The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope was published in 1875, and written after he returned to England from abroad and saw his native land through fresh eyes.
Trollope, of course, was talking about timeless human failings – whereas, since we arrived in the US last Thursday, the phrase ‘the way we live now’ has stuck in my mind for very different reasons.
Globalisation means that certain things are the same wherever we travel: brands of clothes and consumer goods, hotel chains, customs (it’s Hallowe’en season already) and TV programmes.
We’re in Ohio, staying with my sister and visiting our son who’s at the local university. As I write this, it’s Family Weekend and we’ve been with the parents of Will’s flatmates and other friends. They’re a great bunch of people!
What’s the same as England:
· I made a chocolate-based tray bake, a recipe from my mother, using typically English ingredients which I actually bought here, at the local Meijer store.
· I can watch BBC TV – yes, there’s now a Global iplayer, with a limited selection of programmes so far.
What’s still different:
· We went to a ‘college tailgate’, also known as a ‘party in the parking lot’ – BBQ and picnic activity done from the boot of your car. Not something I’ve seen much of back home.
· Ladies’ restrooms (can’t speak for the Gents) – the ones I’ve been in over here are generally big and clean, with plentiful supplies of soap and towels and plumbing that works. Wow!
What do you like best about being in another country – something you know you can’t find or do back home? At least, not yet …