amerika: a weeks worth of impressions

tomorrow (thursday) marks one full week back in the united states, so i thought this would be a good benchmark for sharing some observations/vignettes of first enjoyment and secondly reverse-culture-shock.


the power never goes out! i do, however, find myself waiting for it to, especially late at night. the first few nights home i stayed up with my computer plugged in trying to get it to charge before umeme quit, only to remember umeme cannot plague me here-and if KCPL (kansas city power and light) quits on us i may want to actually show concern.

the shower is always hot! i still comply with “green living” standards and take shorter showers, but must confess that i am not collecting gray water (dunno what to do with it, this isn’t my house) and i’m not turning off the tap to put shampoo in my hair, etc. i’ll start again, promise.

I CAN (and do) DRINK WATER FROM THE TAP. there is a good chance you have no idea how wonderful this is. maybe you do, but if you don’t, it makes me chuckle. every. time. for a week now. there was a tiny squelched sequel of delight at my first water fountain. judge on, judger.

fall. its beautiful. and smells just like i remember. heavenly.


giant box stores ARE FRAPPING TERRIFYING. so. much. stuff. i felt dizzy.

interstates/highways again with the dizzy. smooth road + high speed = me feeling wretched. i’m sure i’ll get used to it again, but in the meantime its not my favorite.

commercial television– i didn’t have a television in kotido. i would watch movies and tv shows on dvd or from my external hard drive on my computer. there are no commercials. commercial television is enrapturing. if there is a television on-even if the sound is off-my eyes are drawn to it like the proverbial moth to light. i can concentrate on nothing else. and FORGET IT if the sound is on and you are going to try to talk to me–this sort of makes me feel like i’m losing my mind. i won’t even touch commercial content with a 10 foot pole. basically, i’ve sworn off commercial television except for special events. and even then if i leave the room its not you, its my brain about to implode from over-stimulation. and/or nausea.

“…little boxes on the hillside and they all look the same…” [subdivisions]. i have never been a fan of the suburb-subdivision. if you live in one and love it and don’t understand why i feel like a caged bird, trapped and doesn’t know how to get out in them: that is okay. but i sure hope i never live in one. (you know, other than now). while i steeled myself for my landing in dallas this time, being in the heart of a subdivision is far more overwhelming than i had expected. while out running the other day i was so overcome with all these nice houses, with clean yards (everyone watering them…one was flooding…) and clean dogs and their clean chubby kids. they have clean decks, and clean kitchens (comparatively speaking, anyhow) with no fears of amoebas, parasites or rats and clean bathrooms where they don’t have to worry about cholera or typhoid.

all of this was racing through my mind as i was running up a sidewalk between many of these houses. it was far too much to consider at once and i found myself sitting in the middle of the sidewalk trying to pull  myself together.

i don’t judge people for having nice things, or clean things. nor is this really a dis on subdivisions. the things racing through my head in those moments were along the lines of my mind and heart trying to make sense of what i was seeing in front of me and what i’ve been living the past three years. and i’m having a difficult time holding those things together in one

this will happen, again i will learn how to balance these two worlds and not forget one to live in another. however, this may take a lot of time. be patient with me.


One thought on “amerika: a weeks worth of impressions

  1. it’s real culture shock is…i’m reading along going oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah and i still miss the old normal and the new normal still isn’t quite normal. that’s a good thing

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