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[阅读] 一位美国人的节俭心得

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匿名  发表于 2011-8-24 20:32:07 |阅读模式
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美国人都知道一句古老的谚语:“俭以防匮”。意思是说,如对使用自己的东西精打细算,就什么也不会缺。
Americans all know the old proverb, “Waste not, want not.” This means if you use what you have carefully, you will never lack anything.
但根据1995年的一项研究,美国的饭店和消费者那一年就扔掉了410多亿公斤变质或未吃的食物。移民美国的人大多对此感到震惊,但往往不久后就学会了美国人的习惯。浪费似乎是我们富裕生活文化的一个组成部分,尽管这种行为总是遭到阻止的。例如,父母常告诫孩子们说,“饭吃完了才能离开饭桌”,并叮嘱孩子们关掉不用的灯和电器,(房间开冷气或暖气时)不要让门开着,尽可能节约用水等。
But according to a study done in 1995, American restaurants and consumers threw out more than 41 billion kilograms of food that had spoiled or gone uneaten that year. Most immigrants to the States are shocked, but often learn American habits themselves after a while. It seems to be a part of our culture of plenty, even though wastefulness is always discouraged. For example, parents tell their children “you can`t leave the table until you finish your food,” and they nag them to turn off unused lights and appliances, not to leave the doors open (because the house is being cooled or heated), and to save water when possible.
当我刚开始工作、独立生活的时候,终于意识到父母唠唠叨叨的重要性。每个月,我都会收到水电费、取暖费的账单,因此我很快学会了需要多少就用多少。我不得不自己买菜做饭,并确定花钱买的东西都要吃光。汽油好像每月都涨价,于是要去不远的地方我就走路或骑单车,而不再开车了。在我工作的三年时间里,我很为自己的节俭和精心打算而得意。在决定移居亚洲时,我已存了相当可观的一笔钱。
While at my first job and living by myself I finally recognized the value of all my dad and mom`s complaining. Every month I got a bill for electricity, heat, and water, so I quickly learned to use only what I needed. I had to buy and prepare food myself, and I made sure to eat everything I paid for. Gasoline seemed to get more expensive each month, so I walked or biked to nearby locations instead of driving. During my three years working, I prided myself in my thrift and planning. By the time I decided to move to Asia, I had saved a respectable amount of money.
刚到中国时,我对东西如此便宜感到非常吃惊。衣服、书籍、食品及旅行费用都只有美国的一半或更少。在美国,到小餐馆吃顿饭通常要花5美元左右,而在中国只需花90美分的样子就能吃得很好了。我终于可以花钱购买所有以前因精打细算而没买的东西了,对吧?
And when I first got to China, I was amazed how cheap everything was. Clothes, books, food, and travel were all half or less than what they cost in the U.S. In the States, lunch at a small restaurant usually costs around five dollars, but in China you can eat well for 90¢ or so. I could finally spend money on all the things I`d scrimped on, right?
并非如此。很快我的中国朋友就让我对自己大手大脚的行为感到丢人了。例如,一份做西餐的进口原料通常要20元,比一顿中餐还贵。在万圣节前夕,我花120元做了一套功夫服;为一个英语班的剧本演出,我花300元钱租了道具和服装,而所有这些东西实际上是不能重复使用的。很近的路,我都要打的;我会扔掉很多没有吃过的食物;什么东西一有损坏,可能就被我扔到车库里去了。我的朋友对此难以置信。
Not exactly. My Chinese friends soon made me feel embarrassed about my spending and waste. For instance, the imported ingredients for western food are usually over 20 yuan apiece, more than a Chinese meal. At Halloween, I had a 120 yuan kung fu costume made, and for an English class play, I spent around 300 yuan on props6 and costume rentals, all things that couldn`t really be used again. I`d take a taxi for short distances. I would throw out a lot of unused food. If something broke, I`d probably put it in the garbage. My friends couldn`t believe it.
现在,我变得越来越中国化。以前我通常会扔掉肉和蔬菜的那些部分,现在我都吃了,并始终将剩菜打包;购买大小物件,我会仔细掂量;有些东西虽然比在美国便宜,但派不上用场,我也不会买。一些我不用的东西就送给需要它的人,或自己收好。我步行或骑车的路程比以前更远了,对自己的旅程也会好好计划。但“我的中国化”也有一些例外。当然我不可能放弃做西餐,也会时不时光顾“麦当劳”。不过总体来说,我变得越来越像我的中国朋友了。
These days, I am more Chinese. I eat parts of meat and vegetables I normally would have thrown out, and I always take home any leftover food. I spend a long time considering big and small purchases, and don`t buy unneeded things just because they`re cheaper than in the States. If I can`t use something, I give it to someone who can, or fix it myself. I walk and bike much farther than I would have before, and plan my trips carefully. But there are a few exceptions to my “being Chinese.” Naturally, I can`t give up making western dishes and an occasional visit to McDonald`s. But for the most part, I`m becoming more like my Chinese friends.
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