Thursday, 21 August 2014
USA Trip: Part 1
Amurica. Land of the free and home of the brave. And possibly the largest cars and parking spaces in the world? I've lived in New Zealand for two and a half years now so each time I return to the US I notice my perspective shifting. This time I noticed a big shift.
Parking spaces, car parks as they are called here, seemed so huge to me this time. Btw, this shift did not involve me acquiring a Mercedes or becoming handicapped, it was just slim pickings for parking space pictures on the interweb. Anyway, I was at lunch one day. Ok fine I was at the waffle house eating waffles in the middle of the day (ALONE - it was bliss!).
Anyway, I had a table with a view, to the parking lot, and I spent my entire meal staring at my car in its spot and how much space there was on each side. I really couldn't get over it. Despite the fact the above picture is a handicap spot, I can assure you this is how much space there was on each side. In New Zealand, I pretty much have to suck in to get out of the driver's seat so you get the idea. Everything in America really did seem super sized to me.
I was at a coffee shop in California and without looking at the sizes I ordered a medium coffee. What I got handed was a cup like this:
I was shocked, I couldn't believe how big it was and the fact that there was a size that was even larger, what?! I mean this is the largest size at my coffee shop in New Zealand:
You have to understand this is coming from someone who loves to get her eat and drank on. I do not fall into the, "well are you going to order the fries?" type or the, "I don't know how you could possibly eat that whole piece of cake." Well I do, so hand it over. I'm just sayin, even for me everything seemed big, unnecessarily so.
I had the same feelings when I went into a DSW in Atlanta. For those not familiar, it's a huge shoe store that might be a good idea if you were trying to provide shoes for life for say the Duggar's and their 19 children, but this time when I was in there I just thought this is too much. Why on earth are there so many shoes in one place? Who possible has the time and energy to go through all these aisles?
Of course, some things don't change. I'll always have room in my heart and wallet for TJMaxx.
It's just funny because these are all things that I wouldn't have batted an eye at three years ago when I was living in the US and now I really notice them. Everything in New Zealand operates on such a smaller scale, you have so many fewer options and well everything is just.... smaller. I guess the best way to describe it is you know how you go into some stores or restaurants and think wow this is overwhelming. I can't remember ever actually feeling that way since I moved here. On the flip side, I was in Knoxville eating lunch, (the real kind, not the waffle kind) at a popular chain restaurant and actually uttered theses words to my sister-in -law, " I'm thinking about getting the salad on page 15." Case in point.
Adam and I also agreed that we really felt the technology gap this visit back. I felt like someone from a different planet when cashier after cashier turned their tablet towards me to complete my purchase and swipe my card.
Even at a restaurant in Blue Ridge, Georgia, a small mountain town where we got married, I was shocked to be given a wine list that was basically an ipad. You just don't see this stuff in New Zealand. I remember when I first moved here and was at a café reading and the waitress came up to me and said, "oh my gosh is that one of those e-reader things, can I see it?" I'm all, have at it sister, it's called a Kindle and mark my words it's going to be huge.
So let's get to the actual trip and being home. It was really, really wonderful. I got to spend six whole weeks visiting family and friends, lounging by the pool, and soaking up all American summer had to offer.
As huge of a pain it is to gear up for the trip, travel with a toddler across the world, and not sleep in my own bed for 42 nights, to me it is totally worth it. It is especially made enjoyable by everyone we stay with who make our time there easier and I can't thank them enough. I didn't take nearly enough pictures, evidenced by the many people we love and spent time with that are not on here. A blog post or two will certainly not do my time there justice, but I did have many memorable experiences.
One such experience occurred at the nail salon in Knoxville before I left.I was having an enjoyable mani/pedi when the Asian dude doing my toes asks right before he is about to paint them, are you sure you want to do this color? He is clearly not pleased with my choice. I say yes, I'm sure. He tells me it's "very old lady" and wonders wouldn't I rather do something fun and bright like the color I currently have on. I laugh and say no, I like my choice and am ok with it. He says, "but really, I did this exact color on old lady's nails last week and she was like 93."
I can see his point, it is rose pink after all. I can tell he has good intentions, hoping to save me from myself and my fate as possibly the youngest Golden Girl never cast. I assure him I'm going back to New Zealand where it is winter so not to worry.
To read all about our actual trip, check out USA Trip: Part 2.