Lola’s Ramblings: Ten signs that I am not from the US

Posted September 18, 2014 by Lola in Lola's Ramblings / 22 Comments


Lola’s Rambings is a feature on Lola’s Review where I talk about me. Usually these posts are everything that doesn’t fall under any standard header, like blog tours, book blitzes, cover reveals or reviews. Lola’s Ramblings posts are are personal discussions of a certain topic. Sometimes about book related topics and sometimes about non-book related topics. If an Lola’s Ramblings post is about a non-book topic it gets the non-book content posts tag. This feature was previously knows as About Me. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Design.

I usually don’t emphasize that I am not from the US, it’s not like I actively try to hide it, but I don’t often bring it up myself. Recently I had a slightly emberassing talk with an author for Lola’s Blog Tours who asked why I always put the day before the month on my tour banners and if I could change it for her banner. Now I basically do all my banners in the same format and with the day before the month, so I explained that to her. But it did got me thinking that there are things like that that clearly mark me as not from the US. So I thought it would be fun to think about those things a bit more and compiled a list of ten things that clearly mark me as not from the US.

Ten signs that show that I am not from the US

  1. I use the Metric system for measurements, while they don’t in the US. Really I am going to celebrate the day when the US switches to the metric system. I hate having to convert all the recipes I find on the internet from cups, tablespoons and teaspoons to grams photo SAM_8453_zps015d3ac2.jpg. This is one of the things that can really annoy me as I spend a lot of time on Pinterest to find awesome recipes, only to print them out run to kitchen and then discover I have to convert all the measurements first. And thus having to run back to my computer and convert them first. Also the whole idea of cups and tablespoons just seems silly to me, I mean why use those when you can also just weigh it and know the exact amount of grams you have? It’s much more precise. The picture next to this shows our awesome kitchen scale.
    Same goes with the different temperature measurement, we use celcius here and in the US (and thus in many books as well) they use Fahrenheit. Over the years I got used to this a bit and I know that while 40 degrees is very warm here, it is cold in fahrenheit. But it just isn’t as clear to me how warm exactly it is if the temperature is stated in Fahrenheit.
    And then there is the issue of things like centimeter, kilometer instead of miles. Which can be annoying at times when reading as most books talk about miles and I always have to struggle a bit trying to understand. Also when I am explaining things to others I usually use the Metric system as I am used to that, which can be confusing for the person I am talking to. At least books that take place in Canada use kilometers, then I at least know how far a distance is.
  2. Different date and month order. Like mentioned above for me it’s natural to first mention the day then the month and then the year, so today would be 18 September 2014. In the US they mention the month first so September 18 2014, which feels so wrong for me. I try to do it the US way for exmaple when e-mailing tour hosts for Lola’s Blog Tours, but it feels so unnatural that I often automatically correct myself.
  3. Difficulties with words and spelling sometimes. This is more the fact that I am not a native english speaker instead of a US specific thing. I sometimes just don’t know which word to use in english, unfortunately the same thing might happen in dutch when I only know the english word. Luckily this doesn’t happen often, but the times it does happen are frustrating. I hate searching for the right word. I also have some difficulties with spelling and grammar. For example I just can’t remember the difference between change and chance or price and prize or dessert and desert, I forget which word means what and sometimes use the wrong one. I had some stupid mistakes in the past when talking about a giveaway and mention whihc “prices you could win” or enter for a “change to win”. Yeah I know epic fail. I’ve gotten better at this nowadays and I usually can figure it out when I think about it for a bit. It just shows I am not a native speaker, although I wish I where. I also might use a combination of US and UK spelling rules. On school we got taught the UK version, but most books I read use the US spelling. So I probably use a weird mismatch of the two and I really don’t know which rules are UK and which are US rules (like color and colour). So yeah that might sound weird sometimes.
  4. Accent. This is one of the less obvious ones as you probably don’t hear me talk often. There’s a reason I don’t vlog (actually there are multiple reasons and this is only one of them). I always feel a bit self conscious when talking in english, because I know I have a slight accent and have sometimes difficulties pronouncing certain words.
  5. Different weather. Remember how last winter the US was hit by an very cold winter and here in the Netherlands we actually had one of the mildest winters ever. This might be bit weird when everyone’s talking about how cold it is and I am here like “huh it can get a bit colder here, it’s such a mild winter”.
  6. Different holidays. When I first started Lola’s Blog Tours I once tried to do a sale on a holiday in the US, but the problem is we have different holidays here and I usually only hear about US holidays when someone mentions it on social media. So yeah planning a sale a day in advance probably wasn’t my smartest move. I now try to plan them in advance ;). This issue is also one I encounter when blog visiting, for example when people talk about a long weekend and here in the Netherlands we just have a normal week.
  7. Time Difference. This is probably one of the m photo SAM_8445_zps993646da.jpgore obvious ones. I am only online when I am awake and that’s in my time from about 11am till 1 am. Which in EST time is 5am till 7 pm. So when people in the US finally go sit behind their computer and be online I am already asleep. This also can be an issue with things like facebook parties or other social media events. Also I am not sure if anyone ever notice this, but I always schedule my blog posts to go live at 9am in my time, so that’s just past midnight in the US, while it’s in the morning here.
  8. Brands familiarity and common foods. I’ve never eaten a Twinkie or Candy Corn and some brands people mention or common stores like Walmart don’t exist here. And you probably never heard about the Albert Heijn or Etos. So yeah that can be confusing sometimes, although often the meaning of a brand or candy can be deducted from the context.
    You get bonus points if you recognize the cookie brand in the picture or know what the product is shown in the last picture ;). Both are typically dutch as far as I know.
  9. Geographical and historical knowledge. While I took an american history course during my university study my knowledge of the US is probably still a whole lot less then the knowledge of the people who actually live there. When a certain state is mentioned it can take me some time to remember where exactly it is and what the climate is. same goes with historical events, although I hope I got most of the important ones through that course I took. I am also really interested in US culture and history and it seems all so interesting to me, while for those who live in the US it’s probably normal. Another fun thing about this is that books that take place in the US seem exotic to me while books that take place in Europe seem familiar.
  10. Some Things that are normal or common here, aren’t in the US and vise versa. Some things which are nor photo SAM_8451_zps21994f21.jpgmal or common here aren’t as common in the US, for example here in the Netherlands almost everyone owns a bike and knows how to cycle and there are cycling roads everywhere. From what I’ve read in books cycling doesn’t seem as common in the US. Also her ein the Netherlands you can travel almost everywhere with public transport, in books I hardly hear anyone mention public transport or using public transport to get somewhere. Another example is how footbal is really popular in the US, while here soccer is way more popular and when I was younger and just learning english I actually didn’t understand that football was different from soccer because the dutch word for soccer is “voetbal” which directly translated is football, weird huh. Then there are things like homecoming and prom, which we don’t have here. And going to summer camp, I’ve never been to camp and don’t think we got a lot of summer camps if any here. These differences can be quite obvious sometimes especially when reading when people experience things that are I never did or which seem awesome to me, while for people in the US they might be quite normal.


