What’s normal for you and me might not be normal for someone we know who lives abroad. Or their neighbor. One of the harsh truths of life is that reality isn’t always as objective as we might think it is.

In a viral thread, Redditors shared the best examples of what’s completely normal for people from their country and absolutely weird for foreigners. We’ve compiled some of the best answers that we hope will make you smile and laugh.

Scroll down and upvote your favorite things that are normal for some people, but are unusual for the rest of the world. If you enjoyed this list, why not share it with your friends? And be sure to let everyone know in the comments if you’ve got any of your own stories about what’s normal for your country, but that you realize to be strange when you go abroad.

#1

Going bankrupt from medical debt. (USA)

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Ceredwyn Ealanta
Community Member
11 months ago

We don't just find it weird, we find it sad and we're worried about if you're okay.

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#2

Everyone rags on the US for using imperial, but can we talk for a second about how weird we are here in the UK for using both inconsistently?

You buy a pint of milk or beer, but a litre of coke and 25ml of whiskey

People know how many miles to the gallon their cars get, but you buy fuel at pence per litre.

You watch the weather forecast and the temperature is in Celsius but the wind speed is in miles per hour

Most people can tell you their weight in kilograms, and their height in feet, and if they can't give you kilograms they can probably give you stone instead, which is even older than pounds, which nobody uses as a unit of measurement, probably because of the confusion between lbs and £...

It's a glorious mess.

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Nunya
Community Member
11 months ago

The US also uses Metric...and Imperial. Perhaps not that the extent described. But alcohol, soda, and other products are measured in liters, milliliters, etc. Milk, water, etc are in gallons, ounces, etc. medications are in milligrams but food is in ounces/pounds.

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#3

upset? have a cup of tea

happy? cup of tea

bored? cup of tea

literally any feeling? cup of tea

edit: yes, I’m from the UK, tea is our answer to all of life’s problems.

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Lucas
Community Member
11 months ago

Yep, tea. I'm in the UK. My sister got married and had an afternoon tea party. FFS. Celebrating with bloody tea.

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Reddit user Ojlol2’s thread on the ‘Ask Reddit’ subreddit got more than 63,000 upvotes in a day, as well as over 48,000 comments. Wow, now that’s a lot of people wanting to share their experience about how normality can differ from nation to nation.

From bizarre actions to eyebrow-raising phrases, there will always be things that seem out of place, as long as different countries, cultures, and ethnicities exist. And it’s a wonderful thing because a shift in your perspective can lead to more creativity and a more objective understanding of yourself.

#4

Unsuccessfully helping your dad look for one of his missing thongs and then watching him squeeze into one of your mum's so he can go out into the back yard and get the laundry. I'm told the rest of you (incorrectly) call them flip flops. (Australia)

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Lady Laura
Community Member
11 months ago

I was picturing the dad squeezing into tiny thong underwear. Quite the mental image!

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#5

Eating with our hands.

In 1969 (the same year the man landed on the moon), Miss Gloria Diaz coveted the Philippines' first Miss Universe Crown. During the preliminary Q&A, she was asked "Is it true that you Filipinos use your hand when you eat?" To which she replied "Why? Do you use your feet?" and went her way to winning the crown. (Phillipines)

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nanashi
Community Member
11 months ago

HAH I would definitely use that response in the future!

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#6

Tax not included in advertised price (USA)

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Foxxy
Community Member
11 months ago

I just find that weird.

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The United States of America is one of the most powerful countries on Planet Earth, but it doesn’t mean that everything its citizens do is the norm across the world. Some things are minor differences. While some take you aback, make you stop, and keep you awake at night thinking about the cosmos, Multiverse theory, and humankind as a whole.

#7

Bears on motorcycles driving on roads, drinking vodka and playing balalaikas.

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Hahaha! Gotcha. What I said was untrue. Russia doesn't have roads.

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Katchen
Community Member
11 months ago

Ha!

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#8

Putting broken glass bottles on the walls around your house so burglars cant jump it and rob you. I moved to Canada and they don't even have walls around the houses! (Brazil)

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Guido Pisano
Community Member
11 months ago

It is not so common but you can find also in italy

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#9

Having a reality tv star as president (USA)

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Emerald Joanna
Community Member
11 months ago

Or an actor as president? Or a non-American actor as governor? Americans must think that people in the public eye are automatically qualified to run things...

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For example, one thing that is really odd is how Americans write today’s date by starting with the month, then writing down the day, and ending with the year. Most countries in the world start with the day or end with it. While we’re on the subject, how is it that the US still uses the Imperial System? It seems like the American War of Independence didn’t get rid of all of Britain’s influence over the colonies.

#10

In my high school (US) we had a group of australian students come to live a day in the life of an american high school. They all thought it was so bizarre and cult-ish that every morning we had to stand and recite the pledge of allegiance to the flag with our hands over our hearts. I couldn't agree more that it is, indeed, bizarre and cult-ish.

