Two months of silence! Go me!
Life’s been crazy, like really crazy, but that’s not really an excuse. The blog’s priority rating just dropped for awhile. Life looks a little different right now, though, so I thought I’d update.
I’m in the US! I’m on furlough right now and at the moment I’m at the OM USA base debriefing a bit. I arrived on Tuesday after a long night of traveling. I’ll be in the US for about 2.5 months and then head back to Chile for another two years. I was so busy right up until the moment that I left for the plane that I didn’t really have time to mentally prepare myself for this transition, so there have been really small things that have been making a big impact on me. Some firsts from the past couple days:
~Declaring I live in Chile and am visiting the US, weird
~hearing English everywhere
~using American money again
~eating at Chik-Fil-A, everyone being polite, saying “ma’am” and in the strong Georgia accent
~driving! I drove once or twice in Santiago, but being back on US highways where my eye innately found the information without having to consciously look for it was nice.
~going to Target: I actually had a strong reaction when I walked into Target. It’s not like I’ve been in a rural area for two years; Santiago is huge and has giant stores, but for some reason walking into Target with all its variety, hearing English everywhere, seeing American fashion, it was pretty overwhelming after traveling all night long and coming thru customs. My stomach clenched as I walked in the store and it stayed a little tight the whole time I was in there.
~forgetting how flippin’ huge a medium-size drink can be here. portion size, my goodness!!
~walking around without keys, cellphone, BIP card (public transit card) or pesos
~ I saw a cardinal, a squirrel and a deer today and I realized I hadn’t seen them in two years
~cottage cheese, collard greens and bacon the way I’m used to
~seeing the big blue USPS mailbox.
~not knowing how to greet people anymore. handshake? half-hug? semi-wave? cheek-kiss the Chilean way? who knows…
~not hearing Spanish. not speaking Spanish. having to find all English vocabulary to explain something that’s entirely Spanish-connected in my brain.
Most of these things are really small details, but I think it’s because they’re the small stuff that they’re impacting me so much, because I just haven’t even thought about them for two years. I mean, cottage cheese? I don’t even really like cottage cheese and yet I had a little moment as I ate some today. I realize that there are a lot more bumps and shocks to come (since I’ve only been stateside for two days now), but I wanted to document these now. Thanks for letting me share.