Beside these I am sure there are a lot more things that mark me as not from the US, but these where the first ten I could think of. If you know anything else that shows I am not from the US I would love to hear it from you in the comments. I always feel like it isn’t that obvious that I am from the Netherlands instead of the US when I am on the internet, but after easily coming up with these ten items, I suddenly think it might be a lot more obvious then I thought.

So my question to you is:

Do you notice I am not from the US? And if you aren’t from the US yourself do you recognize these things?

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22 responses to “Lola’s Ramblings: Ten signs that I am not from the US

  1. To be honest, I really don’t make any effort in determining whether a blogger is from the US or not. I am an international blogger myself and the only time that I learn of the blogger’s location or nationality is when I am reading his or her bio but not because I want to know his or her nationality. I am more interested of what kind of person the blogger is and whether we have the same type of books, hobbies, and interests.

    As for your last question, yes I do and here they are:

    1. Different date and month order- I am also used to writing the dates in this format: dd/mm/year. But not because our schools required us to do the said format. I used to work for an Australian mining company once and the management required us to format the dates as such. And well, it stuck.

    2. Difficulties with words and spelling sometimes

    Yeah. As an international blogger with English not my primary language, I also have difficulties with spellings. I am not only having a hard time with the UK and US version spellings but with their meanings, too. If you say lift in America, that means you are going to elevate something or someone. But if you say lift in UK, it means the elevator. What a hard life this is!

    3. Accent

    One of the reasons why I don’t want to create Vlogs because my accent is really horrible. LOL. I don’t want to scare my readers away.

    Lovely post, Lola!
    Charlotte @ Thoughts and Pens recently posted…Thursdays With Luxa {19}My Profile

    • Actually I don’t really make an effort to determine if a blogger is from the US or not, but I thought it was a fun topic to write a post about. Indeed what kind of blogger someone is or what type of posts he/she posts iw way more important then nationality.

      Here in the netherlands the dd/mm/year is quite standard, so I am used to writing it that way. Some meanings can be difficult, I sometimes have trouble with the right meanings as well. btw here in the Netherlands we actually use the word lift for an elevator as well.
      My english accent is so embarassing, if I write at least it isn’t that obvious I am not a native speaker.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences!

