Wow, it has already been over 4 months that I have now been calling Chicago my new home. I am not a stranger in the city anymore, feeling more and more comfortable in my new surroundings. Along with my acclimatization come a few things that may have seemed or felt odd a few months ago, but now slowly become second nature for me. Interestingly enough, this stuff happens automatically, if I like it or not. Here are 10 signs that tell me I am starting to adjust to the US lifestyle:
1 … I respond with ‘great’ whenever being asked how I am doing (about 20 times a day) and ask others how they are doing without really expecting a genuine response.
2 … I accidently run into people that I know on the street, in the middle of Chicago. I guess my network is slowly growing.
3 … I am no longer surprised about the fact that groceries cost twice as much than in Germany. Actually, a lot of things are twice as expensive. Just by way of an example: I pay 80 dollars for my monthly mobile phone subscription and that is pretty much the standard.
4 … I put on my entire workout gear at home and find myself walking to the gym without feeling awkward. Changing rooms and showers are completely overrated (I know what you’re thinking).
5 … I pick up a Starbucks coffee (or mostly a tall chai tea with soy milk and only one pump of chai instead of three) whenever I am strolling around the city. Walking around with a coffee cup makes you feel much more local and it warms your hands when it is cold.
6 … I have come to enjoy white wine on ice, or any other cool drink for that matter. Drinks without ice tend to taste a little dull, which is why thankfully every at home freezer unit carries an ice cube machine.
7 … I finally know my way around the city and rarely any longer get lost by taking the train into the wrong direction or waiting at a bus stop without any bus arriving.
8 … I order everything from Amazon and get impatient if it is not delivered the next day. When I say everything, I mean everything: socks, shoes, cosmetics, groceries, kitchen utensils, paperware, electronics, the list goes on. Because I am a Prime member, all deliveries are free.
9 … I find it totally normal to have one check split with several credit cards when eating out or paying tips as high as 20%. Once you realize how little money a waiter makes in the US, you are more than happy to pay this high of a tip and to rush out after you are done with your meal, so they can collect another tip from the next guest in line.
10 … I realize that Sunday is not really a day off unless you make it a day off. All stores are open, packages are being delivered and roads are packed with cars and people. Americans declare Sundays their shopping days, so better avoid doing groceries if you do not want to be run over.
Something I cannot get used to (and maybe in a way do not want to) is the US measurement system of Inch, Ounce, Fahrenheit, Miles and so on. If close to the whole world can apply one system, why does it have to be different here? But this is a topic for yet another blog post.