Greetings from the land of cheeseheads

30 Jun

I have this theory that your body is just naturally attuned to the time zone you were born in. It’s always easier for me to come back to Eastern Standard Time. That being said, my body does not like Central Time. It never has. I lived in it for several years, and even then I still referred to EST as “real time.” I’m in Milwaukee now, which is on Central Time, and my body has decided that 7am is the time to wake up. This works fine when I pass out at 10pm, but was not too peachy when I went to bed at 2:45am after a successful bachelorette party. I still can’t believe I pulled it off. Planning a bachelorette party/hen do is not easy to begin with, but doing it from the other side of the world is a whole different challenge. Everyone had a good time, I got to ride a party bus for the first time, and the only reason I felt crappy the next day was because of jet lag, not a hangover. I’d call that a success. I also ate cheese curds for the first time, because Wisconsin. They tasted like … cheese. Although perhaps I should try them deep-fried if I want the true experience.

Besides the time change, I’ve also been experiencing some reverse culture shock. In no particular order:

-American power outlets are rubbish. I was brainwashed into thinking they were the best, because, well, America, but they’re horrible. Every time I plug something in it feels so flimsy I’m not sure it’s going to stay. I bought a cheap American curling iron since my British curling tongs aren’t compatible with 120v. Halfway through I noticed my hair wasn’t curling. I was about to blame the cheap iron, but then I realized the plug had just fallen out of the socket. Yes, British plugs are big and unsightly, but they certainly get the job done. In fact, in a recent Reddit thread I believe they were voted best plugs in the world.

-American grocery stores are overwhelming. I’m staying at a hotel near a grocery store so I find myself there practically every day to pick up a meal or snack. I wanted some Greek yogurt. In the UK if I want the legit, high-protein stuff, I have 3 options: Fage Total, Liberte or Skyr. They each have a handful of flavors, but I usually just get plain. At the store here there was an entire aisle of Greek yogurt options — did I want it whipped? With a layer of chocolate on top? With oatmeal mixed in? With nuts mixed in? With a little flippy side full of sweets that turn a healthy snack into a sweet treat? And then there were the flavors — not just strawberry, blueberry and honey like I’m used to, but things like cherry cheesecake, salted caramel and key lime pie. I’m not exaggerating when I say I spent a good 15 minutes standing in that aisle just trying to choose a yogurt. I would say American and British grocery stores carry most of the same basics, but the American ones just have way more varieties of everything. (Don’t even get me started on the cereal aisle…)

-People are really friendly. I’ve walked into stores or hotels and been greeted by people who don’t work there, people who just for some reason want to say hi. I don’t understand this. Also apparently you’re supposed to acknowledge other runners and walkers when you’re out. I thought maybe this was just a suburbia thing, but I’ve been running in downtown Milwaukee and a lot of people do it. This is also weird to me. I will say, however, that Milwaukee is a brilliant city to run in. I took advantage of the one day it wasn’t butt-hot and did 6 miles along the lake and trails. Apparently I’m out of practice because I took a lot of walking breaks, but we’ll blame it on the humidity and desire to take in the scenery.  Like this lighthouse:

milwaukee lighthouseTime has really been flying by, I can’t believe I’ve been here for a week now. And more importantly, I can’t believe my best friend is getting married in less than 2 days!  I think I’m ready to tackle my maid of hono[u]r duties (like saving her a maple bacon doughnut. God bless America!).


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