Sunday, July 08, 2007

Impressions of America

Once again, I must apologize for not posting in awhile. I think I'll blame it on the American keyboard, which is slightly different from Italian keyboards...just enough to throw me off and cut my typing speed in half.

Here are three random things I love about America that I'd forgotten about:

1. shopping carts: They're gigantic. Almost twice as wide as Italian carts, and longer. If I were pushing one of these bad boys down an Italian supermarket aisle, it'd have to sport one of those neon yellow "wide load" signs on the side. There's enough room in there for...I don't least a week's worth of groceries.

2. grocery baggers: I love these people. I'm trying to work out the logistics of luring one of them into my suitcase for my trip back to Italy.

3. seedless grapes: Call them genetically altered, if you want. But their seedy Italian cousins just don't measure up.

And here are the three coolest things about America, according to my daughters (8 and 5):

1. squirrels: My 8-year-old daughter came racing into the house the first day we were here, screaming, "Come quick! No, come NOW!" I fully expected to see my 5-year-old in a sobbing heap on the driveway, nursing a scraped knee or two. But no. My daughters had sighted five squirrels frolicking in the front yard. Yup. Squirrels. Who knew? Not my daughters.

2. toast: I've never seen a toaster in an Italian home, although I have seen them in stores. In Italian bars, you can get toasted ham and cheese sandwiches (called, conveniently enough, toast). And Italians buy packages of fette biscottate, which are pre-toasted pieces of bread about the size of a playing card. So Italians do eat toast-- they just don't make it.

When I whipped out the toaster this morning, my 8-year-old wanted to toast her own bread. No problem. But instead of waiting for the bread to pop up, she tried to lift the lever after the bread had been in there all of 5 seconds. She didn't know that the bread automatically popped up when it was done. Now I'm thinking I need to come up with some kind of American reintegration program for my kids...

3. sprinklers: Since Italians aren't big on
lawn care, you don't see sprinklers much, if ever. My kids ran through the sprinkler with their cousins, and now my girls want to pack a sprinkler in their suitcase to take home. I told them it'll depend on how much space the grocery bagger takes up...


Anonymous said...

Hey Natalie,

Welcome back! I enjoyed reading your observations. Ah, it's the simple things that grab our hearts and pocket books. Bring home a toaster and you'll be a hit with the kids on the block ;-)!

BTW, what part of the US are you visiting? As you know, the cultural differences between the various parts of the states is astounding, even IF our shopping and entertainment are becoming more and more homogenous.


Rilla said...

Missed ya, girl! Sounds like you're settling right in ;) Funny, it's so true, it's the little things of everyday that seem to affect us the most. I still miss squirrels. We don't really have them here in So Cal. And of course, not any in Australia. But in Boston, they were a nuisance. Chattering outside our bedroom window as soon as the sun peeked through the leaves as though that were some kind of signal that the whole world should now be wide awake and going about the business of making a racket. And now, I miss them...go figure.
Sounds like you're having fun. Three years is a long time to be away from home...

debi in holland said...

Hi Natalie! Isn't is amazing what the kids find so peculiar?

I have o admit to owning and using (every morning) our toaster. I miss fluffy towels (but that requires a dryer) and peanut butter (European peanut butter just doesn't measure up). A stove that you didn't have to light with a lighter would also be nice. And speaking about cooking, baking would be easier for me if the dial read in farenheit (I just guess an approximate and check on things often right now).

I hope you and your family are having a wonderful time in the states!


Disco Mermaids said...

Welcome back to the States! I just wish you were in our state!

Squirrels and grocery baggers...I shall never take these for granted again.


Natalie said...

Thanks, Edna! We're in Virgina, and you're right that the U.S. is so diverse from state to state. My husband often tells his Italian friends and family "In America, they..." and I have to keep reminding him that Americans don't all have the same customs and culture!

Hi Rilla! I didn't realize there were no squirrels in So. CA...maybe I'll send a few over your way. :-)

Hi Debi, I acutally have a laminated conversion chart for temperature and cooking measurements in my kitchen. Let me know if you need one, and I'll mail it to you!

Thanks, Robin--I wish I could visit your state, too! One day...:-)