Juliet on ‘The Way We Live Now’

union-jackThe Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope was published in 1875, and written after he returned to England from abroad and saw his native land through fresh eyes.

Trollope, of course, was talking about timeless human failings – whereas, since we arrived in the US last Thursday, the phrase ‘the way we live now’ has stuck in my mind for very different reasons.stars-and-stripes

Globalisation means that certain things are the same wherever we travel: brands of clothes and consumer goods, hotel chains, customs (it’s Hallowe’en season already) and TV programmes.

We’re in Ohio, staying with my sister and visiting our son who’s at the local university. As I write this, it’s Family Weekend and we’ve been with the parents of Will’s flatmates and other friends. They’re a great bunch of people!

What’s the same as England:

· I made a chocolate-based tray bake, a recipe from my mother, using typically English ingredients which I actually bought here, at the local Meijer store.

· I can watch BBC TV – yes, there’s now a Global iplayer, with a limited selection of programmes so far.

What’s still different:

· We went to a ‘college tailgate’, also known as a ‘party in the parking lot’ – BBQ and picnic activity done from the boot of your car. Not something I’ve seen much of back home.

· Ladies’ restrooms (can’t speak for the Gents) – the ones I’ve been in over here are generally big and clean, with plentiful supplies of soap and towels and plumbing that works. Wow!

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What do you like best about being in another country – something you know you can’t find or do back home? At least, not yet …

11 thoughts on “Juliet on ‘The Way We Live Now’

  1. I love going to Japan because everything and everyone is on time, even trains! And it’s always clean and orderly – each shopkeeper will sweep the pavement outside their shop usually. Also, people there seem to take pride in their jobs, whatever they are, and are happy to help. I like that :)

  2. France for me – the people and the culture. Also the weather and the food and the scenery and the wine……..But Italy is nice too, and Canada – just love the big spaces. But Britain isn’t bad either.

  3. Oh Juliet – enjoy Ohio! I loove that whole arriving in another country feel. Whether it’s language, climate, clothes, cars, sounds – it’s so exhilerating. I love it even more when you arrive by train or at a small airport so you are immediately in the thick of things. God I’m depressing myself now. Haven’t experienced it in yonks. Are you going to be in the States for Halloween? That would be amazing. X

  4. There’s so much I love about America, and I wouldn’t be averse to living there – except for their chocolate. I really, really dislike American chocolate.

  5. Like Sarah, I’m thrilled for you and a tad sorry for myself as it’s soooo long since my one and only trip to America. After the wettest weather I’ve experienced in west Wales what I’d like most is some sunshine.

  6. I SO agree with Liv. Hershey’s chocolate tastes like vomit. Sorry, but it’s true. I have no idea how anyone can eat it. And I love the States particularly the desert in Arizona/Utah and the West coast. And do you think in the future we’ll see one big happy global village with everyone sharing/swapping cultures, or the domination of one – the USA? Discuss…

  7. Christina, I loved your snapshot of Japan. ‘Pride in their jobs’ seems to be part of the US retail culture too, although I read that it’s staff thinking about their commission!

    Evonne – food is so much part of the scene here too and helpings are huge. On the other hand, I haven’t seen any ruins …

    Fennie, I think that’s why I love Scotland – the spaces. Not as big as Canada, but certainly emptier than much of England.

    Sarah, Hallowe’en seems to have started already, although we’re returning home before 31st – there are decorations on houses and in the streets.

    Liv – I agree! I managed to find decent chocolate for my tray bake, imported of course.

    Chris, rain = green. Although I must say I’m enjoying the sunshine!

    Mandy, great question. US consumer ‘icons’, such as McDonalds, Coca Cola and jeans, seem to get everywhere …

  8. Food is an interesting experience when I’m in a foreign country (sometimes pleasant, sometimes not…). As I child I remember hating the way the milk would taste differently even if the Cornflakes were the same. It took a day or two to get used to it.

  9. Italy has a much more relaxed attitude to ruins, which is lovely. You can climb all over them, which you’re not usually allowed to do in the UK. I suppose Italy has rather more ruins that we do, but still. Italians are mostly nice to animals, too – but not as bossy or controlling as us. I can’t imagine any local council in the UK allowing colonies of feral cats to live among ancient ruins, but Italian local authorities do. These cats are mostly well and healthy, looked after by local people who feed them daily and come along in processions in the early evening. The cats know they are coming and line up, waiting. It’s quite a performance!

  10. Henri, I agree about food. We’ve already had the American chocolate discussion!

    Margaret, LOL at the cats! I remember my daughter saying the same about Greece.

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