December 10, 2010

I'd Like That in a Giant American, Please

I realized on my way home today that I'm finally starting to get used to the sizes here. It's a stereotype, but it really is true that everything here is just plain smaller. Or maybe, living here, I should put it the other way: small is normal.

My apartment, which in its entirety is half the size of my bedroom back home or possibly the same as a rich person's closet, is called a "mansion."

I refuse to take a picture of the trash heap it is now, so let's refer back to this picture!

Yes, that still really is the whole thing. The only thing that's bigger now is the TV.

Not just the housing -- at 5'3", I'm used to being short, but here I'm at worst normal-sized. At one of my schools, I tower over my supervisor like a Yeti. The baachan (grandmas) who pass me in the street frequently come no higher than my waist. I feel like a mediocre Gulliver.

And it's everywhere: the cars are small, the food is small (although thank God for that, with how much fried gunk there is here), etc. My kids' voice boxes are small -- some of the girls sound like whistles when they talk. My kitchen is small enough that cooking a whole chicken is an impossible feat, or would be if I could find one.

At first, despite all my experience here, I was kind of startled by the size of everything. And I was horrified by the apartment with its tiny kitchen, tiny fridge, tiny bathroom, the couch so small it has no legs. I've been talking about moving for months. But now it's growing on me, like a fungus, or Stockholm syndrome.

Now, when I walk home, I think how huge the houses along the way are, even though they're certainly not any bigger than the houses back home. Smaller by far than the house I lived in before I came here. Admittedly, that one could comfortably house five people, but so do some of these.

At this rate, when I go home, I'm going to feel like an ant. My room at home will feel like two apartments worth of space. Normal houses will look like castles and palaces. My old co-ed fraternity house, which we called The Barn, will look like a full-on working farm. And the ex-boyfriend-I-regret-dumping's mansion* will look like...

...Well, not a mansion, obviously. Because that's where I live.

Of course, if I feel like a giant, I can't imagine how people who are actually normal-sized feel. Do you think there's height-ism in this country? I haven't really seen any yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's there, lurking under the radar, beneath the xenophobia and sort of general cultural blindness.*** It would certainly be a refreshing change of pace.

I might even join in, if only because I think it would be fun to say: "No, it's okay. Some of my best friends are tall."

*No, seriously.**
**No, seriously.
***Not that I'm saying we're any better, as a country.

1 comment:

  1. of course it's there! I mean, the kawaii phenomenon alone...