17 October 2006

Catching Up on the Aho USA Update

From the September Issue:

Welcome everybody to the long awaited 2nd issue of the Aho travel diary!

We have a new lesson we've learned we're calling the '3times rule.' In the past 7 weeks since our first travel update/blog (can't call it a blog, really, since the definition says it must be 'frequently updated'--we haven't done that!), we've learned that everything takes 3x as long as we planned or anticipated to do. E-mail, expenses, researching information, communicating, organising, buying supplies, settling into a temporary residence--it all takes 3 times what we anticipated.
So we're feeling a little more exhausted than we anticipated, and chaos has been our close companion for many weeks. But we've now been 'settled' in Mesa, AZ for a week....just in time to fly out to Virginia tomorrow for a 10 day trip.

Suggestions for the name of this rather boringly titled update came fast and furious--over 55 submissions!! The funniest, as a result of the 'letters from the loo' story I told, were 'BogBlog' (in the UK, 'bog' is another less proper word for the WC) and 'Down the Pan' (an Americanism, for the UK audience, referring to the toilet). We can't say we were really struck with any of the names suggested, so, while boring, 'Aho USA Update' remains descriptive enough to survive the renaming attempt.

In our experiences of the last 7 weeks, I've lost count of the times I've said to myself, 'what I've just observed or experienced would be good for reflection on the blog site,' only to be foiled by lack of internet access or other to-do list items of greater importance.

Still, we're fresh enough on the American scene to note several surface differences from the UK. Everything is BIGGER than we remembered. Streets are bigger. Food portions in restaurants are bigger. Cars are bigger and SUVs far outstrip any other model too. We're reminded that to get anywhere, personal vehicular transportation is required--everything is so far apart and spread out. Oh, and everything is air conditioned too--we nearly froze in Indiana when we first arrived there, then melted when we went outside. We've forgotten or lost touch with proper etiquette in social situations (that's hard to describe how we feel that, but Tim chewing on his toenails while accessing a wireless hotspot at Starbucks definitely generated a few stares).

For those counting (as of 4 September 2006), we put 1507 miles on the 1999 Yukon SUV, given us as a loaner, for the 2 weeks we drove it. The 2000 Oldsmobile Silhouette, which the Weston family (Josh and Jan @ http://www.westonpontiac.com/) so helpfully arranged for us to purchase, now has 3400 additional miles on it since we purchased it on the 9th of August.

The ride continues!

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