Tuesday, July 14, 2015

One Week in America

I can't believe we've been back for only one week. Thailand already seems so far away and a distant memory, and our life there feels like a dream. It's been a disorienting, confusing, and overwhelming week, trying to understand again how life works here and re-establishing our lives again. Everything has stayed the same, but we haven't. Life here is almost as foreign to us now as life in Thailand once was...

- Even when it's 90 degrees outside, it still feels cool enough to me to put on pants and a long-sleeved shirt.
- When paying for the bill after a meal, my husband forgets and wonders out loud if we need to tip, as if not tipping were an option.
- Everything now seems negotiable, regardless of what we're shopping for.
- Getting use to having and operating voice mail again.
- We miss seeing Asian faces around, even though we are already in a town with a good-sized Asian population, so we go to the local Asian market just to feel at home.
- Our son has been mispronouncing words the way he's heard them pronounced the past two years: "kitchen" is now "kitshen" and "chips" is "ships."
- Forgetting about and getting used to the tedious process of credit and background checks just to rent a place, instead of being able to just show up and sign a lease on the spot.
- Paying for everything with cash.
- Forgetting that we no longer have free access to virtually any book, movie, or music we will ever want.
- It feels too formal and impersonal when people address me by my last name.
- Being unused to hearing European foreign languages instead of Asian ones.
- American food is no longer appetizing, feels overly processed and "fake," and doesn't taste good.
- Feeling closed off from the outside world because the doors and windows of all the houses are always closed, we have to drive to get anywhere and can't just walk or use a scooter, and don't hang our clothes outside to dry.
- Forgetting that we can't just buy minutes at the 7-Eleven to use our cell phones.
- Looking at 7-Eleven stores with fondness instead of indifference.
- Forgetting that many places you need to go to are closed on the weekends.
- Not blinking an eye when my kid runs off out of my line of sight at a public place full of people.
- Everything feels too clean, quiet, and sterile.
- Getting used to seeing so much green in all the trees and grass again.

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