I lived 3 years in Los Angeles (2013/2016) and I keep going back and forth. It’s my favorite city in the world, the great love of my life. LA for me it represents the possibility of starting over, openness, freedom. But … there are many things in Los Angeles that have amazed me, made me laugh, shocked in these last years!

Here are 33 things that, as an Italian approaching the LA/California/American culture for the first time, really impressed me.

Obviously, some aspects are exaggerated but the article is meant to give you an idea of what struck me the most once I got to LA. I’m aware that every experience is different, that habits change continuously and cannot be generalized, but this has been my experience so far. Enjoy!

Los Angeles The Broad irene ferri

1. There is air conditioning everywhere. It gets cold and terrible, but no American gets sick.
2. Water is free in every restaurant, but it’ll come with tons of ice inside.
3. People are extremely kind. Everyone asks you how are you doing and they tell you things like “you have a wonderful day dear” even if they’ve never seen you before and they don’t know you. So sweet.
4. Supermarkets are small self-functioning cities, with food from ALL parts of the world and all possible brands available: ecological, biodegradable, celiac, paleo friendly, kosher products. So much food that it’ll take you 3 hours just to choose a pack of chewing gum.
5. On the radio, music is streamed non-stop, practically without talking speakers (very different from Italy).
6. Suddenly everyone plays sports or is some sort of professional athlete/yogi/coach.
7. Coffees become gigantic and extremely creative. A daily stop at Starbucks in Los Angeles is completely normal. Pumpkin Spice Latte becomes a reason for living (at least for me it is, without a shadow of a doubt).
irene ferri los angeles venice
8. If you do not do yoga, can you really say you’re living your life fully?
9. All of a sudden it’s impossible to walk from place to place. You need birds, taxis, ubers, lyfts, cable cars, spaceships even just to get two blocks away. Americans refuse to walk from one place to another, they’d take their car to go to the toilet if they could.
10. Americans refuse to walk from one place to another but everyone has a gym membership.
11. Everyone loves Michael Jackson.
12. Everyone loves Mexican food.
13. On American tabloids, you’ll always find Beckham, Gwen Stefani and the Royal Family (I promise).
14. Nobody really knows how to recycle correctly.
15. In Los Angeles, everyone has a pool.
16. Things like chicken and pineapple start appearing on pizzas. I’m not gonna comment on this one.
17. Everyone starts panicking for a couple raindrops. A friend of mine, terrified, once told me: “Are you sure it’s ok for you to drive with all this rain?”. I swear there was only a slight drizzle.
18. Everyone panics for a couple raindrops but earthquakes are dealt with as a piece of cake. Yeah, the earth is trembling and our house is waving like jelly. No big deal.
19. Tinder (and online dating in general) is normal. People don’t really meet in bars or through friends, but through a “swipe right”.
20. Nobody really goes to Hollywood Blvd apart from tourists. The real Hollywood is much less cool than what the whole world thinks.
21. Americans love to vacation in Europe but most of them have never visited the Grand Canyon.
22. In Los Angeles you have dinner at 6.30pm. And bedtime is at around 9.30pm. That’s why I love you, America.
23. Everyone dresses as they like, often in yoga pants or pajamas, and no one has anything to say about it. For this reason as well I love you America and it’s been 5 years leaving my house in yoga pants.

24. There are more Toyota Prius than people.
25. Crazy or hyperspecific words like “Bromance” or “Hella dope” (that are untranslatable in Italian) start showing up.
26. Everything becomes “little”. Americans say the word “little” at least 50 times a day. A little snack. A little nap. A little drink. A little hike. 
27. Roundabouts (the very few roundabouts that are around) freak people out.
28. Cultivating one’s own spirituality is not a hippie thing in LA. Crystals, meditation, yoga, the law of attraction, karma, personal growth are part of pretty much every Angeleno’s life.
29. In Los Angeles, everyone says they are actors and directors but actually they are waiters.

30. Refrigerators are huge and stuffed.

31. If you live in a flat, very often the washer and dryer are not gonna be inside your apartment. You’ll have to share them with probably 20 other people (and each time you have to put in several quarters of dollars to make them work. A lot of work).
32. Suddenly having a boyfriend or girlfriend becomes a state affair. The boyfriends/girlfriends appear in the family postcards. They follow you everywhere even if you just became official as a couple. All of a sudden if a friend gets into a relationship is impossible to see her alone, there will always be the boyfriend with her as well (and vice versa). And please remember: there is a huge difference between dating and hooking up, and if you have hooked up with someone then you can not really date him/her. “Dating in LA” is the worst nightmare.
33. Dogs are demigods.
I hope you enjoyed (a little)!
What are the things that surprised you the most in Los Angeles? Let me know in the comments!
For other America-themed articles have a look at:
cultural differences america italy
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