Monday, 29 March 2010

Grocery Shopping - US Style

Back in January when Hubby finalised (oops, sorry - finalized) plans to move over (whimper, yes without me ) to Boston, I was looking forward to getting to know Macy's and Starbucks on a greater level of relaxation...

...and when out there for those two weeks, it dawned on me that I can go the supermarket and shop...yeah!

I love grocery shopping, especially a few minutes after the store has just opened and there are just a few people milling around, I grab a basket and head towards the aisles with a hop and a skip (ok, just a slight skip); a sense of contentment builds as I mill around the tomatoes, finding the right kind of leek, perusing the meat section deciding on whether to have cumberland sausages or pork & apple...ahhh, the joy of it all.

So, imagine my delight when I could amble down the aisles of a real all American store - lovely! I grabbed a trolley ignoring Hubby's comments of - 'we're not going to buy that much'. "Yes dear," I mutter as I pushed the wire cage towards the fruit. Suddenly, everything looked different and I'm sure had to taste differently.

I picked up a tub of pineapple, like they were rings of gold, I contemplated whether to make this purchase...I put them back but that didn't stop me picking up the usual fayre (carrots, onions...OMG they have garlic too) like it was the 'amber nectar'..!

To my dismay though, I may well be incorrect on this part, but I couldn't find any garlic bread or 'shredless' marmalade! What's all that about?...and the tea is so different. Mother dearest said I must have been a 'memsahib' in a previous life because I like tea so much!

Anyway, obviously being Boston they're not exactly going to brimming with English breakfast tea! And the Irish breakfast tea just isn't strong enough - I did find a box of Twinings Engish Breakfast...but it's not the same, so I'm thinking that I'm going to have to pack a box or two!

This one store we went to was huge; fresh produce, a bakery section, a hot food section - oh and the American's don't do a decent ol' banger. They have what they call 'breakfast sausage'. It has so many preservatives I was wondering if you could taste any meat! I didn't get any but felt a dash of panic of whether I would be able to buy 'real' sausages!

Several aisles later (and possibly an hour or so from the time we entered the store), the trolley was beginning to brim with great things...cinnamon rolls, butter, orange juice, eggs....and as I turned down the second to last aisle, Hubby stopped and looked at me...

"Please, can we leave now...before I die here..?"

I rolled my eyes...when did the love of food shopping fizzle from our relationship? Did he no longer enjoy practically stopping and looking at every box, carton or packet of lovely foodie items? Has the fabric conditioner and what smell to go with lost all its appeal?

I went into momentary despair...but soon got over it as I realised (sorry - realized) that I could come back here again...on my own...and go 'wild in the aisles' ; and then Hubby would have to listen aisle by aisle my wonderful shopping expedition...


Thursday, 11 March 2010

I've lost me 'u' recently dawned on me whilst completing a crossword (yes, my life is that exciting at the moment!) that when I get across to the land of the free that I'm losing the letter U and gaining an extra Z (ize).

Now, as someone who loves to read and has excelled (even if I do say so myself) in English - oral and written, this loss of a very useful letter leaves me feeling a tad uncomfortable.
Perhaps I should "like, just get over myself" but I am wondering - will I find it again?

Hubby and I are in Boston for a few years...but may stay longer, so on that basis will I forget the Queen's english? Should I pop back to ol' blighty and visit some posh folk in Kensington to remind myself that one should alwasys refer to oneself in the third person?...But, then again, I am after all a 'sow-fth' London girl, I don't refer myself in the third person and ain't gonna start now am I?

One of my favo-U-rite novelists is Tess Gerritson and I must admit that I don't recall this infamous missing letter being that just that - missing - and the occasional 'ize' I think has cropped up but the 'ize's of the world don't bother me too much.

Now, we all know Amercia is known for the spelling bee, it would make for an interesting contest between the UK and USA don't you think? I mean, the judges would have to make sure they make it clear which spelling they are after. Wow, you could so trip someone up! "Spell colo(u)r" "is the origin UK or US?" (Note: watch Akeela and the Bee - fanstastic film about the above event which will make you tense, happy, sad, frustrated and relieved even if you think spelling bee's are a waste of time).

If you're bothered, and are curious to know words that are spelt differently these inlcude:

(UK) aeroplane / (US) airplane : (UK) pyjamas / (US) pajamas : (UK) mum / (US) mom

So, why am I 'bovvered' about a missing letter? I guess it's the principle of it all. I love the complexity of the english language, how the same spelling of a word can mean two different things (sink, class, train etc) and when spoken with warmth and a true sense of meaning (e.g. Patrick Stewart reading Charles Dicken's classic - Scrooge) can be a slice of heaven.

Ah well, despite my concerns about mispronouncing certain words/letters e.g. Z is 'zee' not 'zed' and our allies wishing to be literal in their spelling, deep down we all know that there should be a u there. God Bless America...

I'm still in London...

Hubby and I are moving to Boston...a true sentence up until January this year.

The reality is - I'm here, he's there and well...the dream of actually getting there is feeling very distant. So, let me take you back to when it all started...

The Roti Incident

Being a West Indian girl who may love a traditional English 'fish supper', roti and pumpkin will always be her favourite. Hubby often teases me that I'm spoilt by my mum when she calls me at work to ask if I'm popping in, to which I reply "er, no - did you need something?" "no, just made some roti"...I'm there in a flash.

One day Hubby says - you better learn to make that yourself; to which I took personally. Why couldn't my mum make roti for me? How dare he tell me that I can't enjoy my mum's cooking, I may be married, but there's nothing wrong with having mum's cooking once in a get the picture (or should that be rant?!)

A few weeks later, Hubby explained his comment "I'm in discussions about getting a job in Boston"

Macy's, C&B, Starbucks...

It's amazing how nine words can make you forget what you were peeved about...I was so excited! Boston...really? of a world filled with Crate & Barrel, Macy's Holiday Lane, popping into an American Starbucks to grab a tall caramel macchiato rushed forward in my mind...was it possible?

Months went by as we went back and forth with Hubby's HR department and attorney (oo-er, have to get used to these American terms). But, depsite the lengthy filling in of forms where we had to state everything from who our parents were to all the countries we visited in the last ten years - ten years? I couldn't even remember last summer's holiday let alone ten years ago! - we got there in the end.

December 24th, we sat in the American Embassy in Grosvenor Sqaure (having stayed at the Millennium Hotel - if you get a chance, stay there...very comfy beds, great shower and an excellent breakfast); I was worried that we may still be turned down; and as we sat and watched the flat screen displaying a loop of the great icons of America, I couldn't help but think ok, don't look suspicious, like a criminal, like we have connections with anyone dodgy, that we, mere English folk really do believe in the American Dream.

Forty mintues later, we stood in front of a window, having our fingerprints scanned and forms reviewed. Turns out that they weren't that interested in me after all; I wasn't the principle visa applicant, just the spouse. Ah well, I can start looking dodgy again....

...and who cares - Boston here I come!