  2. As a fellow Dutchie (even though I live in Belgium), I can relate to all of these things. ESPECIALLY the issues with the metric system versus the imperial system and Celcius vs Fahrenheit. And feet, inches, yards… don’t even get me started. The date order can be quite tricky as well, especially during the first 12 days of the month, ’cause you’re not sure which date method they’re using.

    Oh, how I can relate.
    Inge @ Bookshelf Reflections recently posted…Review: Save the Date by Tamara SummersMy Profile

    • Hi felllow Dutchie! Really I can keep complaining about the US not using the mtric system, it drives me crazy sometimes! I am always confused when someone mentions a date and I have to think really hard which date it is and indeed especially the first 12 days are tricky.

  3. Haha, I love this post. Like others, I don’t consciously pay attention to where bloggers are from, but sometimes it comes up. I’m definitely more aware of USA vs. the world now that I’ve spent a year studying abroad in the UK. A lot of things you mentioned are things I’ve had to deal with.

    Some things I’m hopeless with. Like the metric system. That’s what everyone uses here, but me? I have no idea. I have to use my phone to convert everything over because I can’t do the conversions in my head and my mind draws a blank when anything is told to me using metrics.

    Other things I’ve adapted well with. Like the date thing and spelling. It’s been fairly easy for me to adjust my thinking when it comes to those things and make sure my spelling includes ‘ou’ instead of ‘o’ and ‘s’ instead of ‘z’, silly things like that. I can usually switch back and forth depending on the audience with little effort.

    Oh, and I have to laugh about geographical and historical knowledge. I am American and I don’t know where all the states are and whatnot. I mean, I could probably tell you the general area, but I can’t pinpoint them all on a map. And I definitely don’t know the climates of them. (I could probably guess if needed though.) And history? I learned a little bit about it in school but all that memory is long gone. And even beyond that, I don’t think most Americans learn a lot about other parts of the world. So the fact that anyone in the Netherlands knows about the US is beyond me. haha.

    So what am I trying to say? You may not be American, but there’s nothing wrong with that! I’m American and yet I feel out of the loop myself now that I’m in a different country. It’s okay. We’ll just keep doing our thing and being awesome 😉
    Asti @ Oh, the Books! recently posted…Bookish Finds: Kelly Campbell Berry’s Book SculpturesMy Profile

    • What mostly inspired me to write this post was how I always felt like it wasn’t obvious where we came from, but when I started thinking about it I realized that where we come from does influence a lot of our behavior.

      I always spel colour and such with ‘ou’, but I never knew whether that was UK or US.

      I guess the US is such a big country that it’s more difficult to know much about it, the Netherlands is pretty small, so most people have a general idea where what is in this country and the climate is the same everywhere. Here it seems we’re pretty international focussed for such a small country and most dutchies speak pretty well english, especially the younger generations.

      I always loved history, it was always my favourite subject in school. And even in high school we got a few lessons about american history, asian history and russia history. It wasn’t really elaborate, but we did hear about those countries as well.

      Thanks for stoping by :).

    • I am glad to hear you notice it, but not in a bad way. Sentence order or weird translated phrases are indeed things how to mention I am not from the US. I find new languages difficult to learn and while my reading of english is fluent, I know my writing can still be done better.

  4. I feel your pain Lola, actually, we’re not to dissimilar. In Australia, our date is the same format as yours. The time difference always catches me off guard too. I think we’re around 14 hours ahead of the US, but they have different time zones as well, we have daylight savings starting next month, it’s just too difficult to work out. One reason I stopped participating in tours as well, I could never work out when I was supposed to post.

    Our accent is one of those where people can usually tell where we’re from, although I was on Xbox Live one day playing Call of Duty, and a few assumed I was British. Do you find your accent differs in certain parts of the country over there too? I would love to learn more about Netherlands <3 Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Wow 14 hours ahead that’s a big difference. I think we’re ahead 6 hours of the east coast and even more for the west coast. In your case you go to sleep when they wake up, most be confusing.

      In our country you notice people speak different dialects of dutch, for example in Friesland they have a dialect that’s so different from dutch they might as well be speaking another language. In the more southern provinces they speak slightly different as well, their g is softer, but you can stil udnerstand those fairly well. And when we speak english it just sounds off, a dutchie speaking english is just weird.

