During my vacation I had a chance to talk to a friend who used to live abroad and then decided to come back to her home country. Difference number one between me and her was that she didn't follow her husband, number two, she didn't move across the ocean. Anyways, listening to the story of someone who expatriated from her home country and came back was very interesting and made me ask myself a question: what would I miss about the US if I came back to Europe?
This is my list. What would be yours?
"Yes, you can" is not just a political slogan. It is a state of mind. Back in Europe a lot of simple things seem to be a problem or take time. In the US, nothing is actually a problem. Let's think about a refund policy-so easy in the US and so complicated in Europe.
2. Feeling comfortable
It is so easy to get used to the American comfort. For example, the air condition here is not a luxury and you recall this every time you get on the bus or come to your friend's house in Europe for a dinner. And you sweat. For no reason. And even if you had spent years living like now you are just asking yourself how you did it.Wide roads and large parking spots are another big comfort you can hardly find in tiny European cities...
3. Empty pockets
I love going around cashless. And I definitely got used to using my credit card for small amounts,too. Try to buy a coffee in Europe paying with a card! It is gonna be a challenge. It is almost like an insult to an assistant at the desk who is staring at you offended and with despise.
4. Nail spas
I guess the US wins this battle, too. I got used to American nail spas where you come whenever you want, get immediate attention as soon as you come in, you are taken care of quickly and your nails look good. In the meantime you can either work, chat with your friend, read or just relax. There are no American style nail spas in Europe (or there are very few of them). You normally will need an appointment otherwise you are never taken care of immediately. The service is much slower and you normally can't just relax since the person who is doing your mani keeps asking you all the annoying hairdresser-like questions.
5. International friends
Going to a party without meeting any locals can happen to you only in the US. On every occasion you can meet people from everywhere. Being served by a foreign waitor or hear people with accents is not considered that extraordinary or exotic. In Europe, on the other hand, they may ask about your origin as soon as they notice your accent and they start interviewing you with immigration-officer-like questions.
6. Being always right
I love American pro-client attitude. As a customer you are always right. Nobody will doubt about what you say and nobody will look at you badly when you ask a waiter to change your dish because it's raw. I guess this is the biggest cultural difference and the one it is hardest to digest.
There may be some more over the time... :)