Here is the other half of the list of unique habits that are ordinary in the United States, but Hungarians find them quite interesting if not a little bit odd.
If you missed the previous article, you can check it out below.
Former TV personality Edina Balogh moved to Florida in 2015, and she recently started posting videos on YouTube about her everyday life, highlighting all of the interesting things that happen to her and her family in the U.S.
Edina posted a video to her YouTube channel in January in which she lists many things she found odd when she first moved to the United States. Even though she has got used to all of these habits, she thought that these might interest others who are planning a trip or a move to the U.S.
Let’s jump into the second half of her list.
Naturally, different currencies look and sometimes feel different from one another. The U.S. dollar bills are all the same colour: green, while here in Hungary, each bill has a slightly different colour, so it is much easier to differentiate between them. If I look into my purse and see a blue bill, it can only be a HUF 1000 bill, and if I see a yellow one, it is a HUF 5000 bill. In the U.S., we would have to pay more attention and look at the numbers a little bit closer.
History.com writes that the bills circulated by the U.S. government in the 1860s came to be known as greenbacks because their backs were printed in green ink. “In 1929, the government shrunk the size of all paper money and instituted standardized designs for each denomination. The small-sized bills continued to be printed with green ink because, according to the U.S. Bureau of Printing and Engraving, the ink was plentiful and durable, and the colour green was associated with stability.”
Too much ice
If you order a soft drink in a restaurant in Hungary, you are likely to get an empty glass with a bottle of cola next to it, and you usually have to ask if you want ice. The only thing that comes with ice by default here is cocktails, and that is mostly to skimp on the amount of alcohol and expensive syrup that goes into it. In contrast, in the U.S., you are more likely to get a glass already full of the drink of your choice, and there is also lots and lots of ice. Sometimes, there is more ice than drink in the glass. This, of course, helps to keep your drink colder for longer, and if you think that they are trying to skimp on you, take into consideration that most places offer free refills.
Public bathroom stalls
Bathroom stalls in the United States start unusually high for someone from Hungary. Here, the stalls often go all the way down to the floor or they have a minimum amount of space that ends at your ankle. In the U.S., much more could be seen and heard through the huge spaces between stalls, and there is also way more water inside the toilets than here in Hungary, where some type of toilets do not have water in the middle at all.
Patriotism may be present in every country you will ever visit, but people in the U.S. are taking it to the next level. There, you can literally see the U.S. flag everywhere, not just on governmental or public buildings, but many civilians raise the old blue-and-white flag in front of their homes. The symbols are there on every packaging; you will see the pride eagle so much that you will be able to draw it with your eyes covered. It is apparent that people take pride in their heritage.
In the states, many magazines are partially or fully covered on the stands if they are deemed inappropriate for children. This has never been a custom in Hungary. I remember seeing naked ladies in gas station stands as a kid. The idea to cover up an “innocent” magazine like Glamour or Cosmopolitan is unimaginable here. However, in the U.S., all of these are considered “adult content” which should be hidden from prying child eyes for their protection.
Popularity of credit cards
Credit cards are still somewhat rare, or at least not as often used as debit cards in Hungary. Hungarian people prefer buying things with money they actually have, and the majority of the population is very against any loans or debts. In the U.S., almost everyone has a credit card in their purse, and if they are using it well, (always paying back the spent money in time) that will earn them credibility for future loans.
Health insurance works entirely different in the U.S. than in Hungary. Here, health insurance is included in people’s gross wages similarly to many other taxes the employer has to pay for the employees. If you have a stable job with regular paychecks, you do not need to worry about going to the doctor or getting your teeth checked. However, in the U.S., people need to get health insurance individually, thus, it is much easier to “forget” or “avoid” having to pay this insurance at all, risking that if you have any health problems, you will likely spend a couple of months of your salary on it.
We are a tiny bit jealous of the creativity people invest in U.S. TV ads. These are so much funnier than the boring traditional ones we have here in Europe. Not to mention how outrageously hilarious those lawyer commercials are (which we never see here on TV). It is also forbidden in Hungary (by law) to criticise your competition by name in an ad.
Featured image: Illustration/Pixabay