Nope, I'd never heard of a cardinal before...a whole family of Americans chuckled at me for being ignorant about this one! There's a 'pic' of one on Goth Child's Arizona Cardinals cap above I'd never heard of it before, but the family, who shall rename nameless because they laugh at me quite a lot and yet we're still on speaking terms ;) grew up in a country where the Northern Cardinal is the state bird to West Virginia, Ohio, North Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia, Illinois AND Indiana. They'd probably never know a large-billed reed warbler if they met one though!
The fan's blades can go clockwise or anti-clockwise. There's a little switch on the fan that you can use to change the direction (though sometimes the Americans like to confuse me even more by calling the directions 'forward' and 'reverse'). To make a room feel cooler, you need the fan's blades rotating anti-clockwise (or as they say here 'counter-clockwise') so that it blows the air downward. Changing the direction to clockwise supposedly creates an updraft of the warm air and pushes it down the walls. I blame my ignorance on growing up in a country that never generated sufficient heat to warrant installing ceiling fans.
For all my fellow Brits who are still in the dark as much as we were about this one - most of our rooms have 3 or 4 light switches in a row. Usually one or two of these work different ceiling lights (are 'turn on and offable' to quote the Heat Electric turtle), and a third usually operates the ceiling fan. But then most switch panels have a mysterious final switch that to us didn't seem to do anything. We thought the builders were just planning ahead and giving us an extra switch in case we ever installed more lights.
Then there were the plug sockets in each room that weren't working and we were going to get the landlord to come and check. Luckily we didn't, because our landlord LOVES to laugh our country mouse British ways (he very proudly doesn't own a passport, has never been out of the USA and states that he will never need to because America has everything he could ever want...he's a bit suspicious of 'Europeans').
Just in time, an American friend of ours (after laughing) showed us that the mysterious switches turned the 'apparently not working' sockets on and off - so you can plug a table or floor lamp into them. It makes sense now...though I don't quite see why walking over to a doorway to turn a socket on where you've got a lamp plugged in is any easier than having the socket working all the time ready and waiting for you to switch the lamp on by it's own switch. Perhaps Americans worry about electricity leaking out from the sockets...
Hey, what can I say, we're not used to this space age technology in Shropshire having lived in a house that's over 200 years old and still has the fusebox in the bathroom...New Fangled Ways R'n't Us!
I've never owned/used a waste disposal unit before coming to America, you can't expect me to know that you have to turn the tap on to get the spray thingy working....except that it works on exactly the same principle as turning a shower on that's connected to the bath taps...as my Landlord took great pleasure in telling me. Doh.
5. That porridge the waitress brings you when you've tried to be adventurous and ordered 'Grits', actually is Grits not porridge...
...that's what Grits looks like, so don't whatever you do, no matter how politely you do it, say to the waitress "I'm sorry we didn't order porridge" because trust me, you WILL be laughed at, by the waitress, and the other waiting staff who stop off to look at the British people after they heard what we did.
Been there, done that...won't be doing it again. Will probably do other silly stuff though.