American Culture

I have only been in the USA for approximately 3 days, 12 hours, and 42 minutes but from the moment I touched down in Miami, I knew I was in for lots of surprises. I expected to be welcomed with lots of friendly faces speaking English, but I think there are more people speaking Spanish than English – oddly enough, I felt a little bit more comfortable hearing another language!

I am in a lot more culture shock than I expected to be, there are just so many differences between a big city like Dallas and an unknown village called Kalloni. Let me paint you a picture of some of the major contrasts. Before I left the island, the sun was getting hotter and hotter and the beaches were becoming more and more crowded. Foreigners and locals were filling the coffee shops drinking gallons of instant coffees (like frappes) and rolling dozens of cigarettes to smoke hand in hand with their coffees. There (surprisingly) isn’t much chit-chat during the 2-3 hour coffee breaks and relatively little mobile phone use at all. As a matter of fact, people are just in another world and seem to have very little stress or worry, or maybe it is because they are too bored to really do anything more than sit and drink their coffees. As far as traveling within Greece/Europe, people also kept to themselves and even packed their own snacks, they take their time and never seem to be in a hurry for anything. I had a ridiculous argument with the baggage check-in lady because she came at me ready for a fight or at least in my perspective, she did NOT know the meaning of the word customer service. One of my biggest pet-peeves is that (especially in Greece) people don’t really know their jobs like they should, you should always be ready to be ping-ponged from office to office or person to person.

While I have been trying to transition here, I have gone through a little culture shock, or rather reverse culture shock. I never expected to see EVERYONE with iphones, the expression “everyone and their grandma has one” is totally true – my Nana actually has an iphone!!! There were also so many people with iphones, ipads, kindles, and other entertainment devices, and if they weren’t busy with something electronic, they were chatting casually with their neighbor, very uncommon for me over the last year and a half. Everywhere I went, random people would initiate conversation or there would be be a constant chatter sound around me. Even the “acceptable” walking pace is at least double or triple that of Greeks, this part I enjoy because I always am ahead of everyone. The little shopping I have had to do, I have been amazed at the friendliness and eagerness of everyone to help and welcome me – that is one huge thing I miss a lot. The last major thing is the variety and accessibility OF EVERYTHING!!!! I get overwhelmed walking into a gas station or grocery store and have quickly forgotten what it is like to not be able to find something I want or need. I had adjusted and grown accustomed to anextremely simple life without the need for many things.

Hopefully the transition will continue to be smooth, but someone very wise explained it to me very well: he said that coming back from a village (especially visiting my circus of a family) is like drinking from a fire hose instead of stepping into the kiddy pool – that is exactly how I have felt in a good/weird kind of way, I adore my family but we could totally be a traveling circus!

To keep this up as a food blog, I really want to share with you a delicious little Czech stop on South I-35 that sells the best kolaches and other sandwiches. If you ever find yourself between Austin and Waco, I highly suggest that you stop in West, Texas for a couple dozen.

I made pastitio for my family today and it seemed to be a big hit, I substituted the long, hallow noodles for just the small ziti ones and it still turned out wonderful. Thanks for your continued patience as I ease back into this culture and my very hectic schedule!
Kali Orexi,

7 thoughts on “American Culture

  1. LOVE the Czech Stop! We stop every time we go to San Antonio and get dozens to put in our deep freeze.We've even stopped and woken a napping toddler – that's how good they are!

  2. I share many of your feelings when returning to the States, even though I live in London and am returning to a small town! People talking with randowm strangers and the convenience of everything still shocks me. Thanks for sharing!

  3. okay, I am so glad I came across your blog! I was blog hopping and saw the title of your blog and had to check it out. Your story is awesome! My dad is Greek and my grandma lives in Athens so I am very familiar with Greece, the island of Crete, and Greek food. I love your blog and looking forward to reading more! I am your newest follower and would love it if you would check out my blog and follow me too! Thanks!-Nikki

  4. Praying for you. I understand. You are normal, though you might not feel it. Love you and enjoy Austin when you go there. Be a hippie for me on town lake.

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