Monday, May 25, 2009

Culture shock

Honestly, I didn't expect the culture shock to be noticeable. But it has been and it's only been a day.

We arrived late Saturday night. Marion and Betti were angels on both plane rides, I couldn't have asked for better.

Yesterday we went to our favorite farmer's market. There were a ton of people. And yet people were respecting each others personal space and saying excuse me. My experience in Switzerland has been the opposite. Fo example, on our way back from Rhine Falls, a woman chose to stand right next to my stroller on a fairly open train platform. I'll never undersyand why Swiss do that. I will say though that people in Switzerland often help me and my stroller onto buses and trains. So please don't yell at me :-)

On the way to the market I marveled at the houses and the land each one had. The difference in how Americans and Europeans live didn't really strike me until yesterday. I mean, I have thought about it. Europeans make do with less space and less land. They are so efficient. Being back and seeing all of these houses really put it into perspective for me.

Brian marveled at the difference in cars. We pulled up to a traffic light and looked around us. Two F150 pick-ups, one Suburban, one large SUV, one midsive SUV, two crossovers. And one large sedan. All of this next to a gas station selling 87 octane for $2.37/gallon. When we left Switzerland the cheapest gas available was 95 octane at around 1.48CHF/liter ($5.16/gallon).

Then we went to Target. Cheap shopping on a Sunday. I bought a packet of 300 stickers for a dollar. A dollar!!!! I love me some cheap shopping.

Next we went to the pool. We had a great time. Marion loves being in the water no matter what country we are in. I didn't even notice the lifeguards at first. It was weird to see them watching over the water instead of just a flotation device hanging on a wall near the pool.

Later Brian and I went to a grocery store, Wegmans. On a Sunday!!!! Wegmans' tend to be very very large. I needed to pick up some pink lemonade mix for my parents. I walked into the aisle and saw 30 kinds of drink mixes. I stood there for a moment, completely overwhelmed by the selection and possibilities. I found the pink lemonade and made my way to the cashier who bagged my groceries in a plastic bag. I looked around- no one was using reusable bags. They were selling them, but they were so tiny compared to the ones in Switzerland. I left the store in a quiet state of shock. Too much, just too. much. stuff!

By the end of the day Brian and I were exhausted from the time difference and struck by the differences and how noticeable they were. I wonder what else is here to surprise us and if we'll experience reverse culture shock when we go back to Switzerland in 2.5 weeks...


caitlin said...

I can't wait to see you guys next week!!!

Libby said...

Welcome back to THIS SIDE OF THE POND! How long are you "home"?

Heather said...

Welcome back Meghan! Don't you just love Wegmans? I think that'd be one of the things I'd miss the most about the states!! Can't wait to see you next week!!!!

Holly Dengler said...

Can't wait to see you ALL at Annes next week. So much has changed around here with us and with you. Can't wait to see how big Marion is and to meet Betti for the first time!