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    So - what's life like where you come from?

    It never ceases to amaze me how geography changes our lives. What we take for granted in my part of the UK (Wales) can be quite different in another part - and totally different in Europe or North America. This makes it very easy to misunderstand where the other person is coming from. It's not about right or wrong on this thread, I'd just like to give everyone a chance to get to know each other.

    So I'll start off.... where I come from our prescriptions for medication are all free (not the same in England though unless you're on certain benefits - I think). And all treatment is free at point of use, including transplants and major surgery.

    School is completely free (unless you choose to go private and pay ) up until 18.

    So, how about your part of the world? What's it like?
    www.thewolfenhowlepress.com


    Phantom Turnips never die.... they just get stewed occasionally....

    #2
    Re: So - what's life like where you come from?

    In my part of the world it's acceptable to have male friends.
    Satan is my spirit animal

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      #3
      Re: So - what's life like where you come from?

      Public school here is free but it really isn't. It's paid for through property taxes, so everybody pays, even those with no kids or those who send their kids to private school. It's my understanding that countries with "free" health care have high tax rates which actually pay for it, same concept.
      Some states within the US are like different worlds, and have a lot of stereotypes about each other. I find people here in the midwest to be friendlier and more open than on the coasts, but they don't call it "the Bible belt" for nothing!
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      Can you hear me, Major Tom? I think I love you.

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        #4
        www.thewolfenhowlepress.com


        Phantom Turnips never die.... they just get stewed occasionally....

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          #5
          Re: So - what's life like where you come from?

          Income tax in the US is variable based on earning and location. Mainly each gov.'t with any say in your area has their own tax. I generally make little so I don't pay much to the Feds and I pay very little to my state. The town whose borders I'm in doesn't do income tax so that's not my issue. Actually very little of what I do is taxed at a town level though my parents and local business owners do have various taxes to worry about. Only thing I really worry about is parking meters and you can dodge them if you time things right and don't mind walking.

          Outside tax, there are very few characteristics of my state that particularly interest me and all of them are far too identifiable for me to comment on. Mostly the area I'm in is small, quiet most of the year and only remotely interesting if you're a tourist at which point the locals are evenly split between thanking you for your money and wanting to shoot you for generally making a couple months of our year hell.
          Life itself was a lightsaber in his hands; even in the face of treachery and death and hopes gone cold, he burned like a candle in the darkness. Like a star shining in the black eternity of space.

          Yoda: Dark Rendezvous

          "But those men who know anything at all about the Light also know that there is a fierceness to its power, like the bare sword of the law, or the white burning of the sun." Suddenly his voice sounded to Will very strong, and very Welsh. "At the very heart, that is. Other things, like humanity, and mercy, and charity, that most good men hold more precious than all else, they do not come first for the Light. Oh, sometimes they are there; often, indeed. But in the very long run the concern of you people is with the absolute good, ahead of all else..."

          John Rowlands, The Grey King by Susan Cooper

          "You come from the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve", said Aslan. "And that is both honour enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth; be content."

          Aslan, Prince Caspian by CS Lewis


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            #6
            Re: So - what's life like where you come from?

            Property taxes vary greatly from state to state, and even from county to county. The same type of house/size lot in one part of the country may be $500. a year, and $10,000. a year somewhere else. Car insurance also varies a lot between states. Utilities seem to be basically the same. So of course in some areas people earn more, but it all ends up the same due to expenses.
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            Can you hear me, Major Tom? I think I love you.

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              #7
              Re: So - what's life like where you come from?

              Originally posted by Hawkfeathers View Post
              Public school here is free but it really isn't. It's paid for through property taxes, so everybody pays, even those with no kids or those who send their kids to private school. It's my understanding that countries with "free" health care have high tax rates which actually pay for it, same concept.
              Yeah exactly. Though actually Canada has lower taxes and in BC health care is entirely tax funded, whereas here in Germany it's this really weird system where you have publicly funded "Krankenkasses" which you also pay for (up the nose as well....my discounted student rate is between 65-78 Euros a month, depending on the time of year...if I were working it would be 15% of my income split between me and my employer) and we have higher taxes than Canada (I'm kind of bitter about this).

