Wednesday, 19 October 2005

Are we better off, and if so, what are we sacrificing?

So many of the Americans I know who have moved to the UK (either for work, relationships, uni, or a combination) have sited quality of life as the reason for a permanent move. Yes, things do move at a slower pace here, and depending on where you live (certainly not London) and what you do, it is easier to have a work-life balance which makes one happier and healthier. On the other hand, I spent about two hours in total today getting from home into the city center, shopping for a 5-subject notebook (eventually buying a notebook with 200 pages and some post-it notes to make divisions), going to the health food shop to get some echinacea tea, and finding a place that would unlock my new (well, new to me) mobile phone then waiting 30 minutes for them to do so, then back on foot to the university to do homework, as that is where the internet is. If I settled here permanently, I could have the internet at home and buy a car, which would speed things up a bit, but of course there is still the laundry to do which is going to take 2 days to dry unless I purchase an ‘American dryer’ at a possible cost of £800 (I still can’t believe they cost that much, then again I don’t know the cost at home, never having had to buy household appliances). So, is the trade off worth it? Granted, there are more differences than I’ve just mentioned, or maybe just more detail as to the differences in attitude which bring about the differences in lifestyle. But, what is the trade off? Again, is it worthwhile? I know quite a few of you have had the opportunity to live in or are from other countries. What do you miss about them now that you’re back in the States? What do you appreciate more about the US (or your home country)?

1 comment:

Suzer said...

You can purchase a very good gas dryer for right around $300 here in the US, and they last forever. I’ve only had to purchase 2 in the past 30 years and the one I have is fine. I would choke if I had to spend $1600 for one!! Think I’d revert to the dryer of my youth–THE CLOTHESLINE!!!!

The bigger question about the pace of life is one that only time and experience can answer. Wonder what the incidence of high blood pressure is in small town Europe.

Commented by muddiah on October 19, 2005 at 10:29 am

From Terry:

I haven’t lived outside the states for as long as you. I did live in Mexico for about 3 months but that was years ago. Although, I have travelled quite a bit (as you know). I definately think quality of life is better in many other countries: slower pace, more balance, shorter work hours, more time with family & friends, not so focused on making tons of money, etc., walking more, more conversation, more people to people contact, more reading and cultural type things vs money money money. What I find more difficult are the things you’re describing; what I would consider comfort things. Here in the states you can go to one store & get everything you need/want for any price you want. Walmart/Best Buy on the cheap or Michigan Ave. on the high end. Or even a thrift store if you really want cheap. Everything here is in one place so it’s easy. Especially if you live in the downtown area of a major city (like Chicago). The infrastructure is excellent. It’s easy to get around. Excellent public transportation (buses, subways, els, cabs are not too expensive, you can walk everywhere). Restaurants - any price range. Things you need - any price range (cars 2nd hand $2000, new anywhere from $12,000 -$100,000 and up). My understanding is England in particular is very expensive. Especially when you compare the pound to the dollar.

So, it’s a trade off…


Commented by Suzer on October 19, 2005 at 10:49 am

Incidence of high blood pressure over here would have more to do with diet than anything else, I’d guess. They have a big ad campaign going on right now about salt intake…not having more than 6g a day, which Paulette feels is a poorly done campaign as most people here can’t picture/don’t know what 6g is.

Oh, on the dryers. Paulette’s friend said she spent about £300 on her dryer, which was a bargain. The import taxes are quite dear.

Commented by Suzer on October 19, 2005 at 10:53 am