surprised you? Comment below and let us know whether you’re interesting in a Part 2!!