              Anyway, this is going to be a long post, because "where I come from" is kind of a weird question for me. If people ask, I say Canada...I have a North American accent and it's where I grew up, and in Germany people ALWAYS associate where you came from with where you grew up, even if you have German citizenship. BUT, I have spent almost my entire adult life in Berlin, so I feel I should talk about Berlin as well.

              Anyway, I grew up on Vancouver Island, in British Columbia, Canada. Culturally, it's kind of split between being super liberal and often hippie-ish, and being fairly traditional and conservative (there are big Baptist, Catholic and Mormon congregations in many towns on the island). The thing is though, that while both parties will tend to put the other down, they have relative tolerance for each other compared to what I see happening in the US. I think it's just that there are so many cultures on the West Coast that you're just aware that not everyone is the same as you, and you might not like it but you just kind of have to deal with it.
              Canada has universal health care funded by taxes (as I said above), and education is the same. People can send their kids to private school, but I don't think it's nearly as common as in Europe (where if you have a reasonable amount of money you just do it)....Canada's public education system is one of the best in the world. There are a lot of public universities in Canada, which are partially funded by the state, but since they're mostly provincially funded the degree to which they are funded depends on the province. When I was in university, BC was one of the cheapest provinces as far as tuition went, but I dont' think that's the case anymore.
              BC is politically a bit weird. It's like the opposite of the US...there's no "true" right wing....the Liberals are sort of a "liberal-conservative" mix (in Canadian politics terms) and are more centrist. People call them the "right" all the time and associate them with being super right wing, especially people who vote NDP (left) or Green (left). The Liberal party runs the province right now, but due to a controversy over HST (which is largely caused by widespread ignorance and misunderstanding...HST is a GREAT idea and don't even get me started on how much this whole deal bugs me), plus just a long history of taking unpopular but often necessary actions, I'm not sure if they'll be re-elected.
              Vancouver and Victoria are fairly wealthy cities, and compared to Berlin being there feels like walking on streets paved with gold. That being said, there's a huge homeless population, largely due to the fact that they're the only cities in the entire country that aren't totally freezing in the winter and people just sort of migrate there so they don't die.
              Speaking of weather, like I said the winter is a lot more like the UK...rainy and only occasional snow, which is something I've never gotten used to in Berlin, and nothing bugs me like a -18 day and someone saying "but aren't you Canadian?" Especially if that person is American, because come on, look at a map. We're RIGHT next to Seattle. Do you think it just magically becomes tundra when you drive a couple of hours north and cross the border??

              OK, so, Berlin. Berlin is kind of different than the rest of Germany. Going to somewhere like Munich is almost like going to a different country. It's significantly more liberal than the Southern cities. German culture overall is very conservative though, and I still see threads of that here. Though for a conservative culture Germany isn't big on censorship of nudity for some reason, which I kind of think is great. They censor violence more and nudity and sexuality less.
              In Germany they're trying to make steps to make health care universal in that every person has it (it's illegal not to have insurance) but there's no universal state funded health care. I call it public health care for ease, but it's not true public health care because the Krankenkasses are also separate companies. It's a weird dual system...you can either get private insurance (you have to make over 40,000 Euro a year for that most of the time, though there are companies which offer special rates, though much less coverage), or you get public insurance from your choice of krankenkasses (Germans like the choice but they're all the same and all it does is make it more expensive than if it were centrally organized...smooth Germany). I think it's kind of expensive, and the care isn't better than Canada for something I pay so much for. I've heard from people with private that it's way better than Canada, which just pisses me off, because for a country that likes to criticize the American health system so much, they sure have a big divide and a "first class" and "second class" health system. That being said the Green party supports having a truly public system and they're getting very popular these days.
              I'm not really sure exactly how schooling works in this country, because I didn't go to school here. They finish school later here...seriously...if you do your Abitur, which is your final exams to get into uni, you finish at like 19-20. Public school finishes really early, like at lunch time, which is often cited as a barrier for women in the workplace (especially since there are limited daycare spaces). Still, the government wants to push all-day schooling and have more daycare spaces available, so things are moving forward! A lot of people send their kids to bilingual or international school if they have the money, because it's really important to them that their children are totally fluent in English. Also, it's easier for working parents because those schools are all-day schools and often have after school programs like music lessons included.
              Berlin has really high unemployment, but it's getting slowly better. It's a "cool" city but a little shabby chic. it's really easy to see the scars left over by the war and the Berlin Wall here. There are a lot of artists and other creative people living here because it's one of the cheaper cities in Western Europe. It's also becoming a hub for internet start ups for the same reason.
              Anyway I could say a lot more about Berlin, and I probably will later, but this was already super long and I haven't had my coffee yet!