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Katchen
Community Member
11 months ago

Agreed. It’s creepy af.

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#11

Direct democracy in Switzerland. It often baffles me when I read what the government can pull off in other countries without ever involving the population. Like...yea, you get to elect representatives but it often seems to me that those people then elect someone who elects someone who elects someone...is it really still democracy if you're about five steps removed from the actual decisions? (Switzerland)

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OhForSmegSake
Community Member
11 months ago

Yeah, I wish more countries had Direct Democracy

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#12

Men holding hands in public as a display of friendship is normal in Afghanistan but super weird in the west.

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European other
Community Member
11 months ago

And men who are friends do that in Tanzania

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Constantly tipping everyone, no matter how well they did their jobs, also causes a lot of people to shrug and give Americans peculiar looks. Japan’s a real wonderland in that regard: there’s almost no tipping.

#13

In my country you bike everywhere. Cars aren't used much. For longer distances you mostly use train and public transport. Also being 6 foot is normal (The Netherlands)

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Pamela24
Community Member
11 months ago

6 ft = 182 cm

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#14

I have two to share since I'm half and I get to see those every year. Dead. We celebrate dead and we have parades about dead. We laugh about dead. Dead is our friend. In Mexico we treat dead with love and fun.

Also in Japan we celebrate kanamara Matsuri. Wich is basically a parade about fertility with dicks everywhere. Small dicks. Giant dicks. Dicks as food.

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chi-wei shen
Community Member
11 months ago

This means during Kanamara Matsuri you can tell someone to go eat a dick without sounding suspicious.

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#15

Small talk in Poland actually is quite sincere. If someone asks you what's up, you tell them exactly that it's s**tty etc.

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Leo Domitrix
Community Member
11 months ago

Yep. And it's not being negative. It's being *honest*.

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#16

Being left off of maps (New Zealand)

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Emerald Joanna
Community Member
11 months ago

We are just toooo tiny...hehe

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#17

Whole restaurants cheering when a plate or glass is smashed (UK). Once was in a Canadian bar/restaurant on holiday and a waiter dropped a tray of glasses, the local looked horrified when i was out of my seat screaming “wheyyyyyy”

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Carrie de Luka
Community Member
11 months ago

Alongside the suggestion to 'sack the juggler'

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#18

Leaving your baby alone outside for their nap, even if it rains or snows. (Norway)

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MagicalUnicorn
Community Member
11 months ago

Lithuanian there, was sleeping in balcony straight out of hospital (born at the end of November), this is also very common in Estonia

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#19

Being middle-class with a property having a 6' wall, electric fencing linked to an alarm, automated gate and garage doors (with security clamps over the gate motor to prevent theft of the motor), security gates over every door, burglar bars, and a house alarm system with infra-red sensors linked to armed response with a reaction time of under 3-4 minutes. (South Africa)

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Catherine Waite
Community Member
11 months ago

This was something I found very hard to adjust to when I moved to South Africa from the UK. I went from if you forget to close a window or lock a door odds were you would be fine. ~To nope nope nope, you do that and you're probably coming home to an empty house if lacking said security features.

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#20

We have no sun here. Around this time of year everyone start asking each other "You been taking vitamin D?". It doesn't matter if you're talking about feeling sad, dealing with the flu, or missing limbs... you been taking vitamin D bro? (Canada)

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Geoffrey Holland
Community Member
11 months ago

It depends on where you are in Canada obviously. We have plenty of sun here on the West coast.

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#21

To get money back when you bring empty plastic bottles to the supermarket. In Germany its called Pfand. Each bottles makes 25 cents.

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Katchen
Community Member
11 months ago

I wish we had that where I live. I remember buying soda “gegen Pfand” in Germany and turning the bottle back in.

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#22

On Valentine's day, men don't give any gifts. Only women give gifts, they only give it to men, it's always chocolate, and they get it for all the men in their lives, including coworkers. Then there is a day on the 14th of March where the men reciprocate. The gifts are only from men to women this time, and are chocolate or jewelry or nice clothes, and the amount spent is directly related to the amount of chocolate received. (Japan)

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Cat on a bike
Community Member
11 months ago

That is actually brilliant!

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#23

Eating most of the organs of an animal, I had some people look at me in disgust when I told them how tasty the brain and the heart of an animal are (Romania)

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Heins Zhammer
Community Member
11 months ago (edited)

that's the main problem with today's western culture-when thinking of a chicken you get chicken breast or a leg rather than a chicken medley. post-CCCP countries (romania, bulgaria, poland, lithuania, the whole eastern block and the balkans), much like still asian and african cultures, utilized not so long ago the whole animal and did not waste any parts, hence the brain (stir fried), gut soup, bone soup, blood sausage, lard with bread, cow tounges and many other delish dishes.

