Saturday, March 16, 2013

How to explain America

America is a wonderful and sometimes weird place.

And our culture seems to be something the rest of the world has a love/doesn't understand/hate relationship with. Like every country, really awesome things come from America. Not so awesome things start there too. The way the world works seems to push a lot of American culture onto the rest of the world. This something about blah blah blah global economy and technology. Whatever. I don't really care. Except that sometimes I have to explain things about America to my family when it comes up on TV or somewhere on the internet.

Some things are really easy to explain, but some of the more contextual cultural bits are hard. Occasionally these cultural gems stump me. I could explain gerunds, split infinitives and passive voice easier than I can explain "college freshman" memes. I've complied a list of things that I've found the most difficult to explain: 

  • What Ranch Dressing tastes like. Or really even the concept that dressings exist besides oil and vinegar exist. They only use oil and vinegar. 
  • Will Farrell movies. "They're really really funny. But they're equally stupid...?"
  • What a "redneck" is. I did okay on that one but it threw me for a loop. 
  • Why anyone would make a "Harlem Shake" video. 
  • Taking pictures of your food to put on the internet.
  • Cockney Rhyming Slang. This is largely because I had a very basic understand of what it was in the first places. 
  • Drinking boxed wine. They only cook with it. And I didn't even bother with slap the bag...
  • Organic Milk. 
  • A shot book for your 21st birthday. 
  • Anything specific involving temperatures or distances. I can provide rough estimates of miles to kilos, dollars to euro and Celsius to Fahrenheit, but specifics are too much for me.  
  • A Paleo Diet. No carbs? No way. 
  • Why any average citizen would feel it was necessary to own an automatic weapon. (Not trying to start any gun control debates. I just don't come from a gun-heavy background, and I've never fired one, so I don't understand the appeal.)
  • America hasn't been in a declared war since WWII if you get all technical about it. (Turned into a mini US Gov't lesson on checks and balances.)
  • Why Americans make fun of Canadians. (See the picture below.)
  • Not all Americans think the solution to tension with another country is to "just invade them."
  • The revolting nature of Peeps. 
  • The joy of roasting a perfect marshmallow over the campfire. S'mores aren't things here.
  • Pumpkin/Banana/Zucchini Bread. I just made some for them because they couldn't envision what that would taste like.
  • The Jersey Shore. Probably speaks for itself.
I also found this gem a while back. You kinda just have to laugh at it because in some ways it's true.
That moment when you realize Africa just isn't on the map. Haha
Also Canada= Uninhabited. Bahaha

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