… and cultural differences
So you might have heard about this thing called Super Bowl which apparently is THE mega event in the States. You could even go as far as saying that it is like Christmas and Thanksgiving combined – at least for football fans. Anyway, the Seahawks, which is the Seattle team, actually played their way into the final and even better: they won! Yes, the Seahawks won the Super Bowl and I was here watching it. But I have to admit it was a very boring game. By the second Quarter it was sort of clear that they would win and so they did – 43:8. But the best thing about the Super Bowl are the commercials – and there are a lot of them! And the half-time performance. And Jana and me were invited to watch the game with a local family. So we had good food as well. All in all, this all made up for the boring game. And we got some more entertainment when we got back home. Apparently, in the States the students – mostly the ones associated with a fraternity – like to burn couches when their team, whatever sports, wins. And so they were burning a couch in front of my house. Yeah, go Seahawks. You won and we are burning a couch for you. What a shame the team was still in New York at that time…
So three days later the city put on this huge parade in downtown and apparently about 700,000 people went! People were waiting to get downtown by bus for 3 hours because they were just crowded, the campus was empty and people skipped work and school to see their heroes. Or actually, to celebrate themselves, because Seattle fans consider themselves to be the 12th man in the game, making so much noise and thus, confusing the other team. So actually, if it wasn’t for the great Seattle fans, the Seahawks would have never won – just to get that clear. As I said, everyone was going downtown! And it was a nice and sunny day, but it was freezing! Literally. We had like -6 degrees.
Everyone was going downtown. Everyone? No, not everyone. A small group, alright only Jana and me, decided we should make the most of this sunny, freezing day. So what do you do when it is -6 degrees? Yes, you go to the zoo! And off we went. And we had a good time. And yes, we were freezing. And by the time we got back, we couldn’t feel our legs anymore. But because of the parade and the weather, there weren’t that many people around. So we got a chance to talk to some of the animal trainers and we could stare at the penguins, wolves, sloth-bears, and lions without having screaming kids around us.
As my time in the U.S. is slowly coming to an end it is time to think about all that is “American”. Like seeing the flag everywhere or paying everything with your credit/debit card or getting annoyed by their type of “bread”. However, these things seem to be “American” from a German perspective. So what about the following: the traffic lights for pedestrians are red and white (instead of green – but everyone knows “green” is good, is okay..not white!), the dime/10 pence coin is smaller than the 5 pence coin, you actually talk to the bus driver and say “thank you” when getting off, and you have to have the exact change as they don’t give you change (in Seattle a bus right is $ 2,25). Also the thing with tipping: you have to tip in the States and it usually starts by 15% and goes up to 20% and they even include a line on your bill to add the tip. I have also used a self-checkout at a supermarket for the first time. And the paper normally has three punching holes instead of four. And the electric cables are all over-ground and the insulation of the windows is..not acceptable. But after all, it is only here that you can find a Hawaiian restaurant next to a Mongolian grill and close to hundreds of Asian places and a fake German restaurant (just because it has a sausage as its logo doesn’t mean it’s German), and Starbucks. And people get excited when they hear you speak more than two languages. On that note, it is time to move on, maybe to non-English speaking country to refresh my French and Spanish. Hasta luego and à bientôt.
P.S. We went to Maui, Hawaii for three days and saw some giants…
(credits for the photo do not belong to me, but I was standing right next to the photographer.)