Palo Alto

I don't know where to start! It's super exciting to be in Palo Alto, and to be a newbie again. I'm not fluent in Korean but I feel more confused here than in Korea, it's a funny feeling.


I've been to the US before but it was a long time ago so I didn't have to care about money and paying things. I must admit that I haven't had much time to prepare my trip and I haven't read anything on American manners. In Korea, they don't expect any tips and tourist information even tell you not to tip because it's not customary. In France, service is included in the bill and tipping is left to your own decision. The first meal I paid here, I expected the waiter to keep the tip but he didn't and didn't ask for it so I was confused. Tips are mandatory right? Also, every time I pay, I don't really know how to give the tip, do you just leave it on the table, hand it to your waiter? Sounds stupid but I don't know why I'm so confused by this.

Crossing the streets

I'll sound stupid again but this is also confusing to me. There is a button at each crossing that you can press, so that the light for the pedestrian becomes green and you're safe to cross. Sometimes, it seems that this button has no effect at all. There is also the green light for the cars that are going in the same direction as you, but looking at this light is not always good, since cars from the other side can be turning. Anyway, I'm confused with all the signs. I'm also not sure about the etiquette: do people wait until the light is green for them or do they just cross whenever there is no car? Is it rude to cross when the light is not green? In France, I'll just cross whenever there is no car, but in Korea, it can be dangerous and you can get a fine for it. And people usually don't cross.


In Seoul, people don't really talk to strangers easily, especially in the streets or in the subway. And if you're a client somewhere, they'll be extremely polite to you. In Paris, people are just rude, almost all the time. In Palo Alto, it feels like everyone is being super friendly and all smiles! Maybe it's just because I've just arrived and know nobody, but I was really shocked by the friendliness of everyone, haha.

No night life

What I understood is that people wake up early here and thus sleep early. There are some bars but the night life sure isn't at Seoul level. And it's also a super residential area, so I can't really compare to big cities like Paris or Seoul!


Compared to Seoul, I feel like in a jungle here! The streets are super green, and it's really nice! It's also super hot already, even though we're only in April. All the houses are quite beautiful and well-maintained (I realize that I'm in one of the richest area in the US). Although it's quite big and there are a lot of streets, there is little chance to get lost since all the streets are straight and well outlined.

Public transportation

Compared to Seoul where we had plenty of subway lines, buses, taxis, everything, and Paris where there is a subway station every 500 meters, public transportation here is almost non-existent. It seems that almost everyone has a car, or even 2 or 3. I'm here for only 3 months and I have no budget for car rental, so I rented a bike. :) It's too bad the big food markets are quite far, because the closest I have is Whole Foods and it's expensiiiive!

Fahrenheit, miles

To convert from Celsius to Fahrenheit, you have to multiply by 9, divide by 5 and add 32. What the...? Haha, I'll never learn the conversion but I'll try to learn the cold and hot ranges anyway. Miles are ok but I wish the whole world used the metric system!