around the world

A Russian girl who has been living in the USA for 4 years, told about things that still surprise her

My name is Karina . Just over 4 years ago, my husband and I packed our whole life in 4 weighty boxes and 2 suitcases and boarded one-way tickets to Seattle with one-way tickets. Upon arrival, it became clear that the US is a completely different world, with its pluses and minuses.

12. To get to the therapist, you have to wait a couple of weeks

I have never been able to make an appointment with a therapist before 2-3 weeks. I usually ask any therapist to get to. And some wait their turn for more than a month. In the United States, the entire medical system works a little differently. You yourself on the site of the clinic need to find a doctor, and then call and write to him. It’s just that you queue up the queue and you can not get on the same day, it’s possible only if you go to an ambulance.

Separately it is necessary to say that medicine here is very expensive. If there is no insurance, then it is about thousands of dollars. But even if there is insurance, it often covers medical services only partially. I now, taking into account the insurance payments, took out 4 wisdom teeth for $ 1,300 (this is about 82,000 rubles), and the insurance company paid another 2,000 from above.

11. Very expensive cellular communication and the Internet


There are quite a lot of mobile operators in the States, but there are some obvious leaders that the overwhelming majority of residents use. A month of cellular service with a modest Internet package costs from $ 50. Imagine, for two it’s $ 100 (about 6,000 rubles) every month. Home Internet costs an average of $ 80 per inhabitant of America. Watching a number of TV channels is also a paid pleasure.

10. Taxes are not included in the cost of goods and services

One of the most unpleasant news for those who come to the US for the first time, is that taxes are not included in the cost of goods. This is not so noticeable when you buy something small, but if it comes to, let’s say, buying for $ 1,000, it is already becoming palpable. The tax in all states is the same, here we have about 10%. This is immediately another $ 100 to the purchase price for $ 1,000. The same tax is imposed on all services.

9. Do you plan to have a pet? It is necessary to pay extra

In all apartments (that is, when a building is owned by one company, and not private individuals), if you want to start a pet, you first need to make a deposit (from $ 300 to $ 600), and then monthly to pay an average of $ 50. In case the apartment is your property, as a rule, there is also a monthly payment for the pet. And it’s not very pleasant.

8. There are no New Year holidays in the States

It’s no secret that in the US Christmas is a more important holiday than the New Year. There are a couple of days off for Christmas, after Christmas, US residents again go to work, and then again get 1 or 2 days off in honor of the New Year. And that’s all. While Russia is walking, in America everything is already in full swing. But in fact, not so much to the number of days off is hard to get used to, but to the fact that there is no such holiday in the New Year itself. People have already thrown out Christmas trees by this time.

7. Sorting of garbage in 3 containers

Immediately I will say that this is not so in all of America, but in Seattle, environmental protection is very kind. Waste is divided into 3 types: garbage, compost and processing. It seems that everything is logical, but sorting is really not easy.

For example, a plastic bottle is recycling, and a lid is rubbish. One plastic bag is rubbish too, but if you collect a lot of packages and put it all together, then it’s recycling. The used cardboard plate can be sent to both compost and garbage, depending on its composition. Once a week you have to take out trash containers on the road, and if everything is badly sorted, then you can make a remark or even fine.

6. America is a country of motorists

You know, in the States there are wonderful roads. No, there are, of course, broken, but more often still the coverage is very even. Here fantastic automobile interchanges in some levels, and by the car it is possible to go round easy all country – even in the most remote place the road will be very much even anything. But how I miss the trains! The railway is very poorly developed. Train tickets are so expensive that it’s cheaper to fly by plane. And there are very few directions.

Just the other day I saw a ticket for the train Seattle-Los Angeles: $ 300 one-way and more than 30 hours on the road, the plane can be bought for $ 150 round-trip and only a few hours in flight. And yes, even by car it’s much faster – 18 hours. I do not know who uses trains here. But, it is worth paying tribute, the cars here are much cheaper than in Russia.

5. Huge tips


In the US, you can leave the usual 10% tip, only if the service is not very like. Usually the tip is 18-20%. And now imagine – over the cost indicated in the menu, you pay about 10% tax, then another 20% of the tip, the tax on alcohol and sometimes there is also a kitchen pick-up.

The same thing happens in the entire service sector – tips should be left for the services of a hairdresser, manicure, car washing. All the same 20%.

4. Want to get a job – forget about shyness

America loves young, daring and desperate. It is desirable to have all these qualities at once. “When I took up my first job, I came to the office without an invitation a couple of days after the interview and just asked when to go to work?” – told my American friend when I just moved. “There is nothing in this,” he assured me, noticing my surprise.

Later I realized how right he was. I sent out resumes to dozens of companies – there was no response at all. No refusal, no invitation. I will not hide, I was worried that with all my experience I did not even want to take for free. And I would send letters, if not for one company, where I really wanted to get. I wrote such a cover letter to them that it was impossible to answer. Of course, they did not answer. Then I decided to call. As it turned out, no one ever saw my letter. But after the call I got a direct contact from their senior recruiter and even arranged for a personal meeting.

By the way, the trick with “when to go to work” I used in Seattle Fashion Week, and it worked. I was immediately introduced to the team. At once! At first I could not get used to it for a long time, but in order to get what you want in the USA, it is necessary not to be afraid and to leave the comfort zone. It’s not only the work concerns, but generally the attitude to life. Nobody will be here with you. But it will only harden you and make you better.

3. America does not walk all night until the morning


The words of the famous song Tsoi “walked all night until the morning” is definitely not about the US. In each state, the sale of alcohol is regulated slightly in different ways, but most often at 2 am the sale in bars and restaurants stops. Together with the sale of alcohol, all these establishments close the doors to visitors. So, somewhere by 2:30 everything is already safely at home. In Seattle there are a couple of establishments that work until the morning, but of course the night life of Petersburg and Moscow can not be compared. They say that things are different in New York, but I have not checked it yet.

However, in Seattle many places are closed early. Shopping centers usually stop working at 9 pm, coffee houses in general at 6 (some at 3!), Small cafes and eateries at 8 pm.

2. The art of “small talk”

Americans like to chat. In a taxi, on a bus, at a stop, in an elevator, at the checkout, at a store, at the post office, and if they just ran into them. Here it is called “small talk”, and to maintain such a conversation – a whole art. I still have 2 topics – weather and traffic jams, Americans are cleverly discussing all kinds of superficial questions without stopping.

But such communication, though not always comfortable, taught me to easily get acquainted with people. When I come home, I myself wish everyone a good morning in the elevator and ask “how are you doing” at the checkout.

1. Coffee instead of tea

I only after a few months of life in the United States felt this dirty trick – in almost every institution you will be poured coffee, but tea is a rarity. Most likely, there is a bag, but you can forget about the leaf. And if in Russia cafes and restaurants compete in the one who has a tea card steeper, then there is not much love for this drink.

There are special tea houses where you can order a tea ceremony for $ 60. Here you can indulge in interesting tea, and then it will just be leaf tea – no ginger additives, mint leaves or fresh sea-buckthorn. Yes, and these houses in Seattle, it seems, only 2. In Russia, I adored with my friends to go out for tea with dessert in different interesting places in the evening, and here people mostly go to a glass of wine the other night. They just did not try our tea.

Some things can not be understood, others are difficult to get used to, but the main thing is to simply accept them. After all, coming to live in another country, it is important to understand that this is a different story, different people and a completely different mentality. Perhaps, something for me will always remain a little alien, but here is my second home, and he found a place in my heart.

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