A few people have asked me why my blog sometimes comes across as anti-American, given that I’ve made an active decision to live and work here. And the simple answer is that I’m not remotely anti-American. While it may have a morally dubious leader, and an alarming ability to turn fast food into a way of life, I actually have deep affection for my adopted country. Which isn’t surprising, given that I’ve been coming here for the last thirteen years.
When it comes down to it, I love it that you can get hold of pretty much anything you want, even at four in the morning. I like the fact that restaurants always bring you tap water whether you’ve asked for it or not. And I particularly like the fact that everything seems so cheap over here – or at least I will, until the penny finally drops that I’m being paid in dollars not pounds.
That said, when you’re new to a culture and a different way of life, maybe you just notice strange things a bit more than you would when you’re in your home country. I mean, maybe I wouldn’t notice if a man got on to a London tube train and began reciting sub-Pam Ayres ditties in the morning, but here it tends to stand out. At home, if a waiter didn’t understand something I asked for, I’d probably not pay it a second thought. Over here, getting a blank look when I ask for a white coffee (rather than coffee with cream) sticks in my mind.
I’ve now completed three weeks in the US, and while I’m slowly getting used to the different way of life, there’s still so much that makes me scratch my head in wonder. And to be honest, for as long as I’m here, I’m sure there always will be. After all, if I ever get used to saying cellphone or garbage can, something has gone horribly horribly wrong.