October 12, 2013

Introducing "A Tour in Everyday America"

Well, hello, there!  2 posts in one week? It seems I'm back in the groove, hehe :p. I am cooking a few related posts which I'll publish under the title "A Tour in Everyday America". I really missed talking about the differences between Argentina (my home country) and America, the cultural gap, the pros and cons of living in one or the other, you get my point. 

A day rarely goes by when I don't take a cell phone picture while in a store, restaurant or at work; I have tons of pics! I finally decided to sort them into different categories and as I was doing so, lo and behold, this new series of posts was born! This first issue is devoted to random things that have caught my eye, things I had never seen before moving to this country. This will be a general post, but it'll get more specific; expect to read about grocery stores, restaurants, seasonal products, libraries and the list goes on.

I really don't know where to begin, so many things have struck me and I keep learning something new pretty much on a daily basis, especially words and expressions. I guess I can start by mentioning that a lot of people ask me if they're pronouncing my name right. When I came here to visit, I couldn't believe such a simple name, "Miki", could be mispronounced, I realized that I didn't even know how to pronounce my name in English?! But guess what? Now it kind of bugs me when people pronounce it "Mickey", haha! There's one person at work who always says it that way and my other co-workers have pointed out that it bothers them, too. Funny :p.

Something that I picked up pretty quickly is the fact that America is exactly the way REM depict it in Imitation of Life, remember the line that goes "... You've got it all, you've got it sized ..." Yep. You can find anything, even the unimaginable and in any size. Also everything's ready to use/eat and usually nicely packaged. Here are just a few examples.

Going shopping is a very entertaining adventure, there's always something that catches my eye. Remember when I used the word unimaginable in the previous paragraph? I think I'd use that adjective to describe the following fruit: grapples: grape flavored apples! :/

I thought I was going to miss certain typical Argentinean products such as dulce de leche, but the truth is that I can find pretty much everything ...

... Even things I can not even find in my home country such as "mate" flavored soda, haha. Yes, it does taste weird.

Speaking of beverages, have you ever seen gun-shaped bottles of booze?

Americans get very creative when it comes to selling, I guess; and accessorizing, too. How cute are these little kisses to prevent take-out coffee from getting cold? :p

Vehicles can be accessorize in all sorts of ways, too, but I think I'll leave that for a separate post.

There all different kinds of snacks, but the strangest ones we've ever bought are these so-called sour cream and onion "crikettes" :/.

Ok, it's time to show you some non-edible goodies I find amusing! Products are very specific here, when you buy say ... glue, you have a wide variety of adhesives, this one is aimed at puzzles, hehe.

And when you want to buy crayons or chalk, you should first asked yourself  "what shape do I prefer?"

The way classical board games are updated to modern times doesn't cease to amaze me. Can you believe you can find a version of Monopoly that lets you slide a Monopoly credit card instead of using bills? 

As for services, most businesses offer the very convenient drive-thru not just fast food restaurants, Starbucks, but even the post office, the library and the bank. Look at this folk using the drive-thru at our bank ... On his rascal, bahaha! Rascals, by the way, are available for customers to use in most grocery stores.

There are also drop-off boxes like the one below where you can donate clothes and shoes to be recycled or sold for charity.

Something that I really love about living here is that you can get really great deals. Most of the times I go clothing shopping it's either because it's clearance time, I got a discount code in my inbox (or text in my phone) or have a coupon.

Even thrift stores and swap meets offer special deals on certain days and specific items.

Something I really miss is Argentinean TV commercials, our humor is so peculiar and fun! American TV ads can be funny, too, but in a different way. Also, other brands can be mentioned so some ads get pretty aggressive towards the competition (especially in cell phone ones). The music chosen in some American commercials catch my attention, wanna listen to some examples? Check this and this (that's what David calls "indie voice", hehe).

I guess this has only to do with California not the rest of the country, I can't stand how dull architecture is in this neck of the woods (except for cities such as Pasadena or LA), businesses are gathered in brown boring clusters. I like to be surrounded by mountains, though, it's so relaxing and the air feels fresher and the clouds, awe, the clouds are breath-taking some days. I took the following pic in the parking lot in a mall that's 10 minutes away from home.

Geez! I've written so much! I apologize if I've bored you and for the crappy (cell phone) photos; I used to take the good camera in stores till one day one employee at Walmart caught me and made me delete them all, ha.

If you're an expat, too, in America or anywhere else in the world, I'd love to hear about differences that have caught your eye! ;)
May you all have a wonderful weekend! ;D


Katrin said...

I love this post, Miki! Such a great idea! Can't wait to see and read more. And I agree, grocery shopping in America is always an adventure. There are so many things I have never seen before in Europe. I mean, who needs apples that taste like grapes? Haha. And I was so confused when I went to the bank drive thru for the first time. :)
Have a fantastic weekend! Hugs to you and the kitties!

Nathalie G.M. said...

Haha this is so recognizable! I tend to take way too long in the supermarket cause everything is new and weird sometimes :) Nick usually gets so impatient when I do that :D

uncustomary said...

Hahah, I think it's hilarious that a WalMart employee cared enough to make you delete photos. That would never happen here. I love this post, though, Miki. It makes me feel more appreciative of all the options that are available to me (us). I've never seen grapples! But I really want to get one of those kissy liquid stoppers. <3

Milex said...

so fabulous

Anne said...

LOL, this is a really nice and funny post :) X Anna

Marina Carstens said...

So how do you say your name?! I was saying it "Mickey" in my head. ><

Cindy said...

When I moved from Northern California to New York City I was astounded by all of the differences! I missed C&H sugar especially.

Katie Frank said...

This post is so adorable <3 I'm just in love <3

Oranges and Apples said...

OMG, some of these things are so weird! American supermarkest always bafle me too. Like how there are walls and walls of coloured breakfast cereal - why would you want to eat something that's bright green?

seelvana said...

wow, vivís es Compralandia!

Gingham Ginger said...

Grapples huh. Weird. I shop at a grocery store that doesn't sell that kind of stuff. One time my friend took me with her to walmart and I couldn't belive all the friuts that were two differnt kinds in one. While I'm interested in the science behind it, it totally weirds me out. I I haven't seen alot of the things you posted but am not surprised by them. I know that kind of stuff is available I just don't see it. I I don't know if it's because I can block it out or if it's because I'm from central Wisconsin.