Just how American are we?

At Costco last weekend Jamie and I were pushing a cart with baby clothes, a kid’s picnic table, mangos and pork chops and Jamie turned to me to ask “Do you think we’ll miss this?” Since the language is the same I think we at times underestimate the cultural change we are going to go through moving to the UK. So here are some of the things I’ll miss the most but probably be better off without.

First has to be Costco, I love Costco. Yes it’s huge and always busy but you can’t tell me it’s not convenient to buy toilet paper by the 200 pack. With two growing boys we go through a lot of milk not to mention diapers for the little guy and bulk really does make sense for those things. I will freely admit there are plenty of things that don’t really need to be purchased in bulk beef jerky and mayonnaise being two of them. I’m sure there are big box stores in the UK but from all the pictures of homes I’ve seen it doesn’t look like we would have anywhere to put bulk items.
My second concern is the washer dryer situation. I am just now starting to appreciate how lucky it is to be able to throw all the towels in one load and have them dry within 90 minutes. The luxury of throwing a full load of jeans in is something I know I’ll miss. Not only are the washing machines I’ve seen look tiny they are also in the kitchen. Yes the kitchen. There are also no dryers, we think some of the washers are dual washer and dryer but most houses have clothes lines for drying clothes in the back. Since Reading has the same climate we do here in Seattle I’m not sure how often it stops raining long enough for your clothes to dry. I’m sure this will be one of my key learnings that first month.
My third shamelessly American habit is Starbucks. Not just Starbucks but the drive thru Starbucks. Jamie actually hates this particular habit of mine. I know it would be better if I only drank organically grown, independent coffee from much cooler coffee shops then Starbucks but I don’t. I like knowing I’m going to get the drink I want. They really are everywhere, including on my commute into work, and with the drive thru I can swing in and be on my way within minutes. I know there will be Starbucks were we’re headed but I see two primary reasons I won’t be able to continue my expensive habit. One, gas is so expensive that the idea of driving to get coffee sounds outrageous. Two, on one income the thought of our expendable money going to my coffee habit doesn’t seem like a good idea.
In reality I’m sure it’s the small things we aren’t even aware of that will be the biggest cultural differences. That is the point to experience somewhere different, expose the boys to different ways of doing things and hopefully broadening our own way of thinking. But I’m sure there will be the days when I just wish we could run to Costco buy 4 gallons of milk and pick up a hotdog on the way out.

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