?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Sauntering Vaguely Downward [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat

Serious Business | Flickr
Bounty Information | Wanted Dead or Alive: Mad Scientess Nanila
Deeds of Derring-Do | Full of Wild Inaccuracies and Exaggerations

On arriving in Los Angeles [20061017|02:30]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
[Tags|, , ]
[the weather today is |jet-lagged]

I never thought I'd experience culture shock on returning home, but dear sweet baby Jesus, everything in this damned country is so freaking huge. I've never been overwhelmed by flying into LA before but looking out the window of a Boeing 747 today astonished me. The cars! The twelve-lane motorways! The containers of milk/juice/water! The people! By that I don't mean that they're overweight, although lots of them are. We're just...huge. Americans are enormous. And so effusive. I was taken aback today when dealing with cashiers and taxi drivers. Why is everybody smiling at me, I thought suspiciously, while failing to smile back promptly. When people say "Excuse me," here, they actually mean it, as opposed to London, where the tone of voice clearly tells you, "Get the fuck out of my way." The pavements are so wide, so clean and so empty that nobody needs to move aside anyway. The traffic signals change promptly for pedestrians and most of the streets take half a minute to cross, so no one jaywalks. Jaywalking is almost a religious ritual in London. I love it when I walk up to a pedestrian crossing to find that of the twenty people who are already standing off the pavement on a busy street, looking angrily into the windows of the passing cars, exactly none of them have pressed the button to activate the traffic signal.

The icing on the cake, though, was getting carded when I went to buy beer.
linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: namey
2006-10-17 01:56 (UTC)
What? Here? How long?
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: nanila
2006-10-17 02:17 (UTC)
In Pasadena until 2 November. Send e-mail if wishing to coordinate a visit - I can't really leave LA during this trip so won't be in SD at all.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: namey
2006-10-17 02:28 (UTC)
Noted. Oh, gee, I might have to go to Bunker again. Darn.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: nanila
2006-10-17 02:59 (UTC)
Note also that I am lacking in vehicular transport, due to that being a large extra expense and me being strapped for cash. I'll be renting a car for one day but only to drive to the British embassy. So you won't be seeing me out anywhere, except for places I can walk to (e.g. Old Town Pasadena).
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: tdj
2006-10-17 01:57 (UTC)
Hey, if you make it down to the other end of the state, give me a shout.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: nanila
2006-10-17 02:18 (UTC)
Unfortunately, I can't leave LA during this visit, otherwise I'd be tempted to spend the entire trip in the Bay area.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: tdj
2006-10-17 02:38 (UTC)
We'd be happy to have you!

Are you going to be doing any work for your former boss while you're here?
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: nanila
2006-10-17 02:52 (UTC)
Yes, pretty much the whole time. I'm at JPL 9-5 weekdays for the duration of the visit.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: tdj
2006-10-17 05:30 (UTC)
I'm glad that's sorted. Otherwise this trip would feel like the longest line at the DMV ever.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: nanila
2006-10-17 13:57 (UTC)
Funnily enough, I have to go to the DMV on Friday to replace my stolen license. At least I have an appointment.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: arkany
2006-10-17 09:22 (UTC)

Welcome back!

Hiyeshello! Happy safe return! I wanna write more, but all that comes out of my fingertips is Aloha!
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: nanila
2006-10-17 13:59 (UTC)
Aloha, señor! Thank you. I don't think I have your digits any more but if you e-mail them to nanila [at] livejournal {dot} com, I'll give you a ring if I'm in your neighborhood.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: impix
2006-10-17 12:24 (UTC)
heh, i noticed that when i went to NY its like everythign has to be bigger to fill all the space!

gawd bless our wee island.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: nanila
2006-10-17 14:13 (UTC)
Bless it, yes. I'm already incredibly frustrated due to the lack of electric kettles in this country. How will I make my tea in the afternoons at JPL?!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: guyinahat
2006-10-17 19:43 (UTC)
Surely at JPL you have an R&D lab full of mad creative engineers who could rustle up a re-invention of the kettle?
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: kittenhotep
2006-10-17 12:55 (UTC)
These are such nice words, and remind me of that first taxi ride from LAX to Venice Beach, and the overwhelming expanse of space and enormity of.. well... everything. I hope you enjoy your time back 'home' as best you can, and don't feel too dwarfed by it all.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: sekl
2006-10-17 14:16 (UTC)
I love it when I walk up to a pedestrian crossing to find that of the twenty people who are already standing off the pavement on a busy street, looking angrily into the windows of the passing cars, exactly none of them have pressed the button to activate the traffic signal.

No one wants to be seen pushing a button. After all, there are people to do that! ;)
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: kreie
2006-10-17 15:02 (UTC)
I didn't get culture shock as badly coming in from Europe as from Peru, but there was quite a difference. Being mired in the Miami International Airport for a 12-hour layover, parked in front of the bar TV, was a fucking surreal experience, and I felt like I was running in fast-forward. Coming back from Europe, it was incredibly evident how much of a disposable, consumerist society the US is.
(Reply) (Thread)
From: ripperlyn
2006-10-17 15:51 (UTC)
The icing on the cake, though, was getting carded when I went to buy beer.

AWESOME.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: taische
2006-10-17 15:58 (UTC)
There may be a correlation between a society's history and customs with respect to personal armament and those relating to ritual politeness and the tendency to effuse friendliness.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: nationofsheep
2006-10-17 16:24 (UTC)
I always say that the culture shock of moving back to Houston was MUCH worse than the culture shock of moving to Hong Kong. And it took much longer to get over. I don't think we actually got into a decent groove with Houston living until May of this year. One year and two months after moving back.
(Reply) (Thread)
From: boxofkittens
2006-10-18 07:09 (UTC)
I SOOO want to live in LA someday.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: omniana
2006-10-19 14:03 (UTC)
Heh. Exactly my culture shock to London in reverse. It's taken the custodian on my floor two weeks to finally say hi to me, but I consider it an accomplishment. I still remember the feeling of awe when I was in 7th grade, having only lived in small town suburbs, and flying into LAX at night. wow.
(Reply) (Thread)