Friday, October 29, 2010

Things I loooove about the US

In the past I have enjoyed making fun of Americans (since we are their lapdog, and bitter about all they have that we don't, it is necessary - plus of course some of my closest friends are American, and mocking is the Australian way of showing friendship)...but now that I have enjoyed my first Florida-free (and therefore, best) US trip, I thought it timely to write about some of the (many) things I loved about the US.  Plus, I can write it as a list and be lazy, which totally suits me :D

1)  Reese's Peanut Butter cups - they are sensational.  The large, the mini, the milk chocolate, the white chocolate, I love them all.  And consumed an obscene amount when in the US.  Now seriously thinking about ordering some from ebay for an obscene amount (I do hear there is a place about 45 minutes' drive away where they sell a pack of 2 for $3.50, but now that I am all converted to American (ie both wanting lots of food and used to cheap prices) that just won't do. And no, the photo is not of the Peanut Butter Cups, but of a breakfast I had at Kramerbooks in Dupont Circle.

2)  Tide laundry powder - ok, I didn't get to actually use it this time.  But did enjoy the delightful Tide scent in the supermarket and on random people.  Next time I am definitely bringing a few packs back.  Nicest smelling laundry product ever.  Plus brings me happy memories of opening ebay parcels (I used to buy a lot of 'lots' of kids' clothes from ebay...which brings me to the next....)

3)  The clothes - cheaper, better quality, much more interesting styles, and lots that matches (especially from The Children's Place - being a bit OCD about matching, the ability to purchase totally coodinated ensembles right down to the hat or stockings is a  very good thing).

4)  The scenery - sooo pretty - I loved the types of trees, the greenery, the water (whether natural or manmade, all pretty).  The trees were just starting to change colour when I was there, which made it even better.  Even the crops were more interesting and beautiful than our standard of wheat and lupins.

5)  Drive through stuff - not just McDonalds etc, but they have drive through pharmacies and even banks (which of course I made my friend drive through and use so I could take photos :D).  In one town there was even a drive through subway (which apparently is not a usual thing, but still, there was one). 

6)  Ease of buying alcohol - at least in Virginia.  You could buy it from the supermarket.  From the 7-11.  Even from the pharmacy.  So, alcohol is available 24-7.  Living in a place where it can only be purchased in bottles from liquor stores, which close by about 10, and by 8 on Sundays, I found this amazing (and wonderful :D)

7)  Bagels and cream cheese.  We just don't have proper bagels readily available here.  We have bread shaped to look like bagels, and of course in 'white' only.  I had never really been a fan for this reason,  but once I discovered the delights offered by the Ashburn Bagel shop, I was totally hooked.  Huge variety of bagels, and even of cream cheese.  I took photos, of course.

8)  The houses.  Ok, I am not keen on the flimsy construction which means that you can hear what your next door neighbour is watching on TV.  But the style is so pretty in the region I visited, whether 'townhomes' or um 'normal' homes.   And of course, basements are super cool.  I loved going down to the basement to 'do laundry' like an American.  And that there are three levels in a lot of houses.  The windows.  The decks.  Very exciting.

9)  The people.  Now, of course, please keep in mind that I was only in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and DC for any amount of time.  And of course that I did encounter some from other places (and ok, even from other parts of Pennsylvania) who were loud, demanding and abrasive (amusingly enough, most often about making sure there was enough meat and fat (ie half and half vs 'normal' 2% milk) in their food).  But in general the people I encountered were friendly (to a cute degree) and really quite adorable.

10)  Halloween.  Ok, it was not yet Halloween when I was there (obviously).  But, decorations were already up in many places, and of course there was so much at the shops. A lot of which I bought (Halloween pencils, cards, treat buckets and bags, window clings, stickers etc)...and a lot of which I really want (candy bowl with animated hand - super cool!, animated lifesize witch - a must have!).  Plus, pumpkin patches where you can choose your own!  I am definitely planning to be in the US for Halloween (with kids) one year.  Have promised them even!

11)  CVS.  A place I never got sick of (and not just because I spent much of my holiday sick from American food/coffee and needing to buy products to make me feel better - I am not used to such rich food, but found it so exciting that I consumed it anyway).  They have sooo much there - from 'candy' to Halloween products and organising products and ziplock bags of perfect airline size and all the usual pharmacy goodies but in a dizzying and delightful variety, and at half the price or less of the same products in Australia...and of course the alcohol. Plus they gave out coupons!

12)  Chipotle.  Fabulous Mexican food, that actually seemed healthy.  In huge size servings.  And best guacamole ever!

