Whether you like it or not, shopping is an essential part of moving to a new country. Based on basic principles of human need, you start with food and shelter required for the most basic survival. Then, once those bases are covered – and believe me, it can take a while once you’ve realized there’s no Cathedral City cheese, you can move onto items that will generate a little more comfort in your life. Ultimately you graduate to utterly superfluous items that just make you happy. I’m there!
In my shopping quests, I’ve discovered some really nice American things that I never before knew existed! Here’s my pick of highly covetable American items I never even knew existed!
The Adirondack Chair
Shortly after arriving, I started to notice that a certain style of outdoor chair was everywhere. Not only did this chair look like it would be really comfortable, tilting you at a sort of star gazing angle and holding your arms in a very kind and supportive way, it was also aesthetically pleasing like an al fresco throne.
Then, I learned this particular chair design had a name, (after a mountain range) and a back-story, (about a bloke who wanted to design a chair for his summer home a hundred years ago in a town called Westport near New York). This is so much more glamorous than a chair – for a deck.
To make the dream complete I found a canary yellow one! The rest is garden lounging, star gazing history.
The LL Bean Monogrammed Tote
Now I had heard of LL Bean as a brand from somewhere in my reading journey, but I didn’t actually know what it was. Then suddenly, in my mailbox (and I mean a real live American mail BOX) was a catalogue and in were all kinds of magical outdoorsy items. Among such things as a so-called iconic pair of boots that looked like duck feet and rugged outdoorsy attire were these totes. These bags also had a back-story – handmade in Maine since 1944 no less, and you could get them monogrammed! Monogrammed! These bags are roomy and rugged and you can chuck pretty much anything into them from pool/beach stuff to picnics, to shopping to logs to even small children and animals! But… did I mention you can get them monogrammed?
The Corn Hole Game
Not long after arriving in Ohio, I received a message from a newly made male friend asking me if I wanted to be his partner in a “Corn hole Tourney”. After blushing and fiddling nervously with my wedding ring, I thought I’d better Google it. Phew! It’s just a game of throwing beanbags into holes on a large plank type thing. How cool! An outdoor game for which you need no particular athleticism, just an arm and your eyes!
Oh British friends and family, you wait till we bring this home – we are going to be so good at it, you may never win.
The American Girl Doll
I was born in the early 70’s. OK, pretty much as early 70’s as you can get before it was the 60’s. My iconic doll was called Sindy. She was more womanly than Barbie, had an excellent white plastic wardrobe with an S monogrammed on it and a yellow, open top car that was cooler than that of Magnum PI. Every little girl’s gotta have a bestest doll right? Anyway, who knew, in America they have this! It’s like Build a Bear Workshop crossed with Barbie crossed with The Bride of Chuckie. I confess I was slightly scared at first, but I soon got over that. American Girl dolls are blessed. They have everything a girl, American or otherwise could ever want and a thousand yard stare that I’m certain would eliminate dangerous predators. They’ve got Girl Power. And they have my daughter’s entire annual present allowance. (Hey, predators remember).
The Radio Flyer Wagon
This final item is the one I haven’t actually purchased based on the fact that my off spring no longer require me to carry much more than money with which to procure them snacks.
But imagine a sort of caravan for pedestrian parents? This is that! It’s like an easily maneuverable, high capacity wheelbarrow, which is modeled on a train carriage from the Penelope Pitstop era. And there is nothing not to love about that*!
*Vertical inclines; other pedestrians and arm ache notwithstanding.