Last reflections on our trip

So are we all tried of our trip to the US?  I promise this is the last of it.  I’ll just try to answer some of the questions I have gotten.


So how was it?   I would say bleak!  And more than just the weather.  But first the weather, there was snow on the ground when we landed at JFK and snow there when we left 40 days later.  We saw snow in NY, MD, VA, SC, GA, and AL.  Of the 40 days about 25 were spent in places with snow on the ground.  That is far more snow than I need to see.  I am really trying not to whine, I did expect to see snow, at least in NY, but not in the south. 

Mood wise I would also say America is bleak.  In every household we visited there was a discussion about health care and the cost of it and the cost of living.  Perhaps part of this is just general winter blues but part of it is a general feeling of discontent.  I can’t really express this well but folks just don’t seem to be real happy.


snow trip nina 077


What surprised you most?  The cost and quality of food in grocery stores.  It was expensive and many times the quality was not there.  Here in Italy, while I might not be able to get blueberries in January but all the other produce that is offered is exceptional and costs much less than comparable in the US.  Oranges were so expensive and so tasteless that I finally  gave up buying them.  However, the beer was good. 


snow trip, Spring D, NOLA 018


TVs and whoop de doo cell phones Yes, they were mind boggling.  So much so that I had to write a separate post about TVs.  The cell phones… A whole other matter of amazement!  Do not whine about cost of living if you have one of those phones and pay to always be connected to the Internet.  


Houses  This is the strange one to me too.  Most of the houses that we visited in I have been in before.  And I would say that most of our family and friends are ‘middle class’.  I guess that I have just gotten used to Italian houses (smaller and older).  For the most part, the houses we stayed in seemed HUGE!  I have vague memories of paying utility bills in the US and I know what utilities cost here (expensive).  I can’t imagine what it costs to run these houses.  And how much energy I saw being wasted.   I simply can not run a washing machine here with 1 or 2 towels in it.  And don’t even think about running the dryer!    And don’t even get me started on the heat.  I thought I missed that but you I don’t really think that I do.  My skin, nose and sinuses were so DRY!  It might be 60 degrees in my kitchen here but my head and body feel a lot better. 


So are you planning to move back there?   Not anytime soon.  We simply could not afford to do that.  We could not afford healthcare or insurance.  We could not afford the cable/Internet/telephone bills.  We could not afford the rent to live anywhere that our friends would feel comfortable visiting us.  And we would really have to lower our standards about the food that we eat.  Doesn’t look attractive at all. 


But it was a wonderful trip.  We got to see almost everyone we wanted to see.  We drove a lot, ate a lot and had a great time with everyone.  Thanks again to everyone who stopped what they were doing to visit with us, let us stay in their house and disrupt their lives.


snow trip VA, MD, NJ 049


Voltaco’s, my cousins’ sub shop in Ocean City, NJ.



  1. Michael

    Hi Martha,

    Well – I’m glad you commented on the ridiculous average size of U.S. homes. Had I said something to you while you were living in Vienna, I would have probably been dismissed as just a crank! It really takes the perspective of living elsewhere to see that clearly…

    Obviously you did not have the best of weather for a visit here…but choosing to travel in February was your mistake…I’ve lived all over the U.S. and world and I surely remember plenty of nasty cold days in Mississippi in February!

    As for health care…gosh, we need more expats like you to SHOUT to those damn U.S. conservatives about how much everyone would be better off with a national health care system like Italy’s or France’s or Germany’s. Instead, they keep lying to everyone and telling how the evil Obama is leading us down the road to socialism…when in fact, his modest health care reform is not nearly enough! Wow I’ve said too much…


  2. So you are pleased to be home then, welcome back.

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