27 January 2008

It's all Big in the US of A

So here I am in my new life in the US and I'm still in shell shock. I keep thinking I'll wake up and be back in Italy with the smell of trash burning. My reality hit me today. I'm "home" with a sick baby and I'm watching the travel channel and it is Rick Steve in Rome. This guy makes my skin crawl and the fact that he was in Rome (my Rome not his) eating and walking through some of my favorite places made me homesick. I can't believe I just wrote that. It is funny to me because when you live in Italy you are always the stanieri (foreigner).

Anyway, I am going through a lot of culture shock here. Here is my top ten list of things I find overwhelming:
  1. Grocery stores -I can't believe how much variety of everything there is here. I seriously get anxious because of all the information being thrown at you coupled with the fact that the aisles have gotten smaller. Just look at the photo I took of JUST the yogurt.
  2. The cars -they are HUGE! I don't know how people can afford to feed those gas tanks.
  3. Too much food -there are so many restaurants and menu selections but, if you really look closely a lot of it is just crap -fattening crap. I swear they pump calories in the air over here and there isn't a lot of walking done around here.
  4. Too much television -I can't even count how many television channels there are
  5. The clothing stores -they all sell the same thing but at different prices.
So that is the stranieri's view of the States these days. By the way -do you think I should rename this blog or just change address?? Leave me a comment -I'd love to hear from you!

13 comments:

Tablebread said...

Good to hear you had the same culture shock we had :) You do get used to it again though. As far as the blog, well, a blog is what you make it.

So continue to make this one a good one :) You are very experienced in cultures and languages (did I get to finally use the word 'polyglot'?!?) So continue to educate us on travel and cultures and all those little nuances that we seem to miss and you seem to catch that make us smile :)

bleeding espresso said...

Ah reverse culture shock! I'm pretty sure I'm going to be taken aback by all of these things when I finally go back for a visit--it's been almost 4 years now since I've been.

As for the name of your blog, if you like the name, keep it--if you don't, change it. No worries :)

Hope your baby is feeling better :)

Delina said...

It's funny how when you go back you look at things as an outsider. It happens to me often.

I think keeping the "2 ciaos" title is a good idea, but you might want to change the writing immediately underneath to be more specific to your present situation.

Buona Domenica!

Ps It's a beautiful day here

Alex said...

Thanks for the love everyone -I've missed this!
Mr. Lewis Tablebread I think you made me blush.
Espresso -you will be overwhelmed when you visit. Baby is better thank you!
Delina- Good suggestion I think I will keep the 2ciaos with a little change. Enjoy the beautiful weather!

Cote de Texas said...

Welcome back - glad you are gettin settled. You know, you are not alone, the WORLD says the same things about the US's grocery stores and our country - the gluttony, the over abundance. I suppose you should just enjoy it! You have choices now.

Alex said...

Choice?! Holy flying tortillas I have choices and it is a dangerous thing -like Pandora's box! I think I'll enjoy it --once I put my eyeballs back in my head.

Kataroma said...

I had the same reaction when I moved to Texas as an exchange student- Such humungous cars - with one person in them, and all those different kinds of yoghurt but so hard to find my favourite kind - full cream (not low fat) yoghurt. It was kind of weird that there was so much low fat food but so many obese people.

Where in the US are you living? Maybe you wouldn't have so much culture shock if you were in my birthplace New York City? When I was growing up I didn't know anyone who owned a car and the grocery stores are tiny.

Alex said...

That is so funny that you should mention the yogurt -I'm having the same problem of finding a full fat plain yogurt that isn't acidic.Now that you mention it about the fat free everything it is very true and eerie. When I asked at the coffee shop for an espresso with sugar they asked me what kind -I couldn't understand until he went through the list of 10 different "sugars" (splenda, sweet low, brown sugar, honey, nutrasweet, maple sugar, cane sugar, etc. --I felt like I was speaking to Bubba Gump!)

nygustafson said...

We went through the exact same re-entry stress when we relocated back to the US after 5 years in the UK. It was really hard to get used to driving again and not walking anywhere. I think I gained 10 pounds within a month! In a few months it will not be so strange. We've been back in NY for almost 2 years but the UK still feels like 'home'...

Your blog is great- I stumbled on to it somehow while doing research for our upcoming trip to Naples. Occasional trips back to Europe help us remember what we like/don't like about both places and how to enjoy where we are!

I think the blog name is great, like someone else suggested you might update the details underneath.

J.Doe said...

I'm still in culture shock 2 years after moving to the US from 4 yr.s in Italy (I also went from a big city to a little town so that only adds to it)
The supermarkets still shock me, especially all the new candies that are in the checkout aisles! Lucky for me I now find Hershey's chocolate repulsive or i would be 150 KG!!
And the big cars and trucks still shock me.

Alex said...

nygustafson- Did I also mention missing my frequent trips to the UK (SO CHEAP on Easyjet)? I think I will update my details and I think I'll also add a special on Naples for you and others who are looking to travel there soon!

J.Doe -speaking of the candies -I was just putting my groceries on the conveyor when I bumped into a big man behind me -his stuff dropped on the floor and as I was apologizing and picking it all up (almost all candy!) Then when I looked to hand it all back to him and apologize again --it was a 6ft wall of candy!! The store worker had bumped it into me. I felt so silly and at the same time I thought -when on earth did they create all of these varieties?! I'm still lol!

jenlaceda said...

canada (toronto) is getting to be the same way. we have lots of big box stores in the suburbs and it's driving me absolutely nuts!! some of the wal-marts here are so big, you can do all your errands / shopping in one place. but i admit, i love the one-stop-shopping when it's -30C degrees and snowing heavily outside (don't need to walk too far for something). how i wish i live at a place with a more temperate weather. i used to live in tropical philippines,so more than anything, it's the extreme canadian weather that shocked me!

franki durbin said...

oh boy. When we returned from weeks in Italy we were literally dancing in the aisles of the grocery store near our home. We absolutely could not believe the contrast. At least 100 varieties of cereal. And don't get me started on the butcher's counter. Absolutely amazing. We had grown so accustomed to one or two choices and such small boxes that coming back home was a treat. Talk about a resurgence of patriotism!

Hmm... you ask about name. It's always risky to change your name because you've built a following. Besides... you'll always have a bit of Italy in your heart and soul. I think you could just change the tagline underneath the blog name... mentioning you're seeing the states through fresh eyes.