The World According to Renee

Views, Reviews, Short Stories and More…

Welcome to America

A couple of days ago, I went to the local supermarket to get a couple of things for dinner. Prominently displayed near the entrance was a large crate of (wait for it) pumpkins. These pumpkins are specially marketed for carving and come with a swing tag with instructions. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen carving pumpkins for sale.

As a kid, I read a lot of novels set in the US and their culture was so different. They had different names for their schooling, they got to dress up for October 31st, they had three months summer holiday during summer and they ate cookies.

Now, well, we do two of those things. Halloween parties have always been somewhat popular (hey- any excuse to dress up!) but nowadays children go Trick or Treating. When I lived in Nowra, I’d only been there a short time when October 31st came around. That morning I found a note in my letterbox saying the kids went trick or treating. I was thankful they let me know! That afternoon, I prepared some small bags of chocolate and lollies that I had around the house (at the time, my dad worked for Nestle and got all sorts of stuff for very cheap. He’d just spent a few days visiting me and had brought a lot of chocolate with him!) Some of those kids went to a lot of effort, and some were just kids still dressed in their school uniforms.

Then the cookies and cream phenomenon began: suddenly everything came in this new flavour. Icecream, chocolate bars, doughnuts and milkshakes all embraced this new sensation. Along with it came the word “cookies”. Overnight, our beloved biscuits became cookies. Cookie dough and ready-to-eat cookies appeared in every flavour we desired.

After that, we were bombarded with candy. No more lollies, those sweet treats became candy and the American ones began appearing on our shelves. I first noticed Junior Mints at my local video store (why are they still video stores even though they’ve only stocked DVDs for the past decade?) Now, I see Junior Mints, Hershey’s Kisses and even Tootsie Rolls in shops everywhere.

And now, we have carving pumpkins for Halloween. When I went in to the store today, they’d moved the crate to the back of the store where they had a whole Halloween display: lollies, little plastic pumpkins to collect lollies in, costumes, fake webs and spiders.

There are some fundamental language differences though; I can’t ask for a trolley in an American supermarket. They have carts. They ‘only’ have Jell-O  (jelly is what you put on sandwiches). They have popsicles and we have iceblocks. They have rednecks, we have bogans…

So maybe we’re not yet the 51st state, but we can’t be too far off.


October 21, 2010 - Posted by | Thoughts & Reflections

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