After being away from the good ole’ USA for over a year, several things struck me when we came back for the holidays.
- Before even landing on American soil, I was surprised that the flight attendants were putting ice in the drinks. Ice! We rarely take the trouble to put ice in our drinks anymore.
- During my first trip to a grocery store I saw both strawberries and watermelon. What?! It’s December people. These fruits are not in season. I haven’t seen those fruits since probably August in Kyrgyzstan.
- When I used sugar in my coffee at my parents’ house, I was convinced that they had put Splenda or Sweet-n-low in their sugar bowl. The sugar was too fine and too sweet. My normal Kyrgyzstan amount was overwhelming. I wasn’t convinced otherwise until I saw the sugar in its original packaging.
- There is so much variety. How do I quickly choose what to order in your drive-through or standing in line at the mall when impatient customers are waiting behind me? I’m not sure I can handle the pressure! Do I even remember what I like on my burger?
- Foods that I was desperately missing while away don’t necessary taste as good as I remembered.
- Here’s a shocker: Everyone is speaking English! I can understand everyone!
I have realized that I have changed since being away and that the changes I’ve made to feel at home in Kyrgyzstan have made the USA feel a little less like home. I think I’m ok with that. It is difficult to adapt to another culture and the adaptation process has changed me in ways I did not expect. We are committed to making Kyrgyzstan home for now, so I’ll embrace my internal changes and appreciate the good things in both cultures.
And just for fun, I was introduced to this song by country singer Brad Paisley. I can relate to leaving my “southern comfort zone”. Enjoy!