What do foreigners think of Cheesecake Factory

10 things we love about America

Today we are dedicated to the land of opportunity, the United States of America. Yes, the country is contradicting itself and invites many discussions. These are also important and need to be guided.

Today we want to dedicate ourselves to the beautiful sides of the USA. The country is huge and has a lot to offer. To be precise, it is 117 times bigger than Austria (and 27 times bigger than Germany)! For this reason alone, it is worth taking a differentiated look at this country with a total of 50 states and 9 time zones (4 of them on the contiguous mainland area).

My name is Julia, I work in the Vienna AIFS office and I lived as an au pair professional in the state of New York for almost 2 years. Today I would like to share a few of my very personal highlights with you in relation to the USA.

1. Big cities

If you grew up in the country like me and suddenly find yourself in the middle of New York, Chicago or Los Angeles, it can turn your head a bit. Skyscrapers as far as the eye can see, cars, lots of people, stench and big city noise are just a few of the things that get a little overwhelmed at the beginning. Nonetheless, I loved the big city life.

I was very fortunate to live near New York City during my au pair period. So I spent most of my weekends 'in the city that never sleeps' and I can tell you one thing: I love New York! It's amazing what this city has to offer and it never gets boring. I could spontaneously call you countless 'must sees' and 'must dos', because I know NYC like the back of my hand by now. I have already covered several hundred kilometers on foot in this city. The best way to get to know a city is by walking.

2. National parks

The USA has a total of 62 national parks to offer. Yellowstone, Yosemite and Everglades are probably some of the better known. I was lucky enough to be on vacation with my host family in Yosemite National Park. I tell you that was an experience! In the middle of the night we were even surprised by a real black bear, which caused a lot of excitement !! I'll only tell you this much: I've never been up so quickly in my life when the ranger suddenly roared: "Get out of here bear !!!!!" and we were shocked to find that the bear was breathing hard next to it our tent. (Don't worry, everything went well!)

We usually spent the day on extensive hikes, while in the evening we sat around the fire and had a barbecue.

3. Cheesecake Factory, In’n Out Burger and Co.

In the mood for food? Yes I know! American food is mostly very fatty, unhealthy and high in sugar. Still, it can be sooooo delicious. The menu at the Cheesecake Factory is more like a catalog and the portions are enough for at least two. Still, my mouth watered when I think of the cheesecake variations. The likelihood of gaining weight in the US is quite high. But this is often due to the fact that you don't know many products and snacks yet and you really want to try them. In addition, the American refrigerator is huge and usually full to the brim.

4. How are you?

You hear this phrase all the time in America: “Hey, how are you!” It's more of a greeting than a question. The American doesn't really want to know how you're doing. Nevertheless, I always found this greeting to be a nice and friendly way to start a conversation. Americans are very, very good at small talk. You are constantly being asked where you come from and what you do in America. Personally, I was very positively surprised by the openness and friendliness of the people. In Austria it is not the case that you start chatting with complete strangers. Not so in the USA. Whether in the supermarket, on the train or in Starbucks - a nice chat always takes place everywhere. I love it!

5. Broadway / film locations

Hollywood, the Walk of Fame, Los Angeles, Broadway in New York, the stars of this world - they can all be found in the USA and have their origins there. I don't know about you guys, but I not only love plays and musicals, but also one or two Hollywood ham. And yes, I quickly become a Starstruck when I meet Daniel Radcliffe or Helen Mirren in New York. Top tip: Many theaters offer so-called 'rush tickets'. These are a lot cheaper than the regular tickets. In addition, many famous people play on New York's Broadway. After every show, they usually come out and sign autographs. You should definitely not miss this.

6. Festivals and celebrations

It is truly an experience to spend a typical Thanksgiving or Christmas in America. Families from all corners of America usually gather on these two holidays. There is a lot of eating, playing and laughing. You also get an insight into new rituals and customs. For example, do you know the 'Elf on the Shelf'? Or did you know that American kids flush ice cubes down the toilet or wear their pajamas upside down when they want snow? Sometimes homesickness is especially great on such holidays, as you are thousands of kilometers away from your loved ones at home. Still, I don't want to miss this great experience.

7. Target

Target has everything: cosmetics, clothing, paper goods, electronics, candy, decorative items ... So you can get Peanut Butter M & M’s, underwear, dishes, a TV and hair shampoo with a single purchase! Unfortunately one always leaves this shop with more articles than originally intended. Not so good on the wallet, but definitely good for the mood. Visiting a target simply makes you happy.

8. BBQ

People love meat in the US. Nothing feels more American than a typical Sunday BBQ with the family or the neighbors. Everyone brings something and you spend hours feeding your way through various delicacies. There is a lot of talking, laughing and often watching an American football game.

9. Road trips

"Driving is a way of life.", So it is not surprising that the 'drive-in' has its origins in the USA. Whether ordering food, getting coffee from Starbucks or withdrawing money - in America everything can be done easily from the car. It goes without saying that you also go on trips and vacations by car. For what we would probably take the train or even the plane here in Austria, people in the USA like to take the car. A ten-hour drive to see grandparents on Thanksgiving or Christmas is perfectly normal in America.

10. American candy

Some love it, others hate it: American sweets. I admit it - Americans don't really know chocolate, but Peanut Butter Cups, M & M’s, Oreos, Pop Tarts and much more. Especially when you've just arrived, you feel the urge to try and test everything once. This quickly results in a few extra kilos on the scales. But hey: You don't treat yourself to anything else!

I hope you enjoyed my top 10 !? Let me know in the comments what your USA favorites are.

If you've always wanted to go to America, you have 6 options with us: