I’ve been visiting family in Ohio for about 2 weeks now, which is time enough to reflect on some of the differences & similarities between my adopted and birth homes… here are 8 things which have been on my mind.
1) Nobody in Ohio walks! I was on Main Street of Springfield, Ohio. Granted, not the most cosmopolitan of America’s cities, but still: Main Street. I walked two blocks, and passed a grand total of two other pedestrians: (a) a scraggly old homeless woman and (b) a “sport walking”-walker. Apparently walking is only done for fitness anymore.
2) I would rather shop at a Spanish supermarket than an American one. No one needs a 100-meter aisle of cereal choices.
3) If Americans have heard of Valencia, it tends to be because of the City of Arts & Sciences. But not many have heard of Valencia. Everyone asks me where it is in relation to Barcelona.
4) Autumn usually brings out the rainy worst in Valencia, but Ohio is never more beautiful. (Though, Juergen reports nothing but sunny skies in VLC this October!)
5) Americans are much more courteous, patient drivers than Spaniards. The wave-to-honk ratio is drastically better.
6) They’ve actually begun showing Champions League highlights on Sportscenter. This might sound trivial, but is truly a huge step forward. Soccer exists in the average American consciousness in a way that would have been unthinkable 10 years ago. When a friend from high school recently asked me how Chelsea was doing, I almost spit out my beer.
7) Why, exactly, do toilets in the USA hold so much water? I had never thought about it before, but now it’s freaking me out. My poop does not need a huge pool to swim around in.
8) Fast food is a way of life here. I miss menú del días, but I can’t deny the giddy, shameful pleasure of ordering a menu at Taco Bell.
… any other expats out there have similar observations to share? Spaniards and Ohioans have a lot more in common than most would probably assume, but the differences are more fun!
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The biggest challenge for me, after returning home in July after living in Valencia for 6 months, was the walking. I live in suburban Baltimore. There are sidewalks, but not every street has them and not many people use them. I miss being able to walk anywhere I need to be. The automobile culture of America caused me some reverse culture shock.
Another thing is the feeling of safety. I feel like I could walk almost anywhere in Valencia at night. Baltimore is a totally different story, not to say that VLC doesn’t have it’s rough areas. It was kind of weird to return and realize I don’t feel particularly safe in much of my home city.
Very interesting post, thanks! 🙂
I am from Valencia and I spent three months in the States last summer.
I do agree with the too much water on the toilet thing (although girls don’t poop, its just a legend)… its gross. But I am sure you miss the bathroom fan! That heavenly and perfect invention made so that no one has a clue (either by sound, either by smell) of what you’ve been doing there.
And, no, they do not know where Valencia is. From all the people I met, all of them thought at first I was Mexican. Only one said I was Hawaian. Next time you just have to say “yeah… where the tomato war is…” (and its not even right there!)