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Sunday, December 02, 2012

In the Land of BIG!

"Though she be little, she is fierce." ~Shakespeare (Midsummer's Night Dream)
© World Atlas, 2012 Online
   Growing up in the United States which has a land mass of 3,537,436 sq miles (9,161,923 sq km), and living in Alaska which is the largest state in the United States (586,400 square miles), I was born into the land of big. 
   Having never traveled off the continent before marrying Les, I had no idea just how different England and the U.S. are from one another. 
   I know England is an island, but really, I thought the main differences were in language, with things being called by other names, and of course they do drive on the other side of the road!
   Now that I've lived in England for over a year, returning to the U.S. brought on a case of culture shock. Everything over here is bigger: roads, automobiles, appliances, meals, food (apples, strawberries, chicken breasts--you name it and it has been engineered to a super size), toilet seats, paper towel rolls--everything!!
   Now I know I live on a small, narrow boat but that in itself is not the cause of this shock. It is really more the realization that people in the U.K. live with smaller dimensions for everything because the country does not have the land mass to accommodate large, wide transportation systems, 2800--8000 sq. foot homes, 'nor does it have the massive Doug Fir forests grown merely to provide paper products and timber, hence in England paper towel rolls are a third shorter than U.S. rolls, and half the circumference; the ply of the paper towel in the U.S. is at least twice as thick as in England and the same stands for the toilet paper. I feel as though I am getting ready to wipe with something the thickness of a floor mat. I could easily use paper towels as a face cloth.
   The intersections which I so love are huge--lanes spread out wide and so are the parking lots and spaces. I will never love and accept driving in England and I am okay with that. I have no doubt Brits are fine with my decision as well!
   I am also keenly aware that most Americans have far more stuff than they need in those large homes. This is not a criticism of anyone in particular as I too did the same when I lived at Cloudhouse. I had 1970 square feet, three bedrooms, two full baths, a walk in closet, a huge master bedroom, a huge living room, a full size dining room, and a small library alcove. I had oodles of storage and it was all full! There are some things in this country that I love dearly and will miss: the incredible landscape which opens up to the sky and spreads out seemingly forever. Vistas which tower over one's imagination and offer up any possibility just beyond the horizon.


   I am in retrospective mode now and the next few posts I write will be about our trip to the USA. I couldn't post them from there--travel really does make me ill, lack of sleep makes me stupid, and trying to visit everyone in three states in three weeks time with a wedding, a death, and several emergency health issues by loved ones, as well as Thanksgiving left no time to process my experiences and turn them into words.

2 comments:

Ken and Sue nb Cleddau said...

Jaq,
We are home too! After a fantastic time with the Californian family a visit to Borrego Springs and the desert brought to us the most dramatic and wide ranging vistas.
My estimates of 3 miles and 2,000ft high mountains were in reality 8 miles and 5,000ft!
The USA is a wonderful country and the people warm and friendly. I am constantly impressed by the feel of comunity and support for one another we experience almost daily in the more report parts of the USA.
Ken

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Welcome home! I absolutely love traveling once in the USA. The roads are wide and the landscapes so compelling. It is indeed difficult to gauge the massive size of things over there! I read Sue's blog about Borrego Springs and thoroughly enjoyed a vicarious visit with you. :)
American's are friendly as a people--and customer service is great as well. We look forward to catching up with you and Sue when time allows.
Love Jaq