Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Good Ol’ US of A

It’s nice to be home. I’m finally back in the US after two straight years in China. It feels incredibly good to be home. My parents are still in China, and some renters in their house, so I’m staying with family friends. So far, it’s been incredibly hot in DC. I thought I had gotten used to the heat in Guangzhou, but I’m still suffering. I developed some heat rash on my legs. My wrist is also hurting more than it was a few weeks ago. Even with all this, it feels amazing to be home. I’ve been anticipating coming back for a while, but I didn’t realize how much I’ve missed the US until I finally got home.

People have been asking me what I missed most about the US, but I can’t quite answer the question because I have missed almost everything. The first day back, just walking down the street was a revelation. No one was pushing past me. The streets weren’t some sort of disgusting mess. No one tried to drive a car down the sidewalk. The weather, while blisteringly hot, was still amazing. Clouds not pollutions were in the sky, and no odd smells on the wind. It was so easy to go shopping since I didn’t have to work out what I was going to say beforehand.

It’s also been so much fun to see all my friends again. I’ve gone out to play bar trivia with Harry. I went to the old neighborhood standby, Cactus Cantina, with Andy. I went to a bar that specializes in incredibly fancy beer with Taylor. I saw Mike at his bartending job in Bethesda. I saw Jack and Matt at a birthday party for Harry’s girlfriend. For those who don’t know who these people are, they are all friends of mine since elementary school. I even saw Ken, who I taught with for two years in Changzhou. I’ve also had the chance to see a bunch of old family friends and neighbors. It’s been amazing. I’ve had so many people to see that I’ve eaten lunch and dinner out almost every day.

Even doing normal stuff, like going to CVS, is a treat. Their selection is amazing. They have real medicine, not the ground up twigs and sheep’s placenta I would find in China. Everything is so quick and well organized. The only downside is that compared to China everything here is amazingly expensive. I think I’ve already spent more money than I saved in my last two years in China. Still, being back is like being on permanent vacation from China. I loved being in China, but I didn’t realize how tired I was of the usual Chinese nonsense until I came back home.

One side effect of being thrilled by American efficiency and organization is that when something doesn’t work the way it should I find myself getting frustrated really quickly. I had a really hard time dealing with the people at the Verizon store, and by the time I was finished I was just spitting mad. After being in China for so long, and wanting relief from the insane way everything worked there, I just can’t stand to see my vision of a well run America contradicted. I think I’ll get on a more even keel over time. For now though, I just can’t stand to see the same, “well there’s nothing I can do about it,” excuse in America, that I was so sick of in China. Either way, though, it’s good to be home.

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