Thursday, March 21, 2013

The differences in 4 years.



We have visited the states a lot during our last (almost) 4 years living in Haiti, but this time is different.  We have our own place and are living here for a few months rather than visiting here.  Our apartment is super cozy.  I am LOVING going grocery shopping, doing laundry, making meals, and washing my own dishes.    All of these things here are so much easier here than there.  And my kids are loving chores here vs. chores there, too.  I know this honeymoon phase will likely be short-lived, but we're enjoying it for now,  despite daily feelings of sadness as we miss the Haiti kids.

We're noticing many things that have changed in the 4 years we've been gone from the states.  And I notice them from time to time as we're here.  Here's a couple of changes we've noticed...  I will probably update the list from time to time.

1.  Yogurt.  Okay, this probably sounds so stupid, but yogurt is totally different than when we used to live here.  The whole Greek yogurt thing (which I love) is huge.  And frozen yogurt shops are more prevalent than ice cream shops.  When did THAT happen?  (Clearly in the last 4 years... well, and like in 1988 when TCBY was the shiz.)  As a matter of fact, you can even buy Greek frozen yogurt, so I feel like we missed TWO steps.

2. Texting.  Nobody talks to anyone on the phone anymore-- does anyone else notice this?  Everyone texts.  Like even to people you love.  I don't understand it-- pretty much everyone has unlimited cell phone plans these days (also new in the past 4 years), but instead of calling, they text.  That's bizarre to me.  Why wouldn't you want to talk to the people you love?

3.  EVERYTHING can be done (and IS done) online now.  When we got our apartment here we didn't have to talk to anyone to get approval.  We had to submit our application online.   We got an email telling us we were approved.  We paid our rent online.  We had to get our power turned on by submitting a form online.  We got renter's insurance online.  We got our internet, you guessed it-- online.  (Which is stupid, because seriously, if you don't have internet service, how come you have to go ONLINE to get that?)  When we bought a car, we got our car insurance online.  Like never talked to anyone.  What the heck?

4.  Everyone takes debit/credit cards these days.  And nobody accepts checks anymore.  Since all payments seem to be handled online anyway there really isn't a reason to have a checkbook.  Unless you want to to to the Goodwill.  They are the only holdout that I've seen lately that doesn't take a card and still takes checks.

It seems like the trend is to figure out all of the ways where you don't have to actually be in a relationship with actual people.  Perhaps it's a cultural thing because for the past several years we have lived in a really communal culture, but I don't like the degree to which the quest for individualism means exclusion of community.  (Except the frozen yogurt thing, which I happen to think is just an outlier. :) To quote Bob Dylan-- the times they are a changin'...