Friday, February 29, 2008

What Do I Know About America?
Well... what I see on TV, and I know a couple of people who live there. Actual people, not blogging friends. I know what friends have told me who have been there.
I am ashamed to say I could not tell you where the majority of states are, or the capital cities.
Today I am doing something I have been meaning to do for awhile. I am looking up in our huge atlas (yes, the old fashioned way, not via the web) where you come from. Some of you (my bloggy friends) are making it difficult. You don't say where you live. I can understand that, but if you would like to leave a comment and tell me that would be great.

Ok, so here are some things I know:

1. clothing sizes are different. What is a 12 in Australia is a 10 in the US. Well, I thought that. I ordered this t-shirt from Asmatic Kitty, as I am a huge Sufjan Stevens fan, but it is huge! I will have to wear it to the gym, or to bed.

2. I know that Sufjan Stevens is working on a '50 states project', recording music that is inspired by each state. I am enjoying Michigan and Illinois.
3.I hear that coffee is not like here. It is weaker. Or so I'm told. I remember watching episodes of 'Ally McBeal' and marvelling at the size of take away coffee the characters drank. Then a friend told me it is not like our take away coffee. If I drank something of that size here, my head would be buzzing for days.

4. It always seems to snow in Chicago - thankyou to 'ER' for that bit of 'knowledge'.

5. And it always seems to rain in Seattle - once again, another medical masterpiece (Grey's Anatomy) is to blame for this observation.

6. Clothes are cheaper.

7. There is a greater range of prepackage stuff.

8. The scenery is spectacular.

9. Most people seem to have great teeth.

10. It is a place to want to visit. So many things to see:

All the places U2 went on the 'Rattle and Hum' tour.

California, after reading 'the Grapes of Wrath' whilst in highschool.
New York, after watching so many Seinfeld episodes.
I am going to Hawaii in September. Does that count?


Randi Jo :) said...

HAHA this post cracked me up for some reason. I just love learning about different perspectives and different people!!! Those are such funny observations about America and I guess all of them are pretty right on! haha

I love the new blog lay out by the way! You can add me to your little map if you want! and I think you know where I am! On the southeast coast of North Carolina! :)

I have NO idea where you are actually though! You are close to the ocean right!?

I've never been to Hawaii! I'd love to go someday!

Cakes said...

What's so funny about a country like the US is that because of it's size and immigrant heritage it is amazingly different wherever you go.

I'm happily situated in a medium sized city in the midwest. It fits my family perfectly. I can't imagine ever trying to live on the west coast!

I signed your guest book with my city on it. Let me know if you need me to post that here, too.

I'd lurve to go to Hawaii! v. v. jealous.

Priscilla said...

I really enjoyed this post too. It made me smile. There is such a wide variety of different cultures in the US. I have traveled places within my own country and felt very I was in a different country. For example: NY is way different there than it is here. I actually live in NY....but no where near the city. What I have found is that a lot of people don't understand that NY is also a state, not just a city. They are surprised to learn that it takes me about 6 hours to drive to NY city by car. They are surprised to hear about dairy farms in NY. I live in a small city called Canandaigua. It is actually in quite a rural area.

Hawaii. I'm sure that would feel like a totally different country to me. I've never been there. I would love to go there.

Another thing that cracks me up is when people talk about the "American accent". I think, which American accent? There are several. There are people who drawl out everything they say (in the south)....and then there is that annoying Bronx or Long Island accent (just listen to George's mom talk....from Seinfeld). Yes...there really are people who talk like her!!! Ugh!!!

I never heard that about the coffee though. I'm not sure that one is accurate. I would have to ask my friend Ruth who has lived in both countires.

My friends Ruth and Collin came here to live and work for a year and a half. I remember them saying that they were quite humbled to find that many of the stereotypes they had come to believe weren't necessarily true. I don't know much about Australia...but I'm pretty sure that you aren't at all like "Crocodile Dundee" LOL!

Jenny said...

Priscilla. You are so right. When we think of other countries there are so many stereotypes. I am nothing like Crocodile Dundee, nor do I know anyone that is.
Australia has differnt accents too. Some of them are very subtle, but they are there.
And we have lots and lots of different cultures/backgrounds, depending on what area you live in.
The class I teach at the moment is mainly children with a Chinese heritage. Two suburbs over from us is mainly Korean. Whereas, other suburbs are Italian or Greek or Arabic. Sydney is a huge melting pot. If you went into country areas it would be larely anglo-saxon.
Cakes. Thanks for signing my guestbook.
Randi Jo. I'm glad you left a comment. I forgot to link your new blog last time... now I have the address.