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#24

I think tips are a thing in other countries, but in America you have to tip almost everywhere you eat or you get hardly judged by everyone. And if the tip isn’t big enough, they judge you too. It’s so dumb.

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Wil Vanderheijden
Community Member
11 months ago

In civilised countries employees are paid a proper wage and their tips are an extra for them. Tips are considered a token of appreciation on how well the server did. Bad service means no or very small tip. In America servers rely on their tips to get a decent income.

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#25

People are always shocked at in my country: 1) our “public” restroom stalls are constructed in such a way that you can pretty much see what a person is doing in there thanks to a constant crack between the door and its frame... 2) I say “public” in quotes because most of our so-called public restrooms are in private businesses who don’t let our surprisingly very large number of homeless use and since there is no actual fully public restroom to use, said homeless often piss and sometimes even s**t in our streets. Oh- and we have a higher percentage of our population in jail than literally every single nation on earth. (USA)

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Wil Vanderheijden
Community Member
11 months ago

A lot of people refer to the US as "Backwardistan" or "Dumbfvckistan" since the tangerine toddler took office.

Kiss Army
Community Member
11 months ago

"Tangerine Toddler"! I've actually never heard that one before but you can bet that I will be using it from now on!! LOL!!

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Leo Domitrix
Community Member
11 months ago

AMEN. Can I please have a door that doesn't have such gaps that I may as well just be in an open field? And WHY do we even have homeless, and a lack of public facilities? Oh, right, Good Muricans don't pay taxes, they just want good roads, good schools, national defense... *headdesk*

Mewton’s Third Paw
Community Member
11 months ago

Homelessness is often paired with mental illness. Take care of the mentally ill and homelessness would be dramatically reduced. Not because life in America is easy, but because most mentally stable people who fall victim to homelessness are able to use public programs to help them out of it. Not true for mentally ill victims.

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Holly Allen
Community Member
11 months ago

Yeah but at least you don't have to put coins in the stalls to be able to use them

Nathalie Langevin
Community Member
11 months ago (edited)

So, so sad. That once great nation has grown to become hell. Young adults starting their lives in debt for getting an education, children getting killed in school, people dying because they can't afford to get care... There is nothing left to envy.

Nikki Avery
Community Member
11 months ago

1.) Homeless people are barred from public restrooms because a lot of times people would see them in disgusting shape. It USED to he that homeless people were more mentally ill than just broke. Now it's mostly just poor people and drunks. Unfortunately they still have that horrible reputation. 2.) Our jails and prisons are privately owned businesses which have state contracts that require states to maintain a certain level of population. It was a HUGE mistake on the government's part to let this happen. Now it's so complicated that it's almost impossible to reverse it.

Rage Racer
Community Member
10 months ago

FACTS!

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JJM
Community Member
11 months ago

That's very sad isn't it especially since you are SUPPOSED to be the 'greatest country on earth'

Soggy Crumpet
Community Member
11 months ago

This is just someone trying too hard to complain about the US. A crack in the stalls? Do you really feel like people are trying to stare at you peeing? And you are upset that we have justice system that actually punishes wrongdoings and takes criminals off the streets?

Ben Brogan
Community Member
11 months ago

You don't have a higher percentage of your population in jail. You have the largest number of people in jail, more than any other country.

Meami
Community Member
11 months ago

The first time I went to Europe, I thought I died and gone to Heaven when I used the restroom. The amount of privacy was awesome!

D Miller
Community Member
11 months ago

Lots of other countries have holes in the ground as a public toilet. Unless you're in downtown Seattle, San Francisco, Downtown LA, or NYC, you aren't going to see the nasty stuff.

Martin Mcbride
Community Member
11 months ago

The doors are just wrong - no one needs to see your underwear when you're taking a shit

Silvaqua
Community Member
11 months ago

Uhh actually we do have public restrooms, and the private ones vary in design. Whoever wrote this must live in an especially sucky city. Like Seattle.

Mewton’s Third Paw
Community Member
11 months ago

Seattle is the shit though. They just have a major homelessness problem

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Pumbaa
Community Member
11 months ago

After the first half I was thinking you were talking about India lol

Sarah Hartness
Community Member
7 months ago

people are talking about trump, while I'm reading how some countries leave their babies outside unattended in all elements, others are helping their dad squeeze into a thong, etc. Lets face it, the whole world has problems, the US just has too big of mouth, and we need to keep things to ourselves. LOL

Rage Racer
Community Member
10 months ago

The homeless shit part is just San Francisco ROFL. I've never once had to doge human land mines in any of the other 38 states I have lived in or visited.

Gracie Mae
Community Member
11 months ago

sad but true...

Florence Hastings
Community Member
11 months ago

I was born in the US and moved to europe 40 years ago. The short of the long is I have no wish to move back.

