Saturday, May 30, 2015

A change of perspective

On our recent trip to England an old friend asked me if I felt American yet, and we talked about when that shift would happen and how we would know when it did.

A change in perspective - like that provided by a transatlantic trip - is a good test. As we left Heathrow and got on the M25 I noticed, audibly, how small all the cars are. Really, they are. Everyone's driving about in Nissan Micras and Mazda M3s and while these are perfectly serviceable cars, they do look rather small to someone who's been in the US too long. It has been a long time since I noticed how big all the cars in LA are, I should add.

So perhaps I am American already.

As I ate more cheese in our first night than I had in the previous 12 months, I waxed lyrical about the quality of British cheese. Even bog standard supermarket cheddar is better than the crap they sell over here. Apples too, are superior back home: crisp, and crunchy, and perfectly tart. The bread is better, it's less sweet and tastes of actual bread  - and strawberries taste just like they should. Like strawberries, rather than like damp refrigerated air. These are bold value judgments based on a lifetime of having my tastes shaped by British food. I'm prepared to accept that to an American, English cheese might be too tangy, the apples too sour, the strawberries too small, and the bread not sweet enough. Based on my taste preferences, I am definitely still British.

And Lady P? Happily, she persists in calling butter 'buttah'. But to my British family's disappointment, when she wants hydration, she calls for 'warder'. I suppose she is the true transatlantic in this tale.

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