It’s now been over a year of my North American anniversary! After 7 years in Europe, one year in North America is obviously nothing but I discovered key differences for myself and came to one conclusion – Europe is a place for me. Of course not all Europe or North America is the same but for the sake of the argument let’s ignore it and focus on a few generalisations.
Working culture cannot even compare. In North America people seem to equal their life success to their work success and spent hours and hours overworked to prove themselves (or others?) they are living to the fullest. In Europe, people just aren’t as fussed and choose other priorities. In NA, leaving work to eat somewhere for lunch will receive multiple side-eyes while in Europe lunch is considered the absolute right for some free time.
Obviously I won’t argue one or another is a more productive approach but I definitely know which life I’d rather lead and it’s no, thank you, to 40+ work hours. Plus North Americans view vacation as some out-of-the-world luxury when Europeans take time off often and it sounds like a much better deal for me.
You actually want to visit European suburbs – every tiny town got its own charm and functions like a normal city. In Canada, anything a few miles away from a core downtown is basically ‘plazas’, whatever on Earth that was meant to be. It’s just parking slots with a few restaurants and shops where people are meant to hang out. As you move away from plazas, you get streets with houses, no more parks, cafes, cute narrow streets… nothing. It’s not a town anymore but space filled with random buildings and a few parking lots with shops.
Without a car in North America, you cannot get anywhere. Buses are very occasional just as subways. In Canada, TTC is the most unreliable mode of transport, trust me, I was late to my job interview by almost 30 mins because none of the scheduled buses ever showed up. From my experience in Miami and LA, you must rent a car or prepare to spend all your cash on Uber rides.
For the most part in Europe, public transport is well-thought through. Even on holidays in Amalfi coast, I managed to see different towns and beaches by just using buses. London literally made you not want a car at all because subways and buses took you to any destination much faster and cheaper. Good infrastructure give you some sort of freedom and saves your bank account from useless investments.
Americans seem way more obsessed with pop culture and to believe their life will be like every Hollywood movie they ever watched. Europeans I know don’t hang up on these unrealistic expectations as much and lead less flashy lives. A lot of it is evident in birthday celebrations, bachelor parties and baby showers – Europeans don’t cut cakes to reveal their baby’s gender as often as Americans do. Many events are way less ‘extra’ and over-the-top.
Whole tipping business is such a mystery to me, why cant it just be added to your bill from the start? This awkward interaction between you and a waiter could be easily avoided if it was added to the final price. It also makes easier to purchase things as the price you see is the final price you’ll need to pay and that’s it, there’ll be no additions you cannot calculate in your head.
All in all, you can see I miss Europe, nothing else to add.