Melissa Herrera is originally from Norfolk but moved to South Carolina in August 2021
Moving from the UK to America can be a culture shock – and one British TikToker in the U.S is brilliantly capturing that experience.
Melissa Herrera is originally from King’s Lynn, Norfolk, but moved to the Fort Mill area of South Carolina in August 2021. She has made several videos about the things she finds ‘strange’ about life as a Brit in America and they’ve struck a chord with TikTok users – she’s garnered more than 74,000 followers on the video platform.
The video titles include ‘Things in American house that British people would find strange’, ‘Stuff in an American neighbourhood that makes no sense to a British person’ and ‘Things that scream I’m in America’.
In her videos, the 31-year-old documents uniquely American customs such as ‘weird’ drive-through ATMs, ‘odd’ outdoor TVs on porches and ‘glittery’ fake boulders that are designed to obscure neighbourhood power boxes.
Melissa has made several TikTok videos about the things she finds ‘strange’ about life as a Brit in America – such as drive-thru ATMs (above)
The TikToker finds it ‘odd’ that some Americans have outdoor TVs on their porches
Other unusual-for-British-people features she captures on camera include a drive-thru pharmacy (‘helpful if you’re really sick’); wreaths on doors (‘I don’t understand why, it’s not Christmas’); colourful flags pinned outside houses (‘I don’t know what the point of them is’); water coolers in homes (‘random’) and top-loading washing machines (‘I did not even know this was a washing machine when I came here… so strange’).
Melissa – who lives with her wife Stacie and their pet dogs – also captures people driving around her neighbourhood in golf buggies, signs outside houses to mark birthdays and graduations, and basketball hoops (‘every single house has a basketball hoop’).
She tells MailOnline Travel separately: ‘Everyone is very, very patriotic out here and I’d say a good 80 per cent of the houses all have the American flag hanging outside. Even when it’s not a special occasion.’
Other peculiar things she has noticed? In one clip, she reveals that she got fined for leaving their wheelie bins on show in front of their house, and in another, she points her camera at the ‘one and only’ roundabout that she has seen since being in America.
Melissa – who lives with her wife Stacie and their pet dogs – reveals how people drive around her neighbourhood in golf buggies
Above is a fake boulder designed to obscure neighbourhood power boxes
Melissa reveals that she got fined for leaving their wheelie bins on show in front of their house
Pictured left is Melissa’s top-loading washing machine. She says: ‘I did not even know this was a washing machine when I came here… so strange’. Some U.S homes have water coolers (right), which Melissa describes as ‘random’
Melissa, who met her wife Stacie through TikTok and moved to America to be with her, is also amazed by the facilities in her residential community, which is run by a private ‘homeowner association’. Her videos show how the neighbourhood has its own clubhouse with a gym, as well as a private pool and a tennis court for residents to use. ‘[It] blows my mind because we would not have this in England in our neighbourhood,’ says the TikToker, who describes herself as a ‘full-time dog mum and housewife’.
A major plus point to such U.S neighbourhoods, she reveals, is their cleanliness. She says in a video: ‘Ten out of ten for the tidiness of the neighbourhoods in these areas. There’s no litter ever. Britain does not look like that.’ Melissa also notes that American street signs ‘look a lot more classy than the street signs in Britain’.
That said, she’s startled by the sheer size of everyday items and buildings in the U.S. The content creator says: ‘Everything is so, so much bigger here. It’s on a supersized level.’
Melissa explains: ‘The American houses I have seen and been in are all on a very, very large scale. We have two living rooms, four bathrooms, [and] walk-in closets in every room. [It’s] just very, very big, but in the area I am in this sized house is considered the “norm”.’
In one clip, Melissa points her camera at the ‘one and only’ roundabout that she has seen since being in America, noting that they’re so unusual one-way signs are needed
A video shows how Melissa’s neighbourhood has its own clubhouse with a gym, a private pool and a tennis court. ‘[It] blows my mind because we would not have this in England in our neighbourhood,’ she says
Melissa’s ‘huge’ bed. She says: ‘Everything is so, so much bigger here.’ And the steps? They’re for the dogs
Her videos hone in on her big pantry, her ‘mammoth’ fridge-freezer, a walk-in wardrobe that’s ‘the size of a bedroom’ and the ‘huge’ bed that ‘would not fit in any bedroom in England unless you lived in a mansion’.
In one, she turns her camera on a vast high school (‘the size of London’) and a ‘huge’ American liquor store, and remarks that ‘every single car is like an army tank’.
What are the biggest positives to life stateside? Melissa muses: ‘The best thing I have found about living in America is definitely the nicer weather we have here in South Carolina. The beaches are a lot nicer.’
She also highlights ‘the convenience’ of life in the east coast state, noting how ‘the stores are nearly all open twenty-four-seven’ and ‘you can have anything and everything delivered to your house’. Melissa notes: ‘I also love that you can go to a normal mall here nearby where you live and buy designer make-up and clothes, whereas in the UK you have to go to specialist shopping centres.’
Melissa with her wife Stacie at the World Trade Center station in New York
Melissa with her dog Vincent. She describes herself as a ‘full-time dog mum and housewife’
And the low lights? Melissa reveals: ‘The worst thing about living in America is that absolutely nothing is familiar or even similar to the UK. It never really feels like “home”. I have found the food here to not be very nice as they put a lot of extra stuff into their produce which we do not have in the UK. I miss English Sunday roasts so, so much!’
The TikToker adds that, in her opinion, McDonald’s in the U.S’ tastes disgusting’ compared to the chain’s food in the UK.
On top of that, she misses driving in the UK, saying: ‘In America, it’s so, so big I never know where I’m going and everything seems to be a long drive away.’
Melissa’s experience of adapting to the American lifestyle hasn’t been plain sailing. She says: ‘In all honesty, I am a true Brit through and through and have really struggled to adjust to life in the USA.
‘I may be biased, but I think the Brits do everything better on the whole! Our food is better, our sense of humour is better, and our restaurants are nicer. I really could go on but don’t want the whole of America to hate me!’
Reacting to Melissa’s videos, some American TikTokers highlighted how different life in South Carolina looks compared to everyday life in other parts of the country. User Brian Allen wrote: ‘Looks completely different than where I live in USA. Interesting.’ And user ‘No’ wrote: ‘I don’t live in this type of USA.’
One user, meanwhile, was impressed by the drive-thru concept. Alice Darrand wrote: ‘What! A drive-thru ATM, that’s something Great Britain should invest in!’
To see more videos from Melissa, follow her on TikTok at tiktok.com.