Laughinmydreams
Community Member
11 months ago

Yep. Same in Canada. Very, very few public toilet/restroom facilities. If I plan to go shopping, I do not have any liquids in the morning. Not easy.

L McN
Community Member
11 months ago

First off, this is largely incorrect. A public restroom is just that, PUBLIC, it can be used by anyone. Even the homeless. However, not sleeping in said restroom is enforced (this is a toilet, not a bed). Secondly, most of the restrooms you seem to refer to are privately owned, and thus not under any requirement for the owner to allow public use of. Thirdly, the maintenance on the restrooms is highly dependent on the organization in charge of that particular facility. I have seen terrible ones like described, and great ones. The people of that area need to hold their government accountable. And lastly, I do agree that we should have more restrooms available to the public in key areas, not just rest areas along highways. And they should be properly maintained. But it takes the people to make it happen as well, not just those who make the policies.

Suzanne Harris
Community Member
11 months ago

Try telling that to every store that has a rule if you aren't a paying customer, you cannot use the bathroom.

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Mark Kelly
Community Member
11 months ago (edited)

Unfortunately it's like that a bit here in Canada. Still a clean country.

Mala Qiu
Community Member
11 months ago

Two female friends from Taiwan went to the U.S. for a working holiday, and they were shocked at the gaps in the restroom doors.

Leon Parreira Garcia
Community Member
11 months ago

I saw these "cracks in the door" in bathrom stalls in a trip to Bolivia (I'm from Brazil).

Valerie Lessard
Community Member
11 months ago

In Australia you can't walk for 5 minutes without encountering a public toilet, and thankfully they've started becoming smarter with doors and privacy, if you find yourself unable to find a public toilet, you can walk into an office or shop and ask nicely to use theirs. Also, americans seem to consider it impolite to say toilet

Mewton’s Third Paw
Community Member
11 months ago

No we don’t. It’s just surprising to hear because for Americans, toilet is the seat where you go poop, not the room where the seat is. Non Americans call the room “toilet” or “wc”. Americans call that the bathroom. The toilet is in the bathroom.

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Nagawa (Cofa) Kishiki
Community Member
11 months ago

When you face with a crook, beat him till he is unconscious and then stuff him into a overcrowded jail without solving the real cause - Batman approved.

Mewton’s Third Paw
Community Member
11 months ago

That’s the American way. Smh

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TheBlackPanda
Community Member
11 months ago

The dark side of USA

Ojberretta Berretta
Community Member
11 months ago

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still better than china where who knows how many ppl are in camps being tortured and where any critic of the goverment can give you jail....GO USA GO TRUMP 2020 LATINOS PARA TRUMP

Japu Uhuclan
Community Member
11 months ago (edited)

Trump puts latino toddlers in cages, like birds.Don't know if China ever did that.

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CR82
Community Member
11 months ago

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Why is it continually acceptable to call people names ( racist hillybilly etc.) for supporting the president of their country? Isn't that behavior just as hypocritical and dare I say... racist? I just don't understand how it is ok to do it for one reason but its absolutely DEPLORABLE to do it for another.

Mewton’s Third Paw
Community Member
11 months ago

Because the people who support Trump are supporting a racist who lies. Racism is when you hate someone for their ethnicity or skin color. Supporting Trump isn’t an ethnicity or skin color, so if people criticize you or put you down, it’s based on the decisions you’ve made and the things you believe - not because of your ethnicity.

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#26

Strangers sitting totally naked skin to skin in a steamy room heated to +80 to +100C... and us having competitions on who can last the longest in there. (Finland)

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chi-wei shen
Community Member
11 months ago

Some 50 years ago this was unthinkable in Austria but today it's common for strangers to sit naked in a sauna, except for the skin-to-skin part. Even the slightest touching is totally inappropriate.

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#27

In my friend's country, Easter is when gangs of boys roam the countryside, pouring water over girls and beating them (gently) with sticks. The girls then have to thank them for it. I thought that was pretty weird. (Slovakia)

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Heins Zhammer
Community Member
11 months ago

same in poland still in rural parts of the country

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#28

Queuing politely (UK)

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Si
Community Member
11 months ago

I don’t understand the mentality that it’s okay to push in front of somebody who’s already waiting.

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#29

Putting cable ties, branches, fake eyes etc on helmets, buckets and hats in spring time to scare away the birds. Magpies are vicious bastards (Australia)

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OhForSmegSake
Community Member
11 months ago

I'm 30+ and I've never been swooped. In fact I used to take refuge from the school bullies underneath the magpie trees because the birds would swoop the bullies but not me.

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#30

Calling a Traffic Light a Robot (South Africa)

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chi-wei shen
Community Member
11 months ago (edited)

...and a gas station a garage, and a pick-up truck a bakkie.

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