Brands, Labels and Expanding the Circle

For however many products that you recognize, either by name or by logo (some brands, like Axe body wash – branded as Lynx in the UK – and Lays potato chips – branded as Walker’s – are the same thing, just with a different name on the front), there are three times that amount that you don’t. I’m lucky in the fact that it is all, at least, (mostly) written in a language I can read. Going from knowing almost instinctively what was a good quality or good value brand for the cost, to not having the vaguest idea… is a little awkward. I feel very special standing the household goods isle and comparing brands of toilet paper, trying to gauge if the brand that is purchased by my Fiancé’s mother is really worth double the cost of another brand… simply because it’s a 3-ply, with daisy flower printed on one side and supposedly laced with camomile. With food intolerances (celiac, or gluten intolerance, for example), even the brands that I’ve known and trusted back in the States as being “safe” must now be reviewed with scrutiny once again. Learning to read the different layout of nutritional information is also a challenge – what is the significance of a kCal? (it’s just a fancy way of showing calories; 1 Kcal = 1 calorie) and rather than embarrass myself, I had to go hunting ahead of time for an information site to explain it to me (http://www.nutritionandwellbeing.co.uk/labelwise/nutrition-labelling/ and http://www.nutritionandwellbeing.co.uk/labelwise/nutrition-labelling/labelwise-gda-labelling/). They say that location is key, and if that’s so, I think I lucked out… or I hope so, I’ll find out soon enough; there’s a Community Centre not far from here and I think I’ll just have to stop by and see what’s going on – getting out and interacting with people who AREN’T family is going to be a huge help to me. Without outside interaction, I will have nothing to measure or compare what I experience with in relation to what is UK-normal and what is just family-normal. Culture, as I have said before, is important. Sub-cultures more-so; and I already know that some of my own sub-culture does not jive with the family-normal, so I need to determine what is socially normal on a lager scale. Well, that, and prove my future sister-in-law wrong by finding people with similar interests to my own instead of having to rebrand myself just to relate… Okay, I’m bitter about that, I admit it – it annoyed me – it makes absolutely zero sense to do something like that when, by doing so, the person they would end up getting to know wouldn’t actually be ME. So I need to blow that theory right out of the water. Hopefully the Community Centre will have enough free-stuff going on that I can do without breaking the rules on my VISA (no work, no volunteering) or breaking the bank.

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