We're going to Chicago next week for a week (I'm presenting at a conference there, and my school is paying for the trip -- and that is why, I keep reminding myself, I continue going to school). Since we've never been there we got a guidebook from the library, and how fun it is! Oh my are we learning a lot about the American people and their foreign ways.
We have learned, for example, about the odd American sports baseball and basketball. There's no accounting for them, really. We also have a handy two-page spread that explains American money and shows the coins in actual size, which will be a big help when we venture across the pond:
American coins come in 1, 5, 10, and 25-cent denominations. 50-cent pieces are minted but rarely used. Each value of coin has a popular name: 1-cent coins are known as pennies, 5-cent coins as nickels, 10-cent coins as dimes, 25-cent coins as quarters, and 1-dollar coins as bucks.
The banknotes, called "dollar bills" in America, are all the same color so the guidebook reminds me to be vigilant in checking the amount carefully.
One exciting/frightening aspect of a trip to America is the strange food of the natives. Will they have fish and chips? Bubble and squeak? Neeps and tatties?! I mean what will we EAT?! Luckily, our guidebook helps explain the most common weirdnesses we might encounter, and offers photographs too, to help us identify such items. What a great relief this is!
Pancakes. breakfast food made of batter that has been fried until thick and fluffy, are served with butter and maple syrup. Fruit such as blueberries may be mixed into the batter before cooking.
Mixed Green Salad. Sometimes called "side salad". made of fresh lettuce and a variety of garnishes, such as feta cheese and tomatoes. Served with "dressing" such as oil and vinegar and Italian.
Waffles. made of batter baked on a "waffle iron", are topped with fresh berries and whipped cream, with syrup on the side. They are offered on breakfast and brunch menus.
Nachos. a Mexican snack of fried corn crisps covered with melted cheese, is typically accompanied by "salsa", a spicy chunky tomato sauce.
Bacon and eggs. a classic American breakfast dish. Eggs are prepared a variety of ways, shown here "over easy", and served with sausage or bacon, home fries, and toast.
Quesadillas. a Mexican dish of grilled corn or wheat tortillas, stuffed with cheese or other fillings such as chicken, beef, or seafood.
There are other helpful bits, like a photo of what American plugs, "with two flat prongs" look like. Happily, "Americans are generally very friendly and love visitors". Thank goodness for guidebooks to walk us through such a monumental trip across the Atlantic to a whole different country!