  5. I had no idea that you weren’t from the US! I think the only way I really know is if I notice a lot of UK-spellings on their blog, or if they flat out say it somewhere. I really feel for the non-US bloggers, because I feel like you all have a lot of things to think about that we take for granted here. Like being concerned about time, and spelling, and familiarity issues. Plus, the US’s lack of assimilation with the rest of the world is kind of awful, no? I mean, no one else uses our ridiculous measurement system, because truthfully, it’s stupid! The metric system makes so much more sense! And confession: I can’t ride a bike 🙁 Public transportation is virtually non-existent outside the big cities. I don’t live in a big city, but it is a well-populated area, and it has ONE lousy bus system. And you’d only use it as a last resort because it comes around like, once a day. It’s kind of a shame really! I love how different our cultures can be, but that we have such common interests too! I love this post, it’s so great to hear other bloggers’ perspectives! Thanks for sharing it 🙂
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    • I think it’s interesting to hear that even while you come from the US you find the measurement system stupid, I always assumed the US where so used to it they didn’t see how unlogical it is.
      Here riding a bike is something your parents teahc you at a very young age and swimming lessons is another common thing here. The public transport system here works pretty well but some people still find things to complain about. And a bus that only come ones a day that’s pretty useless. Here most busses at least go once every half hour in the bigger cities, even more in the really big cities and at leats once an hour in the very small villages as well.
      I never realized how many bloggers would be interesting to hear about my experiences. I never see where I come froma s somethign special as it’s something normal for me. Maybe I’ll have to do some more posts about the Netherlands in the future. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. As a fellow European blogger, I agree with you on so many of these things. Except the struggles with English as I’m a native English speaker. But you are so fluent in your blog posts that it’s not immediately obvious that you aren’t.
    I’m always so lost when it comes to temperatures in Fahrenheit, I have to convert to get some idea of what range its in. And I’m not too bad on US history as I love history and have picked up loads from reading also but my geographical knowledge is sketchy to say the least! Unless I look it up, I usually have no clue what part of the US a state is in (apart from a few obvious ones).
    I love this post Lola. I know the differences but it’s fun to see them spelled out.
    Trish @ Between My Lines recently posted…The Sunday Post : Get your Bookish News #48My Profile

    • Aww thanks for the compliment! I do notice I am not a native speaker sometimes, but I usually know how to write it only get stumped with certain words or phrases now and then. And I read so many english books that it feels as I know that language amost as well as ducth, although writing it is still a bit more difficult.
      I just hate having to convert all those measurements, it can take so much time and it just isn’t intuitive what range it is.
      My history of the US is pretty decent I think as I did a course about US history during university (and I totally loved it!), but I still feel like I know less then those who were born there. Maybe that’s more the idea I have than truth, who knows?

  7. The US is never switching to the metric system! I remember when I was a kid, learning the metric system in school, thinking why don’t we just switch? The metric system is easy! Now that I’m an adult, I know it’s because adults are too used to the imperial system and would have to go back and relearn metric. If you don’t use it, you forget it. It would be a pain to have to convert everything for recipes though. Fortunately there are internet sites that will do that for you these days. 🙂 I sometimes have to convert certain things and I just Google to find a site to do it. Many Americans don’t even have a kitchen scale. Of course, many Americans don’t really cook very often either.

    I like to ride my bike, but for exercise, not for transportation. The places I go are too spread out for that, there are no bike lanes, and if you ride in the street or even on the side of it, you’re likely to get run over (on purpose, sometimes). I’ve never been to summer camp either. Camp is for rich kids. Not really, but my family didn’t have the money for it. Not going to camp is one of the reasons I love reading summer camp books.
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    • I usually look the convertion rates up on the internet, but everything needs a different converter and some sites only list butter and flour, but not cocoa powder for example. It still takes a while to convert everything even with the internet. And indeed I don’t think they will ever switch to the metric system, but I can dream, right?
      I can’t imagine cooking without a scale.

      I also love reading summer camp books as it’s something I never got to experience. I can imagine they would be pricey, sad to hear you never had to chance to go to one, but at least we have books through which we can experience it.
      Here there are bike lanes almost everywhere, I think you can cycle almost to everywhere here in the Netherlands.

    • Thanks Iza :). I notice I still make some typo’s and mistakes now and then, but I’ve come a long way from when I struggled in high school to learn english.
      I usually don’t notice someone’s not from the US due to their writing, but more when they mention specific things about where they live.

  8. Great post Lola! Being from the US, I guess I never really realized how much I take for granted. I’ve read a few books that take place in other countries, but the majority of the books I read happen in the US. I also have a hard time pronouncing cities, names, and such when the book is in another country, but I guess that’s something that helps that you do speak English even if you have an accent. Shoot…even I have an accent (I’m from the Alabama….the south). I definitely find it interesting to see how much can be different and even annoying when you’re from a different country. It’s just things that I totally take for granted and don’t even realize it. Definitely do more posts about the Netherlands!

    SP & STS
    Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know
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    • I think where you come from offers a slightly different point of view to things. Pronouncing foreign city names and such can be difficult indeed! In books and such it’s sometimes mentioned that there are different accents even in the US, but I never heard them. I’ll try to do more posts about the Netherlands in the future, I am already writing down ideas when inspiration strikes.

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