Thursday, October 25, 2012

Culture Shock

I've done this re-entry into American life before. However, the first time I did, I moved back from living in Germany for three and a half years. Trading in schnitzel for chicken nuggets, which I wasn't real thrilled about, by the way. Of course, it's a bigger transition to transition back from Africa than from Europe. In general, that is. You see, we moved to Germany 2 weeks before 9/11. So I returned to a different America than I left.

We arrived in Colorado in 2005, back in the olden days when you paid your AOL bill by time spent on-line. So, after being overseas, we returned to the states filled with all these celebrities we didn't know. People that we didn't know how or why they were famous. Like Paris Hilton. At first, I thought I was the only person who didn't understand how someone could be a household name for doing absolutely nothing. She even had her own tv show aparently. Fast forward seven years and our return from Morocco and Paris has been replaced by Snooki. Still as vacuous, just tanner. I still don't know what show she's on. Nor, do I care. I just wish I didn't know she had a spawn. It will probably get it's own show now.

When I got back from Germany, I was so excited to listen to American music again. And I got this cd from one of my favorite bands, Live. Immediately, I fell in love with this hauntingly beautiful song called Overcome. I played it over and over again. Until I saw a video of it. The powerful words combined with even more powerful visuals of 9/11. While we were gone, this song was the anthem for the nations grief. I was so overcome with emotion, I couldn't listen to that song anymore. Things weren't nearly as moving coming back from Morocco. That's when I discovered the song International Love is an international hit written by an American. Cause dude, that song is so stupid, I was sure it was written by a non-native English speaker. And unfortunately, there's a whole slew of others that fall in this category. Crap.

Moving from Europe where people are smartly and elegantly dressed, to Colorado where people are warmly and comfortably dressed, didn't take much of an adjustment. In this respect, I'm completely American. So, I jumped on the crocs bandwagon like everyone else. Although, I did get the black mary janes to, you know, keep it classy. I admit, I still have them in my closet somewhere. Why would I get rid of a shoe that's comfortable, easy to slide on and clean dog shit off of? Damn. I need to find those shoes cause really, how likely is it I'm going to step in dog shit? Extremely likely. And now, the stores only seem to sell ugly AND uncomfortable shoes. In really, really bright colors, so you can't ignore their hideousness. Which, is another reason why I shop at thrift stores. The shoes are already broken in, even if they make me break out in a fungal infection. That's just part of the adventure, that's all.

This one has always pissed me off. I will never understand how crappy books become movies. One of the worst written books I remember reading many years ago, was The Notebook. Don't get me wrong, it's a nice sentimental story. But the writing? Total crap. Granted, it was the guys debut novel and maybe he didn't have an editor back then, I don't know. But, when we got back from Germany I was shocked that they had made it into a movie. I guess when the lead is played by Ryan Gosling, no one went for the writing. I boycotted based on principal. It only grossed like 80 million, I'm sure they feel the sting. As does it's modern day replacement, The Twighlight series. I admit, I haven't read it. I haven't seen the movies. And I don't have any desire to. I went through the whole vampire craze back in the 1990's with Anne Rice's The Vampire Lestat. Both the book series and the movie where fantastic. So, why would I want to go back and bleed the whole vampire thing dry?

These days, I'm the girl at the party who misses cultural references. But, I just like to think that I spared myself the embarrassment of wearing jeggings and feathers. And that I've saved countless hours by not reading 50 Shades of Grey. Not to mention, being spared the auditory assault of that stupid Pop Pop Americano song. What the hell does that song mean anyway? Oh right, we no speak Americano.

10 comments: said...

You know, Marie, some of us lived in America when you were in Morocco, and still miss those (horti)cultural references. Because we know that "reality" tv is a nightmare!

SherilinR said...

i think i'd rather look at the classily dressed europeans, but i'd rather dress like the comfy coloradoans.

Leah Griffith said...

I love shoe shopping at thrift stores! The sandals that I have on now are my favorites and I only paid 2 bucks for them. I got a really nice purse the other day too.
Yeah...I've got the bug;)

Anyway, I'm with you on avoiding the flavor of the day in music, movies, and literature. I cling to the old classics, stepping out occasionally into the busy aisles of the modern, allowing the current to carry me down stream. It's always down stream;)

Chantel said...

You mean there is another way to shop other than thrift?? Oh yeah, the way that leaves you poooooor.


Rice has two entire shelves in my library.

Penelope said...

Marie, Your culture clash could also be mine or that of many people who grew up before technology changed our lives. I remember 50's and 60's Paris Hilton type starlets who made a brief mark and disappeared. No comparison between Anne Rice's cosmopolitan, sophisticated vampires vs. the vapid angst riddled Twilight ones. In all fairness, the former is a masterful writer whereas Twilight is YA. I also buy shoes in thrift stores and elegant attire is a thing of the past. But in my case, coming from another country, this culture clash is also a bit of a generational clash. A decade ago I'd probably have watched "Housewives."

Rachel said...

I too am confounded by this rash of terribly-written, best-selling books turned into semi-okay, sometimes awful box office hits. And the lyrics? I'll be listening to something catchy my daughter has put on and then realize the lyrics are something like this: "I ain't got no money/I ain't got no car to take you on a date/I can't even buy you flowers/But together we can be the perfect soul mates..." He then goes on about how he doesn't have any credit cards, but that's okay because the girl doesn't have to "floss" for him. THAT is someone's soul mate? Get a job for gods sake! ;-)

It's like we're in the age of stupid.

I am also a thrift store junkie as well and worry when my daughter and her friends go out in their 5 inch heels, only because I know they will fall and break a bone, which they do. Then I always say, "I told you so". I like to say that, but no one listens. They roll their eyes and turn up the volume on their iPods. :-)

Anonymous said...

I'd like to think that your dislike of the current wave of obsession with 'reality' tv stars and non story line driven, badly written literature is not a European v. American cultural thing, but a taste and imagination v. lack of taste and no imagination thing. Harsh, but true.

MuMuGB said...

I totally understand, Marie, it is the same for me in France. When I go back, I look for the singers I knew 10 years ago and, guess what, they don't have tjeir CDs any more. I don't know the celebrities or what make people tick anymore. BWhen I think of France, I think of the country I left 10 years ago. And it feels weird not to understand it any more!

Joy Page Manuel said...

Yep, I miss out on some cultural references here too, as I did not grow up here. I have gotten better at admitting without shame though that I don't know certain things. I used to be shy and embarrassed but not anymore. Oh and if it's any consolation, I had to google Gangnam Style the first time it appeared all over FB. Hate that song!!!

Janine said...

Pop pop americano?!?!? hehe

Oh and I'm with you on The Notebook - never read it, never watched it. Though I was the only girl left actually. I did read the Twilight books - but put my foot down at the movies. Haven't watched them. The books were more than enough.


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