Lessons in the US of A¶
Recently I made the mistake of living in the US of A, the paramount capitalist hell of the modern world. As a consequence, I had to relearn some facts, because everything works different here.
August 2023: Moving in¶
- They put free pads and tampons even in the men's bathroom
- I can ride the bus for free with my student card
- By custom I should greet the bus driver, who will greet back
- Food comes in absolutely gigantic portions
- Central campus is much more walkable than I thought
- A French press is very easy to use and much cheaper than a coffee machine
- To request a stop on a bus you just pull the rope-y thing
- You can take all the time you need to get off the bus. No pressure to stand up in advance.
- Pedestrians have absolute right of way, I hypothesize you could even cross the street blindfolded and not get hit by a car
- Power outages happen every year and somehow people are okay with it and do nothing to improve the infrastructure
- Toilet paper comes in single ply by default
- Apartments don't have ceiling lights and rely on floor lamps. There is a dedicated outlet wired to a light switch which I found by poking with a multimeter
- Everything in the supermarket seems reasonably priced as long as you don't convert it to your home currency
- The washing machine isn't working??
- Power failure?? In IKEA???
- The carpet makes my desk jiggly
- Drinks are most often cold, even chilled. Even chocolate.
- Internet failure?? In a university???
- Kroger closes at 10 pm
- The cord to a power strip is very, very thicc
- My apartment has a coaxial port for internet which I've never seen in my life
- Michigan law does not require you to have a front license plate
September 2023: Settling down¶
- They hand out free shirts and swag at the pride event
- Drag shows, fully unhinged
- I can just get a Kroger card? Like for free?
- I found Three Cheers posters on sale
- tfw fresh clothes from a dryer. hmmm
- Internet is super fast
- There are no stray animals here (with the side effect that I have not seen a single cat on this land)
- One month in and I've seen three people in band merch T-Shirt of quality taste
- None of the instructors read from the slides; they really go to great lengths explaining stuff
- Ann Arbor buses just… stop operating at 20:00 on Sunday?? (Update: this might have been related to labor day)
- One bus per hour?? Unimaginable in Shanghai
- I got charged $3 just for inserting my bank card into another bank's ATM
- $15 tax on a bass. $50 tax on a laptop.
- Campus ethernet broke and so did teaching infrastructure, e.g. autograders
- Huge thanks to the Amazon driver who attempted to deliver my package on a Sunday morning at 6:50 AM. Why would Amazon send a worker to deliver my package this early
- Oh so Xfinity broke too? What the fuck is wrong with American infrastructure
- My textbook is "loose leaf", which means a pile of pages I have bind myself. Pro: I can carry only the chapters I want. Con: I have to use zipties as a dirty hack before my binder arrives
October 2023: Speeding up¶
- There are record stores within walking distance from central campus
- I found some rare vinyls there (but didn't buy them)
- You don't have a seatplan in exams so you can sit anywhere in your assigned room
- OK I got my Amazon package (new laptop) one week later but it's the wrong color
- Fucking Lenovo. ThinkPads had one killer feature and you killed it. Bring back the 1.8mm travel keyboard you cowards
- Should have bought Gen 2 instead of Gen 3. Also should have made sure about the color.
- Downtown Ann Arbor is nothing like the university campus. There are beggars, jaywalkers, disabled people who struggle to wheelchair themselves across the sloped street, and that one guy who yells for some reason. Says a lot about society