Sunday, October 23, 2011

USA Early Observations

Whenever I move to a new country, I like to make some observations after a short time. Maybe interesting, maybe they show my small-mindedness, maybe funny, maybe insightful... fresh perspective is a rare and beautiful thing, and so I observe. I have not been in the USA in 2 years, I haven’t lived here in 4 years. As such, I do feel like I have some new observations, not completely as a foreigner but a bit of an outsider. So here are my return to America observations:

-Everything is bigger in the US, at least compared to Europe. Roads, cars, farms, houses, grocery stores, hamburgers, portions, parking spaces, campuses, and people.

-Choices. So. Many. Choices. I step into a Wal-Mart and I’m awed by the choices, of mostly junk. I walk through a mall, and I’m overwhelmed by all the different ways I can throw away money on things I don’t need. So many choices. I’ve learned in France a little tip for how to find a good restaurant. In general, avoid the places with 10-page menus offering everything from French to Thai to Moroccan cuisine. Go for someplace that specializes in very few things and only offers what they do well. Coming back to the States with an overabundance of choices is a bit intimidating. Did you know that there are currently 67 varieties of Pop-Tarts?

-A tank of gas in the States costs me about $45. In France it's about $90.

-I was driving through Lexington, KY and noticed a church of some sort on nearly every street corner. All over the place. And big churches too. I started eye-balling and guessing some numbers, and I honestly think that there may be more seats in all of the local churches than there are habitants of the city. Someone should do that study. And then reteach the whole concept of “building drives.”

-The current Dodge Chargers are nice-looking cars.

-Mmmmm bacon. If anyone in southern France knows how to buy and prepare bacon in the American fashion, talk to me.

-I love the woods. National Parks. Trails. I hope our country protects them. When I talk to people about visiting the USA, I always direct them to the parks. Very much worth discovering and exploring. I also think that our country is far better visited in smaller towns and cities, local diners, and getting away from the interstate. The same is true of other countries. If you want to come to France, your visit will be infinitely richer by getting away from Paris.

-I love milkshakes. But I have to limit myself to one a day. Two is too many.

-Everyone in the US drives. That’s the way the country is set up: expansive, open, and car-dependent. It’s not bad, not better, just different. But I miss my walking and public transit European home.

-TSA. Cincinnati. Sheesh.


ryan shane said...

I was in a French supermarket the other day and realized that the only product where the French rival the US on number of choices is wine. Entire aisles of nothing but wine!

Michael & Joe Joe said...

Don't forget yogurt. Who knew there could be 40+ varieties of natural yogurt?