Jennifer P. said...

Every state and region in the US is really like its own little country. Different scenery, different people with different foods and different ideas. I think we all share the same core values that make us "American" though. I can tell you Hawaii is VERY different though--everything there is very expensive. But you'll love it anyway!

I am in Boise, by the way, the capital of Idaho. We're in a desert like valley surrounded by forested mountains. Very pretty. We're famous for our potatoes here, and fishing, and white-water rafting. Love it here.

You're welcome to come visit any time!

Victor and Rachel J-L said...

Hawaii! Wow! What is taking you there? It will be great!
And Hi Priscilla! I've been to Canandaigua! It's beautiful. I was driving from Toronto to NY City.
I'm Australian, by the way. But I live in Thailand.

Emily Loria said...

This was funny! My husband has a few differences between the two:

1. America does not have "Mr.Whippy."

2. Hamburgers are TOTALLY different.

3. You still have milk men.

4. Cheddar cheese is white in Australia and bright orange in US.

5. There are no bloke boots sitting on peoples porches in the US.

6. There are not many tin roofs in US, tons in Aus.

7. Everyone wears hats in Australia, almost no one in States.

8. You can't find cinnamon candy in Australia.

9. Bananas still have their "umbilical cords" hanging off of the ends in Australia.

10. Eggs are refrigerated in US stores, left on the shelf in Australian stores.

Laurie Anne said...

It does rain a lot here in Western Washington, but the sunny days are amazing. It is always funny when Monday Night Football comes to Seattle and it isn't raining. The out of town broadcasters seem so shocked :0)

Megs said...

When you come to the USofA, we'd love you to visit us Jen!

Now, about coffee. Hmmmm. I wouldn't call Seattle coffee WEAK. I'd call it the most finely honed anything I've ever experienced. When ordering espresso, one can choose
1. the size
2. how many shots of espresso
3. how much foamy milk
4. any one (or more) of a list (in most places) of about 30 flavours
5. the temperature
6. caf/decaffy
7. fat free/fatty
8. sugar free/sugary name but a few...
(and i consider myself particularly ignorant about the finer nuances of the art of coffee...)

The USA is so different from the impressions I had of it before visiting/living here. It's weird though -there's a lot of ways now in which this is home and Australia seems foreign and different.

love Megs

Megs said...

PS I've been to 38/50 states of the USA!

Megs said...

PPS Yes Jen, Hawaii counts!!

Anonymous said...

Weird impressions I have got (largely from blogs and movies)are:

American food is really cheap and highly processed. People complain about peeling potatoes or onions as something unusual or abnormal.

Americans drive really BIG cars.

Americans have HUGE houses on big blocks of land.

Americans don't hang out their washing like Aussies do and have big dryers.

My husband says American restaurant meals are enormous and people can never understand his accent. They say he speaks too fast.

The impression I get from blogs is that the American education system is a disaster.

Americans don't just decorate for Christmas; they decorate for every occasion.

Isn't it funny the messages we get, which may not be true at all!


Priscilla said...

To Emily Loria and Our Red house,

The cheddar cheese in my refrigerator is (drumrole please).....white!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My inlaws have a tin roof.

I ALWAYS peel my own potatoes and use fresh onions.

I've noticed a lot of smaller cars around. There are even a few Coopers driving around that I've noticed. The VW Bugs are quite popular too.

I don't think the Education System in my town is a disaster. My kids are doing great and I'm happy.

I decorate for Christmas. Are there other holidays? You are right though...most people do decorate for every occasion. I just don't.

There are quite a number of Americans who hang their washing up. I ought to take some pics of the Amish community nearby. I loved hanging my laundry out. Since I've moved...I don't do it like I did before.

My house is 1500 square feet on a quarter acre.

There are no milkmen in my town....but there was one in the town I grew up in.

Justin said...

It is sad that Seinfeld was filmed in California! (Just a few outdoor scenes where filmed in NYC).

Great news about Hawaii. said...

this is so cute.

i think you are right about it all.
it does snow in chicago alot. when we lived there i always thought ER was pretty accurate.

my sister spent her senior year of high school in greenwich? is that a town? near sydney. anyway, my aunt and uncle live there and she lived with htem. it was so fun to hear all of her stories and see pictures.
i loved it.

and i am so glad we have weaker coffee.

australians seem more....natural? less make-up and all the "stuff" or is that wrong?

i am in newton, kansas. small town near the middle of the state in the middle of the US. the heartland as we call it. you can see amazing agricultural beauty here in june and july when the wheat is ready for harvest and everything in bloom and green. i am so happy to live here.

great post.