Things you were surprised to find out are real

We seem to be spread nicely across the globe and what’s completely normal to me, that’s not necessarily normal to you!

So let’s share our shock moments of life: Things you were surprised to find out are real!

I’ll go first:

Hall passes

That was just a thing I saw ok TV, it seemed weird but I didn’t give it much thought. I got surprised later in life, when I read about other people’s håll pass catastrophes!

I grew up in Sweden (watching a lot of American TV, of course) and hall passes are not a thing at all. If you need to go during class, you just quietly get up, leave, and quietly re-enter. No disturbance, no asking for permission. This is regardless of what grade you’re in!

Sure, some kids might have used that to sneak in a 5-min bonus break - but sometimes that’s really needed. They still cause less disturbance that when than they would of they would start getting unruly in class.


School cafeterias.

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Care to explain further? @Snowy

Now that you mention it, I can see how it can be a little “weird” having to ask to go to use the toilet as a grown up for example. I guess I understand maybe for kids in kindergarten.

I remember making my first purchase at Taco Bell as a high school student in the US. I went to Taco Bell during lunch break and I had the exact change in my pocket for a single taco but turns out tax is added afterwards, so I just stood there with a “sorry I had no idea” look in my face at the cashier after he checked me out. It was only a dollar taco so he was nice enough to cover that couple of cents of tax.

I grew up in the middle east where we either had VAT or non at all. And if there is tax, it’s usually already included in the price so you know exactly how much to expect. I hate the fact that things in the US are advertised at a certain price but you know you’re generally going to pay more. In a way it also gives some false expectation of what the price really is when something is being advertised because it would be pre-tax. (Yea yeah I know you can just expect tax anyway, but that’s not my point.) It’s obvious they use this to their advantage.

I’m not saying this is the wrong or right way, but it’s just easier as a consumer to see what the exact price is from the get-go.

And that’s just one of my culture shocks coming here.


the most surprising thing I have learned. people who don’t realize Norway isn’t some 3rd world country without tech actually exist. having someone ask me if the reason I didn’t like phones was that Norway didn’t have them really threw me for a loop, like I just kind of froze because my brain couldn’t process it.

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What? Who thinks that? I’m in shock!


This is more something I just never considered as opposed to thinking they weren’t real, but flat railroad crossings surprisingly! And yes, this is despite seeing videos and whatnot of them online, I just never really paid it much mind if that makes sense? At least not until I actually moved out of state.

I grew up in the general New Orleans area which, as some of y’all may or may not know, is both largely under sea level and gets a lot of rain which causes a lot of flooding in many places. As a result, almost all of the rail crossings here are like 5ft higher than the road around them, and you have to slow down to maybe 5-10mph to get over them unless you want to kill your car. But, here where I’m going to college, you barely have to slow down to go across most of them and it’s wonderful :weary:


When I went to school here in Australia, all school lunches were either provided by parents or bought from the canteen. There was no large room with tables you went to, grabbed a tray and got food heaped onto your plate then sat down to eat.

To me, that concept was unique to television… Until I saw a Jamie Oliver documentary about him trying to improve school cafeteria food across the US.

I do use the past tense because that was a couple of decades ago. No idea if Australian schools do this now.

To me it’s having your address in the drivers license / passport. Or so I’ve understood from NAR. I’ve grown up with the ID only including your home town/coty/municipality, not actual address. Having mentions of the address being there took me few repeats to actually believe it happens somewhere.


Ooh, I totally agree on this one!

For me, it was IDs that you have even when you’re a kid. I mean, in the US the most common form of ID is a driver’s license (or a learner’s permit, like for me) or a passport, and I hadn’t realized until a couple years ago that in other countries it’s more common for kids to get IDs.

my only ID until I was a high school student was a health card. Boy did that cause problems when trying to do stuff like vote as an adult.

TBH, I was surprised to find out the opposite. To me, it makes sense to have your address on your ID that I just never considered the other direction possible.

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As someone who moved 11 times in 6 years, that would be such an inconvenience!

Here, if you change your address, they just send out a little sticker to put on your license over your old address.

Oh geeze, Here I thought we were talking the other “hall pass” lol oops.

Help this naive girl out, what’s the other hall pass? xD

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I have to ask… what other hall pass…?

The “other” hall pass is where you’re in a committed relationship but are given a “pass” to sleep with someone else if you’re ever to meet. (Think celebrity) The joke in my house is I get a “hall pass” if I ever meet Jason Momoa and he’s not married. lol My future hubby’s is Anna Kendrick. lol There was a movie a long time ago if I remember correctly.

i know right? i took the stories with people that showed that kind of ignorance of the world around them with a grain of salt before. after that happened, I totally believe it no question. how small of a bubble do you have to live in to not know the first thing about other countries!