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True differences or just rose tinted spectacles?

True differences or just rose tinted spectacles?

I am a 32 year old woman who moved, with my job, to Houston Texas with my husband and two children (aged 10 and 7) in August of last year.  Firstly, we’re in the minority of families who have the husband as the "trailing spouse" rather than the wife and that in itself has caused some difficulties, but that’s probably for another article!  This one is about the differences we are experiencing in the US from the UK.

I am a 32 year old woman who moved, with my job, to Houston Texas with my husband and two children (aged 10 and 7) in August of last year.  Firstly, we’re in the minority of families who have the husband as the "trailing spouse" rather than the wife and that in itself has caused some difficulties, but that’s probably for another article!  This one is about the differences we are experiencing in the US from the UK.

We went to the cinema last night, something we enjoyed doing back home on a regular basis as a family.  However, each time I’ve been to the cinema here, it has not gone without incident.  I’m not talking anything too horrendous but it seems that it is acceptable here to take too young a child into films that are quite frankly not appropriate or too long to hold their interest.  An example of which would be taking babes in arms and toddlers to sit through two and a half hours of Harry Potter.  Surely a recipe for disaster!  When my children were too young, I simply didn’t take them out of respect for the other viewers who might like to watch the film with their appropriately aged children, without continuous background noise.

Background noise brings me to my next whinge!  Groups of teenagers have been in every film I’ve been to see so far, who seem to have no issue with talking, giggling loudly and generally being a nuisance through the whole of the film.  Last night, the group in our row were incredibly noisy, moving seats continuously and generally being a pain.  It culminated in one of them throwing a metal object into the crowd below, closely missing the head of a 74 year old grandma.  What on earth is that about?  We went to the cinema each weekend back in the UK and I can honestly say I never saw anything like this.

It really got me thinking about the differences over here compared to back home and sparked a debate between myself and my husband as to whether these really were true differences or whether we were looking at back home with rose tinted spectacles.  It’s true that there are good differences with our life here as well as bad but as a parent, I am concerned that the bad differences I see now will simply become "just the way it is", which my children will fall into and I will accept.

I find consumerism here is so much more "throw away" than in the UK.  Houses are considered old at 5 years because everything appears so after such a short period of time, if something breaks you’re rarely encouraged to fix it, you just buy another one.  Everything needs to be available 24/7 and whilst that has it’s advantages (Starbucks is open here from 5am to 11pm – hallelujah!), it also creates a society that is incredibly demanding and impatient.  I’m ashamed to say I can see myself changing toward that in certain parts of my life, which I am amazed at after such a short period of time.

{mosbanner right}At a local neighbourhood meeting last week, the residents were moaning that police response time should you dial 911, was just over a minute and a half.  A minute and a half and moaning?  I couldn’t believe it.  My husband was a Police Officer in the UK and you’d be lucky in the place he worked in (Tower Hamlets) to have a response within 15 minutes.  I’ve been asking myself if that is indicative of an overall demanding society or whether I’m simply picking up on it through some kind of homesickness.

We had worked hard to secure our future in the US, taking over 3 years to get our VISAs, so our friends back home all went through the rollercoaster ride with us.  This makes it incredibly difficult to be seen to be "moaning" about the place you are now expected to call home as that would make them resentful of the blood, sweat and tears they shed with you in the effort to make it all happen.

In conclusion (for this particular rant!) I have decided to make a list of all those things I think are different between the US and UK, both good and bad.  Not to make it some kind of crusade to pick which Country has it sussed and which is on the wrong track, more to try and retain some part of me that will remember where my morals and ideals were when I first arrived.  That way, if I’m called to the cinema to collect my child (as the parents of the metal throwing group were), and I’ve forgotten how enraged I was at that, I will remember how unacceptable that actually is and hopefully instill those morals in my children.

Thanks for "listening".