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Friday, July 5, 2013

The USA Whirlwind

I've been back to the United States for over two weeks. Not only did I update my blog once (ONCE) in June, I also failed to mention the Great Return Via Steel Bird To Native Homeland. Nor did I adequately expand upon the Period Of Mutual Genius that transpired when Jill and I spent a month in Chile together.

Here are some excuses for my poor blogging behavior, mostly in an effort to rationalize away my personal guilt:

1. I've been busy. This is a lame excuse, but seriously, it's been a whirlwind since I got back to the States. Not only that, I've been really busy enjoying myself! Living in the moment, and all that jazz! My USA schedule is pretty packed -- I gave myself 6 weeks here, thinking that it would be "plenty of time" to do "everything I wanted to do". What I'm finding is that 3 months is a better figure. Next summer I shall aim for this time frame. In my two weeks back, I've visited my hometown, seen a variety of friends and family, visited Cedar Point twice (more on this later...), experienced a healthy amount of thunderstorms, went to a burner festival in Michigan, spent a week in Chicago, passed the 4th of July holiday amongst fireworks and revelry, shopped at Kroger, and had a doctor's appointment. Also, work.

2. My computer broke. AGAIN. It broke the day I got back to the USA when it was just 7 months old. This incident was timely and fortuitous for a number of reasons. Not only did it mean that I could repair my laptop without exorbitant continent-spanning mail charges (and the terror that accompanies leaving expensive equipment in the hands of foreign mail carriers), it also happened while under warranty. The non-timely and non-fortuitous aspects to the situation were that it broke in the first place, and that Sony ended up NOT repairing it due to the fact that it would be "uneconomical". I'm still working on getting a new one. Now I'm paralyzed with indecision facing the surplus of options that I have.

3. I forgot about my blog. What??? No really, I did for a little bit. I think it had something to do with Item #1.

Now that I've expanded upon reasons for Blogging Laziness, I would like to recuperate my street cred with another list!

Things I Forgot About Home:

1. So much English! I can understand barely audible conversations in my periphery, I get the gist of a half-muffled discussion, and no word escapes my ears un-understood. This is normal for us English speakers, but reminds me of the fact that I've been living in something of a quiet language bubble for 9 months. Sure, I hear sounds around me in Chile, but I don't tune in because it's Spanish, and it doesn't zip through my blood vessels on a subconscious level like English does.
2. Free coffee refills. Sure it's the gut-rot variety that they serve in diners and restaurants, but my god they refill the cup before I've even made a dent. Sure beats having to fork over almost $5 for each meager sip of espresso in Chile!
3. Starbucks on every corner. This is not an exaggeration, and especially not in Chicago.
4. Too many options. This is both good and bad. While I'm happy that the majority of America, especially in larger cities, caters to every type of lifestyle imaginable and consistently surprises me with vegetarian and vegan goodies galore, this same principle makes other activities, such as buying contact solution, relatively hellish.
5. Things are easier? This may have something to do with the fact that I and everyone I know has a personal car, which makes trips to the store less of a feet-dragging, ugh-where's-the-change-for-the-bus, its-gonna-take-two-hours-just-to-get-soymilk-do-I-really-feel-like-doing-this type experience.

Some days I feel totally re-acclimated, and other days I'm struggling to remember the phrasing of a particular idiom that seems to have been replaced by Spanish vocabulary. Furthermore, my automatic response in restaurants and stores still tries to come out in Spanish. When I'm in a Mexican restaurant, this is acceptable. In most other places, it's not really appreciated.

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