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07 June 2014

Comments

Annie T

Very well said. I felt the same way living in Europe. Everything was more expensive, so I thought more about my choices. I repaired instead of replaced, impulse took a back seat to consideration, and cooking a casserole from scratch made me rethink how many things we buy pre-made, from shredded cheese to canned soup to bread crumbs in a jar, as if crumbling your own bread was so difficult. I did feel clearer in my conscience, and prouder of my choices, and I learned to appreciate and treasure everything around me a little more, from the blessedly short distance I could walk to my workplace, to the fruit I bought from the farmer in the open market. I miss it terribly, everyday. And I wish my children could experience that instead of a playroom full of plastic toys they rarely use.

Erika

I have felt the same from time to time, and I know I have fallen into the "gotta have it" trap when it's so "inexpensive. America is instant gratification. Recently, I have tried to buy less prepackaged or precooked edible products, making my own from scratch and have received great satisfaction doing so. And then there are the nights I just want to chuck dinner in the oven and call it a night.

Tampons: now I know why my sister and I have always used the "OB" type of tampons. It's a cultural thing (both of us "becoming women" in NZ). Many a time, coworkers have come to us when they are unexpectedly without a tampon, then looked at us like we were crazy, offering them this THING, that doesn't have an applicator. I never got the whole applicator thing...

Myjamaica

The conscience thing is a big problem for me. On principal I won't shop at Walmart, I'd rather pay more elsewhere than give money to a machine that treats people all over the world as expendable including their own staff. Thea's for tampons, plastic thing was bothering me plus the impact on the environment altogether using disposable sanitary products so I switched to the Diva cup & wishing I did it sooner.
Canada is not quite as inexpensive as the States but there is still such a grotesque amount of choice & waste it makes me long for Australia. Living on a tighter budget where all purchases had to be considered made me more conscious of waste, quality & need verses want. Even with my restricted budget here I still find myself getting caught up in the consumerism that so many people take for granted here. Like you said, it is easy to accumulate a lot of stuff, but none of it is making us any happier. I miss cafes, beaches, fruit/veg markets instead of super markets, & the easier lifestyle that is focused more on connection & time spent with friends/family than it seems to be here. Here everyone seems to be either rushing to spend more money or rushing to get themselves or their children to 4-5 different activities each week. There is no time for connection & before you know it more than half a year has passed & you haven't spent any time together beyond a passing 10 where you ran into each other on the school run, or worse yet, at the shops.

Posted by: Myjamaica |

Emma

A Sydney comparison ~ I have only lived in Australia. Although I have lived in 2 states of Australia & I must admit they are quite diverse when compared to each other. I find that we consume an awful lot especially in the Emerald City (Sydney). Convenience is still at its optimal best and I often pop into my local woollies, as my local corner store has morphed into a supermarket to buy milk & come out with a trolley load of things "I need". I joke with the checkout chick that I have spent $60 instead of $3 for my 3 litre milk bottle.

I have tried to catch up with a preschool mum for 3 weeks in a row but both of us have had to cancel at the last minute as our busy lives get in the way. This is a woman I am trying to develop a relationship with and yet I have talked more by messaging than in real life. We are trying again next week.

April Hunter

America really does feel so strange and foreign after a stint away. I've been in Europe for 12 years now, and I hear you. In some ways, living here, on one steady income sort of forces me into a non mass consumerism mentality. People here either do without or hide behind mountains of debt. however, is it really who I am? Or are just circumstances dictating? If we suddenly had more money or things suddenly got cheaper what would it look like?? Or does consumerism find it's own level everywhere? My friends all dutifully hang their laundry out to dry when it will probably rain and I unashamedly use my tumble dryer through the summer.
I do not envy you navigating your way through repatriation.....
Last year I read Jen Hatmaker's 7, and I found that refreshing....more people are having this conversation, and it's reassuring.

Geochick

It's hard to dial back my consumerist leanings but I keep trying. I second the diva cup (as one example). It was weird for me (applicator tpon girl over here) to get used to but I love it! Also I don't know much about Houston except I lived there for 3 whole months after college. To me it felt like "bigger is better" was pervasive. I don't feel that as much where I live.

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