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                #8
                Re: So - what's life like where you come from?

                I'm from Illinois, pronounced Ill-eh-noy..the 's' is silent and there is no noise in Illinois. No, not Chicago. Chicago is the armpit of Illinois. I'm NOT A FLAT-LANDER (as the hubby calls it), I am from the pretty part of the state and flatlanders live in Kansas (waits for someone to take up the cause for their home state, but I've driven thru it, and I don't think you can!!). Technically I'm from the St. Louis metro area, but I normally just say I'm from Southern Illinois (even though *true* Southern Illinois is down by the Shawnee National Forest), because I'm not from Missouri (locally pronounced Misery or Mizz-ur-uh, depending on what part of that state you are from). The middle I-state (right between Indiania and Iowa) is mostly suburban or rural, with a couple of college towns, a few bigger cities and one giant metropolis. Don't get me wrong, there are some neat things to do in the Windy City, but its really only a place to visit for people from downstate (awesome aquarium and the field museum rocks).

                The best way to piss people off where I am from is to walk into a bar and yell (in the middle of the appropriate season) "What about those Cubs/Bears?" ...the first will get you punched, the second will get you laughed at. Like I said, the rest of IL doesn't like Chicago. Not that the Cardinals or Rams are much better lately...but at least we've won a something more recently. When I was growing up, religion in my area was pretty liberal and NOYB, but I've noticed it being a heck of alot more public. Even so, St Louis has a huge 2 day, free Pagan Picnic and there are several paganish shops on both sides of The River (the big M, the mighty Mississippi, the Wicked River--I want to read that).

                Politically, IL is generally a blue state. My area has had the same congressional representative for as long as I can remember, and he's a fairly moderate Democrat...people vote for him every two years because he's actually a nice guy that does his best to represent his constituents. Local politics vary though, and where I am from, are sort of moderate with hold-outs on either side. I had a stellar education in the public school system as a kid...but from what I have *heard* that is declining a bit, depending on the district.
                Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of HistoryPagan Devotionals, because the wind and the rain is our Bible
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                  #9
                  Re: So - what's life like where you come from?

                  I am a transplant to Western Pennsylvania, which is very different from my hometown 400 miles across the state in southeastern Pennsylvania (very busy, upper-middle class neighborhoods near Philadelphia and New York City). There's a lot of rural poverty and less education here. People aren't any more or less bigoted, IMO, but a good number wave their bigotry proudly like a flag here (often literally with southern rebel flags- we aren't even below the Mason-Dixon line!).

                  Life is more slow-paced and people are more apt to wave when you drive by or chat with strangers while standing in line at the grocery store. Somebody is always curious to know your business and gossip travels fast. There's not a lot of curiosity about the rest of the world and I've met many people who have never left this area.

                  *cough* Erm, it's possible that I have a teensy bit of bias since I've never liked living here, but most people I've met are kind and decent folks. I just can't relate to their contentment in living small lives in small towns from cradle to grave.
                  "Gardens are not made by singing "Oh, how beautiful," and sitting in the shade." - Rudyard Kipling

                  Mathbatu: A Canaanite Polytheist's Blog
                  Sparrow Wings: A Personal Blog

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                    #10
                    Re: So - what's life like where you come from?