13)  DC.  The museums.  The monuments.  The beautiful buildings.  The greenery.  The peace to be found so easily even within the city.  Dupont Circle and the embassies, bookstores, and overall charm.  The Circulator.  Union Station.  The Metro.  I have no idea how I managed to not like the city last time I visited (ok, maybe it was because of the area I stayed in), but I just loved it this time.  Plus, you can buy space icecream and space pens that write underwater there - supercool!

14)  Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestowne.  Ok, I must admit...this is not something I was particularly looking forward to on my trip, and although my friend assured me it was great and that I would enjoy it, I was secretly a little skeptical and expecting something a little tacky theme park-ish.  But loved it - both are beautiful places to be (and Jamestowne was so quiet and peaceful as well), the costumed historian telling us about Jamestowne's history was both amazingly entertaining and informative as was the lady leading us through the Governor's Palace, there was such a variety of experiences at Williamsburg, and well, again, they are just such beautiful places.

15)  Ashburn.  All the buildings are pretty.  It is green.  There are lakes.  From my friend's house it is possible to walk to school without even crossing the road.  There is a trail that goes all the way into Washington, and even has rest stops.  The shopping centres are nicely set out, with ample parking.  Plus of course, they have the all important CVS, target and Ashburn Bagels.

16) Dulles Airport.  Nicely set out, and even the carparks seemed to lack the usual airport chaos.  The trains were supercool.  The airport was clean, and with decent and reasonably priced food options.  And the luggage even came out onto the conveyor in a cute way.

17)  The schoolbuses.  Sooo cute.  I love the colour, I love the shape, they are just delightful.  And most definitely photoworthy.  Plus, of course, like everything else in American, because we grow up watching American shows with American stuff, they seem famous and exciting. 

18)  Squirrels.  They are cute and adorable.  The look cute, they move cutely.  They make practically every green place you come across even more delightful.  They are totally photoworthy and videoworthy (although it seems that taking photos of them is also an excellent way to meet the locals as many of them seem to find it both hilarious and a clear indication that 'you are not from here, are you'...)


  1. Ahaan someone is hooked to the US of A! Glad that you had fun :)

  2. I am! Totally :) I would even rather be ironing there than doing anything else here! Wish I could go back in time a month and still be there - or be there again already! I sure did have fun - Americans are fun :D

  3. I loved reading this! I am from PA, and to hear you talk about the things that seem so trivial to Americans, its something that is apparently obsolete in Australia. And I am dying to move to Australia, or at least visit. I love marsupials and my favorite penguin is the little fairy penguin. Such beautiful animals. It was interesting to hear you that find squirrels interesting lol.

    And ps. the southern part of the U.S gets to reap the benefits of buying alcohol. Pa regulates our alcohol too, so you have to go to a liquor store, and they close at 9 pm. :/ Its an excitement for me too when I cross those state lines. I'm glad you enjoyed America, and were exposed to the goodness of it rather than the negativity.

  4. Thank you SMD :) And oooh, cool, I loooved PA, used up literally, seriously, unprecedented amounts of MB there in filming - found every country road, every farm, every street, every house, and most of the trees photo and videoworthy.

    It is funny, how those little things there seem so amazingly exciting. Loved it so much I am going back in January. And I want to move there (if only our governments would allow exchanges we could work something out :D), at least for some time. And yes, squirrels I found just enchanting and far more interesting than the boring old kangaroos (which there have been plenty of in both of the last two suburbs I have lived in) - so much a matter of perspective and novelty, isn't it. Fairy penguins are enchanting and adorable, for sure - from the way they walk to their indecision about whether it really is time to come into the beach - in they come, back out, in again, out again, fiiiinally up the beach.

  5. even I like a few things..specially Chipotle.

  6. yeahii Kathy is back :)

    missed you girl :) and lots of love to the lil beasties !!

  7. Since the time I have started staying in London, I can not stand he way americans speak english :D I loved Boston, when I travelled for the first time and Orlando was such a shopping heaven.

    Sigh, whenever I think of USA, I think of shopping :D

  8. @TBB I know what you mean, it bugs me as well, and in some very petty ways (even the different use of momentarily and the way they say 'that will be suffice' rather than 'that will suffice' grates on me) It is cute though, overall. Totally agree about Orlando being shopping heaven - was my first experience of real outlets, and my favourite tshirt ever was from there. Have not yet been to Boston though.

    And, funny that you say that when you think of the US you think of shopping - as so do I, and have done all my Christmas (and much other) shopping from there in the last month (using When I have visited people there I have had lots shipped to their house to take home too :D Much better and cheaper shopping than here!