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17 American Quirks That Immigrant Families Just Don't Quite Understand

Why is "How are you?" more of a statement than a question?

We asked you, the BuzzFeed Community, to tell us which American quirk your immigrant family finds super weird. Y'all delivered! Here are 17 things that immigrant families actually see as "weird American things."


Note: submissions have been edited for clarity/length.

1. "Not using water to wash yourself on the toilet (just toilet paper and no bidet) is weird to me."

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2. "My family and I moved to the USA when I was a baby. One thing they find annoying (even now) is being asked, 'How are you?' without wanting to know how someone is actually doing. It seems fake to them."


3. "It's such an American quirk to have flags on private residences/cars/basically anywhere that isn't a government building."

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4. "My Salvadoran family absolutely does not trust dishwashers. In their mind, it’s 'lazy people technology' that doesn’t actually get the job done as well or even as quickly. We’ve lived in houses that come with them, and they literally just sit there untouched."


5. "My Syrian family never let me have sleepovers, so I think it's weird that kids in the US have them all the time."



6. "Ice in drinks is weird to me. I'd rather have more of my drink than lumps of cold water taking up all the space in my cup."

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7. "I’ve always been puzzled by why Americans are so fixed on labels like 'second and third cousins once removed.' I have a huge extended family, and I have no idea what makes a cousin a second or third cousin. In my house, you’re just family and titles like cousins and aunts are more based on age."


8. "I don't understand wearing shoes in the house and sitting on your bed with shoes and/or your outside clothes on."



9. "It's weird that people buy manufactured jams and sauces."

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"My grandpa is from Italy. He grows his own tomatoes, purées them and freezes leftovers during winter so our family can have homegrown sauce all-year round. He has a huge veggie/fruit garden that he adores."


10. "My family is from England and none of us understand heating up water in the microwave for tea. It definitely changes the taste and strength of the tea. No wonder Americans always drink coffee. Their tea is so weak."


11. "It's weird that people don't heat up their tortillas on a pan or in the oven."

"Instead I hear of people heating up tortillas in the microwave and/or not heating them up at all..."


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12. "It's so weird that when people take off their shoes, they don't wear slippers to stop their feet from getting cold."

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13. "My mom stores all of her pots and pans in the oven and removes them all each time she wants to use the oven."


14. "Fast food. We never got fast food. My parents just did not trust those restaurants. They always thought they were using starch powder instead of potatoes, artificial flavoring, etc. To be honest, they weren't totally wrong."


15. "My immigrant family doesn't understand the love for boxed mac 'n' cheese. My extended Panamanian family would always get weirded out about me just wanting a bowl of mac 'n' cheese for dinner or lunch."

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16. "In Venezuelan culture, you only move out after you get married or are financially independent, but in the US almost everyone moves out for college."

"Most people go to college in the same city they live in (if they go to college at all). Universities don't even have dorms where we're from. My parents always wondered 'Why do Americans hate their kids so much?' and 'Why are they happy to see them leave?' but it's really a cultural thing."


17. "My parents came to the US from Mexico over 30 years ago and they still don’t understand the US's fascination with Cinco de Mayo and neither do I. Contrary to popular belief, it is NOT Mexican Independence Day and it’s considered a very minor holiday in Mexico that the vast majority of the country doesn’t celebrate. It’s just an excuse for people to get drunk off of tequila shots and wear/appropriate Mexican sombreros in the US."


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There ya have it! Are there any cultural differences you think we missed? Sound off in the comments below!

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