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Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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Things Wot I Have Missed About America [20090929|20:27]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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While I was in the States, I had occasion to reflect upon the things I missed about America. I was surprised to find that there were more than I had expected (none, excluding family and friends). In the order in which I wrote them down, here are the four most important ones.


  1. Cappuccinos. By which I mean the drink made with espresso and the froth of steamed milk. You do not get extra points for putting in the steamed milk as well, England. You get a latte. Don't misunderstand me, I love a latte and will happily drink one - when that's what I've ordered. (I'll still drink a latte when I haven't ordered one, just a bit crankily.) Until England at large sorts this out, may the gods continue to smile upon the fortunes of Monmouth Coffee Company. Sadly, I can't go to Borough Market or Covent Garden every day just to get a cappuccino, but it's nice to know that they're there.

  2. Sugar. Boy howdy do we Americans have sweet teeth or what? We know how to make puddings, and even things that are not puddings seem like they are. I introduced the bloke to the Monte Cristo sandwich, which I explained as the invention of someone who couldn't decide if they wanted French toast or a ham and cheese sandwich, so they had both, and then stuck in some turkey for the hell of it. He thought it was dreadful and commented at length to this effect, verbally and via interesting facial expressions, while he polished it off. Which is why you can't eat too much of our cuisine or you start to look like...well, an American.

  3. Friendliness. Gosh, we're nice. I walked around our campsite at Yellowstone holding a bottle of wine for all of thirty seconds before the woman in the adjacent site asked, "Do you need a corkscrew, hon?" And then there was the man who stopped us so we could get a good look at the family of marmots without frightening them off, and the people who told us (with reference to a map and terribly specific directions) where to find a wolf pack, and the barman in Bozeman, Montana who stopped charging us for drinks three hours before the bar shut, and all this just for smiling and saying hello. Dammit, we're nice, and if that makes us seem a bit simple to you grumpy sophisticated Brits, well, so be it. I like us for being that way and I don't think we should stop.

  4. Our land. There's so much of it and it's so wild and beautiful it makes me all choked up even when I'm tearing down the freeway at 90 mph. Granted, we didn't do anything to deserve it other than displace a bunch of native people rather rudely. But as the bloke pointed out, we've tamed it enough that it's totally accessible by car on wide comfortable roads so that even the fattest, wheeziest one of us, as well as foreigners who scarcely know enough English to be able to read our road signs, can appreciate the grandeur of the Tetons or the dizzying dropoffs of the Grand Canyon. That took some doing by the slimmer, more motivated among us and it was a monumental task. It's something to be proud of.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: nimoloth
2009-09-29 19:59 (UTC)
Woo, yeah - sweet stuff! Even the bread and meat is sweet over there! I wanted only savoury food for about two weeks when I got home from America last time.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-09-30 20:53 (UTC)
Oh yeah. The bloke and I have eaten a lot of salad since we've been back. We're not on diets, but if we were, it sure wouldn't be difficult right now.
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[User Picture]From: cataragon
2009-09-29 21:26 (UTC)
It's weird, because I find Americans, generally, to be not especially nice (although the mid-West is better than other places I've been). I wonder if it's a 'how you define nice' sort of thing - I find Canadians, for example, much nicer, and I suspect it's partly a shared colonial commonwealth culture thing. Or possibly New Zealanders are psycho over-friendly people by the rest of the world's standards.

America is funny with the sugar (or corn based sugar replacements) - I can't actually eat bread, or things like muffins, in the US. Tastebuds rebel. But the US also has some truly awesome regional cuisine, only some of which is super-sweet, so it's a trade off. Plus: Pie. Dessert pies are a beautiful thing, and the NZ version is a pale pale shade.

Also: fat people aren't necessarily unmotivated. Honest. It can be more complex.


C.
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[User Picture]From: anthrokeight
2009-09-29 22:14 (UTC)
"Also: fat people aren't necessarily unmotivated. Honest. It can be more complex."

RE: I am quite fat. I like how I look a lot, most of the time. I also like the wilderness, especially if it involves canoes and long distance paddling. And loons.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-09-30 21:15 (UTC)
I am absolutely certain that being fat and enjoying exercise in the outdoors are not mutually exclusive. If they were, Stephen Fry could not have made "Last Chance To See", which would have been very sad.

I was thinking more of the sort of people who built the railroads. Being forced to work twelve hour days, seven days a week, by an overseer getting paid marginally more than you and with carte blanche to "motivate" you by whatever means were at hand probably meant that most of them weren't fat.

However, I still feel I should apologize for expressing myself sloppily and associating slimness with superior levels of motivation. I'm sorry.
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[User Picture]From: anthrokeight
2009-10-01 02:38 (UTC)
Thanks, I appreciate the clarification.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-09-30 21:33 (UTC)
I would be curious to see what you thought after an extended stay in Britain (particularly London). I have the feeling it makes most other English-speaking cultures seem pretty friendly.

I am going to make pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving this year, and that's a promise.

My apologies for sloppy expression with regard to weight. I didn't intend to associate slimness and superior levels of motivation in all things. That's certainly not what I believe. If I'd been self-editing a bit better, I'd have said "fitter" instead of "slimmer", as it is quite possible to be fat & fit.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-09-30 20:54 (UTC)
I have a solution: we go to coffee together and swap drinks.
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[User Picture]From: anthrokeight
2009-09-29 22:16 (UTC)
America and Americans are pretty neat, when they're not being sucky like a Dyson. I suppose most things are that way.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-09-30 20:58 (UTC)
Oh believe me, I'm resisting the temptation to post the list of things I don't like about America, which is a lot longer and is guaranteed to get me into arguments. It starts with Jesus bumper stickers and commercials for pharmaceuticals for 15 out of every 20 minutes of television and descends rapidly from there.
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[User Picture]From: anthrokeight
2009-09-30 21:06 (UTC)
Big pharma selling Jesus would be EVEN BETTER.

Or... not.
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[User Picture]From: wurlitzerprized
2009-09-29 23:45 (UTC)

"do you need a corkscrew, hon?"

i'm making that my new motto.

(and re americans being nice: allow me to take this opportunity to correct, once and for all, a common fallacy about new yorkers...we're about as nice as they come).
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-09-30 21:00 (UTC)
Everybody needs a corkscrew, else we cannot gyre and gimble in the wabe.

People who think New Yorkers are nasty have clearly never been to LA.
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[User Picture]From: enterlinemedia
2009-09-30 01:35 (UTC)
Come back to America anytime. I enjoyed receiving the picture from you (the Saturn one). Let me know if you want any of the pictures I take (I have a big photo shoot project for next month that will feature many great images).
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-09-30 21:05 (UTC)
Oh yes, I'll return, and fairly soon, I think! Thank you for the offer - I'll keep my eyes peeled for the photo shoot. :-)
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[User Picture]From: minirth
2009-09-30 02:50 (UTC)
I love this!

p.s. I got the picture in the mail -- thank you!!! Auntie Minirth indeed! :)
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-09-30 21:06 (UTC)
Excellent, thanks for letting me know!
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[User Picture]From: sneakypeteiii
2009-09-30 15:30 (UTC)
English blokes have won the world barista championship twice in the past three years (the third was an Irish lad). By comparison, the US has never placed above 2nd, but that was only when Canada's powerhouse Sammy Piccolo wasn't competing. Good cappuccinos are out there, somewhere.

http://youngandfoodish.com/coffee/tracking-world-barista-champion-gwilym-davies-best-street-coffee-in-london/
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-09-30 21:22 (UTC)
This doesn't surprise me too much. Most of the baristas in London aren't actually English.
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