Back in the Big USA

I've been back in the US for four days now. There probably isn't that much I can say that hasn't been said before but I will say it anyway.

The trip was a bit longer than expected. Because of the bad weather last week, we were late getting out of Zurich and I didn't land in New York until 5:30. I still thought I had a fighting chance to get home at a reasonable hour until I saw the two passport control agents responsible for all the American citizens coming in. It took an hour to get through the line and the whole time I had two very big women wrapped in saris who were determined to remain physically attached to me the whole way through. Unfortunately for them, they didn't have US passports or green cards so had to head to the other line and wait again. It seemed that half the people in my line didn't have passports or green cards but that didn't stop them from slowing up the whole line discussing their wrong-line status with the passport agents.

Around 10:30 I arrived at my parents, just as my sister and her boyfriend were pulling up. They had a long trip too - 6 boring hours by car from upstate Maine. The weekend was nice, if low key. I was absolutely culture shocked by the Shaw's grocery store we stopped at for flowers for my grandmother's birthday. Everyone was in their big sweat pants. The shopping carts were giant. The people were huge. I had this strange Gary Larson flashback when looking around at the people swaying up and down the aisles. The store was as big as an airplane hanger. The apples all could have been the poisoned Snow White apple. They were so perfect and big and shiny. I needed a map to find the pharmacy aisle. I felt the strange urge to grab my father's hand so I wouldn't get lost in the store. Big. Big. Big. Everything is big here!

My sis and her boyfriend left yesterday as did my father for a business trip so it was just me, Mom and the three cats. We saw Music and Lyrics yesterday. Cute chick flick. I was very pleased that no one looked at me like I was a Martian when I asked for butter on my popcorn. Which was big. Very big. So was the soda.

Today I went to exchange my laptop in Hartford. There isn't much to say about Hartford. Wile I was there, walking into an office I never see, talking to people I will never work with, I couldn't help but reflect on all the places my life has been and what it could be instead. Instead, I could have gone to school in CT, married a CT man, had CT babies and lived in a CT house with my CT dog. Instead, I could be making that commute to Hartford everyday like the people I saw walking around heading to their offices. Just another day at work in Hartford. Maybe a business trip here or there once in awhile. Not every week. Not all over the world. I didn't know whether to feel sad for them or sad for me. It seems so nice from the outside looking in. They live a normal I don't remember and am not sure I will ever know again.

Posted from Connecticut


vailian said...

Ahh come on, Hartford is a pretty place, some of the nicest Victorian buildings in America, I think (I was onlythere once for one day, have to admit)! But I can really identify with the shopping experience. Seems like so many wasted resources on display.
Enjoy being foreign. If I hadn't insulted a girl in San Diego who was taking German in high school, I would probably still be in North Dakota...

CanadianSwiss said...

Oh, yeah. The culture shock of coming home. Isn't it strange?

Jul said...

Nah, it's better on this side.

I think reverse culture shock is fun (in small doses), but I annoy the crap out of my family by pointing out things that are normal to them (Look how big this container of ice cream is! It's the size of your head! It wouldn't even fit in my freezer at home!).

Anonymous said...

It is amazing that there are two sides to every coin. Leaving the USA to live a more simpler life was very appealing. Coming back it must seem the opposite to some degree. My point is not to feel sorry for either. You are moving in a chosen direction you can alter any time you like. Be happy you took the road less taken. Be happy that people are living the CT life. Be happy you are living the EU life. There is something to be said about any path chosen in life. So dont look at what you are missing, look at what is right in front of you now.