Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Let there be light!

Sometimes it is easy to forget when you are a stranger in a strange land that it is the little things that are most weird. It is also those things that make you yearn for home.
I put my Christmas tree up. It is one of those snowy trees - cost a fortune and still look tacky next to real ones - but I like it.  Last year I bought some beautiful lights - Mistletoe leaves and the little white berries are the lights. They are still in the box!
Have you ever seen an American plug and plug hole? Again - for a nation so obsessed with dangerous killer germs (apple bobbers beware) they don't seem to consider the more highly likely possibility of getting electrocuted from their 3rd world standard plugs! They are two pronged affairs - there is an option for a third prong but it is rarely used. They don't appear to be fused. You have to have fit electrical surge protection as an extra to guard against frazzling your TV in thunder storms. Given the quantity and stunning quality of such storms it seems mad that they don't fuse their plugs. The holes you stick them in are just as bad. There is no switch so when you plug stuff in - if you do it at an angle you can have a mini light show from the sparks. That cant be safe! Thankfully my 5 year old son hasn't discovered this yet!
Visitors to my house LAUGH at any things I still have with a British plug attached. Yes - they are bulbous and ugly and often bigger than the device they power but they seem study and dependable. Most electrical goods from home don't work here. We got a couple of transformers to power the Wii and TV for the kids and for my desk top but they are really expensive. We sold most of our electrical things before we came - There were some real winners on eBay! (See 'Take me home...') Can you believe someone would pay £360 for a 4 year old SMEG fridge??? A positive was selling the front loading washing machine and tumbler dryer and replacing them here for monstrous top loaders. They are fantastic!
We thought lamps would work. They don't - plugged in with an adapter plug they give off a feint glow and get mega hot!. That leaves us with a dilemma - buy nice lamps that you aren't ashamed of (other than their silly little plugs) or buy any old shit because they wont export back to Britain when we go home! We opted for the cheap stuff - Hubby is tight!
So it was with great sadness that I was prompted to reflect on strange little plugs when I came to put my tree up. My pretty little mistletoe lights wont work. It isn't that bad though - they don't seem to know what mistletoe is here and the Christmas lights are very cheap. At home the occasional street has a house that is 'lit up like a Christmas tree' literally! you know - the very tacky ones that we all love but are glad they aren't living next door? Well here almost EVERY house is like that - and we aren't talking trailer trash chic! The bigger the house - the more lights and festive lit up figurines (more angels than Santas here given their tendencies). I guess my tasteful little berries would have looked as silly as their plugs!

4 comments:

  1. how could your tree ever look tacky , it is always so tastful. It really suprises ma that American elctric standard do not comply with ours .i know plugs are different but i thought they would be better but on reflection and electrics in Europe and even australia ours in England would come out top.So at least we have got something right. Do they not have mistletoe at all in America? THe trees around Worcester are apsolutley laded with it. I remember when June was here she took a photo of a tree wiht mistletoe in it so she could show people in Australia, so thats sokmething else we have got. If this was a poll we would come out top

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  2. i thinkthat it is symbiotic - doesnt actually kill its host just goes and lives off it - rather like an immigrant into a new country....

    perhaps we could all learn from the mistletoe
    tony

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  3. :) you are right Tony! I am like mistletoe! - Just takes me a time to learn!!!

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