I grew up on the other side of the world, in Asia. While I was exposed to a lot of American culture at my international school, there are aspects I did not grasp until I actually moved here. Here are five things I found impossible to understand when I first moved to the United States:


  1. Using Fahrenheit

After getting weird looks when I said “It’s 30 degrees out!” in early September, I soon realized I had to learn the strange measurement of weather used nowhere else in the world except America. While I still have Celsius as the default setting on my phone, I have a brief mental conversion chart:


Under 40: cold

40-60: a bit better

60-80: nice

80+: hot




  1. Online shopping

The variety of online shopping options — from clothes at PacSun and Urban Outfitters, makeup from ColourPop, home goods from Target and just about anything on Amazon Prime — is the best and worst thing that has happened me. I get to have everything I want and more without leaving bed, AND without an international shipping fee that asks for my soul, but those hours checking out certainly haven’t helped my bank account, either.




  1. Tipping

On my side of the world, I don’t have to pull my calculator and figure out how much extra to leave because service charge is included in the overall bill. However, I not only learned tipping is essential in America, but so is tipping the right amount. Leaving too little can be seen as a sign of disrespect or bad service.




  1. Food portions

I will never forget going to the Cheesecake Factory for the first time. I ordered appetizers and an entree only to realize I was stuffed after my appetizer. The portions here are so huge that I sometimes wish that the kiddy menu was still an option. The bright side is that I have friends who are sometimes willing to share, and take out is always an option. #leftoversfordays




  1. Sports

I don’t think I will ever understand the complexity of sports, but I have learned a few things. People love watching and talking about men running around fields in uniforms and get either really happy or angry with their TV during games. The quarterback does something with running and throwing, and a touchdown is a good thing. Go Pats!