Thursday, January 6, 2011

Livin' Large 2011

Hello, everybody!  Happy New Year!!! 

My internship contract ended on the last day of 2010 and I've been home in Toronto as of Tuesday.  I had two flight transfers, which really, really sucked, but I sat beside a really nice, German-born, LA-resident Jake Gyllenhaal look-alike on my last fight, so that made the situation a little better. :D

I've been experiencing a bit of reverse culture shock...

...mainly, I've been re-adjusting to living with so MUCH.  Life in North America is so different from life in Europe (well, in France and Spain, anyway).  Everything is just so huge and over-the-top.

Everything is so much bigger here.  In the suburbs especially, there are so many vast, open spaces of land.  When I walked into my bedroom, I couldn't believe how enormous it was - the space in the middle of my room is easily 2-3 times bigger than my entire room in Madrid.  My shower here at home is a regular over-the-bathtub shower, which is about 2.5 times bigger than my microscopic shower stall in Spain.  I couldn't believe how strong the water pressure was, and I was amazed at how the showerhead didn't fall off every five seconds, like mine did in Madrid.

I finally have internet in my room again!!!  I don't have to worry about not having hot water anymore!!!  I'm finally sleeping in a real bed with an actual mattress again, as opposed to a wafer-thin cot over a wispy metal frame with thin wooden slats across it!

I just couldn't believe that all this luxury was standard everyday life to me for years.  Even my toothbrush at home is extra fancy, with all kinds of bells and whistles - an ergonomic handle, four different colours of bristles set at four different heights, teeny little rubber fingers framing the bristles to massage my gums and a tongue cleaner at the back to boot.

So what I brought back from Spain, in addition to many, many happy memories, good experiences and life lessons, is a better awareness of how we live in North America.  We have and use and consume so much more than we really need.  We don't all have to live like impoverished interns like I did in Spain, but we really don't need all the stuff we have in North America.  If we all cut back the frills a little bit, we could be less wasteful, it would be less of a strain on the environment, and it's really not such a big sacrifice, you know?

Here's to a very happy, prosperous, green, successful, peaceful and safe 2011 to everyone!  Thank you for reading me and I hope you stick with me in the new year!


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