Anna's Journey

American bubbles

In Sanlucar la Mayor on October 2, 2010 at 6:51 pm

Imagine that your job is to design a mini American society for 12,000 Americans living abroad. What would it be like? Would there be a Taco Bell or a steak house on the corner? A movie theater or a bowling alley? This idea may seem like fantasy, but after our flight was canceled due to a general strike in Spain, we found ourselves staying in a navy support base near Naples.

Located near a tiny town in Italy, the base is a self-sufficient lesson in the American idea of a utopian community. The shops only accept U.S. dollars and everyone speaks English, including the Italians who work there. Smoking is prohibited except in tiny glass boxes near the shopping mall. The mall has a food court with a Subway, A & W (I thought they only served root beer!), Taco Bell, and KFC. The grocery store carries Kelloggs’ cereals, Jiff and Skippy peanut butter, and Budweiser. I even saw Newman-O’s cookies and Heart to Heart cereal, my personal favorites. The high school has a football team called the Wild Cats and the cinema plays Hollywood movies where you stand and listen to the Star Spangled Banner before every show. If you don’t feel like a movie, then the local bowling alley is always open for a quick game.

It amazes me that these American transplants exist across Europe. When I left home on this journey, I never expected that I would be chewing a peanut butter sandwich and watching Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps within a few weeks of arriving in Europe. If I ever begin to crave peanut butter and Hollywood again, I can teach English at the base near Sevilla. But for now I am happy to be back in Sanlucar la Mayor – our new Spanish town – surrounded once again by tapas and espresso bars, olive trees and a new and different culture from my hometown back in the USA.



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