                    Thal - what is a blue state?
                    www.thewolfenhowlepress.com


                    Phantom Turnips never die.... they just get stewed occasionally....

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                      #11
                      Re: So - what's life like where you come from?

                      Here in S.E. Idaho it's very conservative. As of the 2000 Census, 95% Caucasian and about 95% LDS. 44% of the population are below the poverty line. Known as the "Reddest place in America" no Republican presidential candidate has failed to carry the county with less then 59% of the vote since 1980. Most recently made national news due to a busload of grade-school children chanting "Assassinate Obama" following the 2009 election.

                      The scenery on the other hand is breathtaking. We're about two hours from Yellowstone National Park, and surrounded by the Teton mountain range. Almost always windy. It's cold in the winter (dips down to around -10F sometimes) but cool and pleasant in the summer. Also greener then I was used to as a child, since Utah is much more desert with little running water. The local fields are filled with potatoes and wheat, the latter is beautiful to watch as the wind blows across it...I've never almost been brought to tears by scenery before.

                      Originally posted by Tylluan Penry View Post
                      Thal - what is a blue state?
                      A blue state means primarily Democrat-voting. Red means Republican.
                      Great Grandmother's Kitchen

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                        #12
                        Re: So - what's life like where you come from?

                        Originally posted by DeseretRose View Post
                        A blue state means primarily Democrat-voting. Red means Republican.
                        Ah. that's the opposite of the UK where the Conservative party (which i think is sort of the equivalent of the Republicans) is blue, while the socialist Labour party is red. That's really interesting quite the opposite of what I expected!
                        www.thewolfenhowlepress.com


                        Phantom Turnips never die.... they just get stewed occasionally....

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                          #13
                          Re: So - what's life like where you come from?

                          In political terms, a blue state votes Democrat & tends to be more liberal. A red state, Republican, conservative.

                          ---------- Post added at 01:55 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:54 PM ----------

                          Originally posted by MaskedOne View Post
                          Outside tax, there are very few characteristics of my state that particularly interest me and all of them are far too identifiable for me to comment on.
                          So, are you really George Clooney in hiding, or something? LOL
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                          Can you hear me, Major Tom? I think I love you.

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                            #14
                            Re: So - what's life like where you come from?

                            Nope, just prefer not to have people that I haven't met face to face being able to narrow my location within several hundred miles. That includes the entire population of the site. Similar principles govern why I don't post a picture of myself or actually name any of the locations I've worked or gone to school. I'm fond of my mild amounts of paranoia.
                            Life itself was a lightsaber in his hands; even in the face of treachery and death and hopes gone cold, he burned like a candle in the darkness. Like a star shining in the black eternity of space.

                            Yoda: Dark Rendezvous

                            "But those men who know anything at all about the Light also know that there is a fierceness to its power, like the bare sword of the law, or the white burning of the sun." Suddenly his voice sounded to Will very strong, and very Welsh. "At the very heart, that is. Other things, like humanity, and mercy, and charity, that most good men hold more precious than all else, they do not come first for the Light. Oh, sometimes they are there; often, indeed. But in the very long run the concern of you people is with the absolute good, ahead of all else..."

                            John Rowlands, The Grey King by Susan Cooper

                            "You come from the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve", said Aslan. "And that is both honour enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth; be content."

                            Aslan, Prince Caspian by CS Lewis


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                              #15
                              Re: So - what's life like where you come from?

                              Originally posted by MaskedOne View Post
                              Nope, just prefer not to have people that I haven't met face to face being able to narrow my location within several hundred miles. That includes the entire population of the site. Similar principles govern why I don't post a picture of myself or actually name any of the locations I've worked or gone to school. I'm fond of my mild amounts of paranoia.
                              I was gently poking fun because I know someone who feels exactly the same way. I used to, as well. In fact there are a few message boards I used to belong to, where people think I live somewhere other than where I really do, some think I'm married, some think I'm single - it all got very tiring as by nature I'm an "open book" sort of person. Anyway, no big deal!
                              sigpic
                              Can you hear me, Major Tom? I think I love you.

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