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6/12/10 On Re-Entry

I'm readjusting to life in America.

I still looooove hot showers, but I no longer flip out when I see *hot*water* emerging from the wall.

Tonight, I attended a fancy dinner, and while I did flip out over the leafy greens* (there was spinach in the salad, and swiss chard in the couscous!!), the table-full of flatware didn't bother me. (It helped a LOT that we only had one fork, one knife, and one spoon apiece.) We did each get two glasses, but there was still enough white space on the table that it didn't feel overwhelming.

Grocery stores are still overwhelming.

As are jumbo stores like Target and Walmart.

When I know I'm going to one of those, I plan ahead, take deep breaths, and carefully limit my field of view. I very deliberately shutter myself - add invisible blinders, so to speak - so that I don't see enough to freak me out. If I don't, and I let myself see the entire Temple To Consumerism, my pulse speeds up, my gag reflex engages, and I kinda hate America for a minute. (Seriously, people, how many kinds of white-flour-and-corn-syrup combinations do you need to eat breakfast??)

What else...

I almost never walk down the middle of the street anymore. Which is good, 'cause my friends kinda thought I had a death wish for a while, there. It's hard to make Americans understand that I'm more used to seeing sheep, donkeys, and pedestrians on roads than cars.

I still swoon over all the vegetation in America. I'm in the San Francisco area now, and I can't get over all the flowers and flowering trees. The air smells like perfume. The good kind of perfume. I'm breathing flower-laden, sea-level air...after two years living above 7000 feet, in near-desert conditions, this much oxygen (and *freshly*generated* oxygen, at that) kinda makes me permanently ... high. Happy and loopy, anyway. :)

I'm still bedazzled by how fast internet is in this country. I can upload photos in no time flat. I can watch streaming videos (which never worked for me in Morocco - they'd spool a few seconds, then get caught in a buffering loop they'd never emerge from). Ooh, hey, I bet Hulu will work for me now! I gotta get on that...

I'm still hopelessly out of touch with pop culture. Thanks to Facebook and PlanWorld, I've *heard* of shows like Glee and Dexter and all those vampire teen shows, but I've never seen a single episode, or even a preview for one. I've watched (far too much) downloaded movies and TV shows, but since I haven't watched American TV in 28 months, I really have no idea what's been popular. Who's Megan Fox, and why is everybody raving over her?

I don't trust my sense of style. I've spent two years trying to look like a potato. (It's far and away the easiest way to disguise the actual shape of my body: lots of layers of bulky clothes.) I've also spent two years in a different fashion culture, where women wear nightgowns as outfits, bathrobes as coats, and sequined capes as attention-getters. I think sequins are pretty, now. I know when I first got to Morocco, I found them tacky, but now they're just so shiny and zween!, which is why I no longer trust my own taste.

Alarm clocks. Unless I had a transit/bus/train/plane to catch, I haven't set alarms for two years. I tend to wake up when the sun makes it up over the mountains, around 7am in the summer, 9am in the winter. That's early enough for anything I needed to do. This whole obnoxious-noise-wrenching-me-from-sleep thing has GOTTA GO.

I'm still a little afraid of the dark, but more willing to recognize it for what it is, laugh at myself, and head out into the shadows anyway.

So, yeah, I'm adjusting. Bit by bit, day by day... Shweeya b shweeya.

*I don't remember if I've mentioned this before, but there are no dark greens or leafy greens in Morocco. The closest substitute is beet tops, and only if your veggie guy doesn't cut them off before putting the beets out for sale. There's no spinach. No broccoli. No kale. No collard greens. None of the frilly, nutritional kinds of lettuce. No lettuce at all, except for iceberg lettuce in the most expensive tourist restaurants. I'm hereby adding dark green veggies to the list of Stuff I Didn't Know I'd Missed.


  1. Were you gone for more than 2 years ? You must have been.

  2. I was gone for 27 months. Two years of service plus three months of training.


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