Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Life in the States

Well, we are enjoying being back in the good ole U S of A. I love having things in English. However, we are having a bit of reverse culture shock over here, for example:

Why is everything centered around shopping at big stores that take up ungodly amounts of land, when another version of the same shops are a mile away? I mean, each little neighborhood is custom built around a little mall, like a Walt Disney planned neighborhood over here! The houses look the same, they are quite large and with small yards. So many were just bought to sell or rent.
These are not the family homes we saw in Japan, with the landlady who lives next door and built another house on her land to rent out. Everyone has a large master bedroom with a bathroom in it, and certain kinds of floors and counter tops. Everyone has HHA approved shrubs in the front yard, surrounded by a thick ring of sod. Why don't we have more open land? What has happened to the mom and pop stores?? It's a bit sad.
Why is everyone so loud when they talk? Why are they so rude and inconsiderate of eachother? I get struck by how strangers are not kind to eachother, they assume the worst and will mutter terrible things to people they don't know.
Why do people not smile at eachother, and they look tense and angry all the time when they are out in public. In front of their freshly watered sod washing suds into the street, they are relaxed and cheerful...
Ok, I have mostly noticed this phenomenon in parking lots and crowded shops. Ok, I have been learning to drive on the right side of the road again. People are in a hurry to get to a spot in a store or lot, and they will utter the most unspeakable things to eachother!
Why do people play music really loud, outside in the driveway, while they are washing their large gas-guzzling vehicles?
Why do people, who live in the desert basically, have plants that will not grow there normally and then have to waste good water in their underground sprinkler systems that the Home Owner's Association says we have to have, instead of putting desert-loving plants out?
Why is it so hard to get the short one into his neighborhood school, why is there a wait list for even the local kids, and why don't they hire more teachers? Why can't all schools everywhere be better? Why do the safer neighborhoods get good schools and the kids in the high crime areas get stuck? How are they suppossed to get a chance in life?
Why do people all over the world pay $3 for a cup of coffee, which costs Starbucks 50 cents to make? Which includes this writer.
On the plus side:
Whoa, the dessert here is huge!!! Whoo hoo! And the portions are huge, and cheap! Yay!!
San Diego is a cool and interesting melting pot. So many people and languages. One day Frankie, Yuri and I went to a Chinese supermarket, one day a mixed Asian market. Lemongrass, fish sauce, sweet rice, lime leaves, curry paste, live frogs!
One day we had Vietnamese for lunch, then authentic Mexican, then Greek, then Indian for dinner. We shopped in the Indian neighborhood and picked up spices I've never seen except on a recipe. From there some Toor Daal, cardamom, tamarind paste, frozen garlic naan for Frankie.
From the farmer's market, we got homemade Mexican pork and pepper tamales, hummus and pita bread, watermelon juice, and puppy treat samples.
Target is overwhelming, and so is Barnes and Noble. But in a good way.
We can see the lights of Mexico from my friend Yuri's house. Amazing!
There are no mosquitoes here, and I have not seen a centipede yet. But we do have a red ant issue in the kitchen. Whatever, I don't go in there anyway!
I worked on knitting a shawl on the beach in Coronado while Frankie jumped in the waves the with Ashely. The beach on the base is amazing...
I informed Jose that when we moved here, I would need a car with GPS, so that I would never be intimidated to drive here the way I was in Japan. Sure, I drove, but not with the spirit of freedom that I have now. GPS rocks, and all Navy wives should have one for when they move to a new area. In my humble opinion.


Diane said...

Ha Ha! I agree! A Garmin GPS was one of the first things Brian bought when we got back and I am not sure how I ever lived without it!

Peevish said...

Yesterday I counted all the people talking on cellphones in the two blocks between the haircut place and the subway entrance. I passed 125 pedestrians/bench sitters and 80 of them were chattering away loud enough for a half-deaf person to eavesdrop. "What are we having for dinner?" one young lady asked. "No one really cares," I tossed toward her other ear as I hurried around her to the escalator. How is it everyone can afford cellphones, Blackberries, iPhones, etc., yet cannot spare a buck for the homeless veteran sitting on the curb?

EmilySullins said...

Just catching up after missing a few days - man, I can't decide if I'm excited to go back for real Mexican food, or if I dread ever facing big-box-topia for the rest of my life. Good luck adjusting!

Also, super jealous of beach knitting.

TMRA said...

Hi Wendy! So glad you're enjoying San Diego. We miss living there so much!! You will never see any bugs there, or least not the kind we have here in Japan. Never any mosquitoes, which is always a good thing!! We are getting eaten alive here :) And you can eat outside and be outside year round!! Enjoy your time there!! Happy 4th of July :)