Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Adjusting Back To American Life

It's been a little over a week now since I've been back in Nebraska, which is where I think of as home no matter where I roam. I think it's a little obvious by now that I have no interest in living here full time (Dear Snow: I hate you) but I still think of it as "my" place in the world.

That having been said, it's being weird being back in America. I think that as a result of being a frequent traveler, it has gotten easier for me to switch into "away" mode, or even what might be described as "international" mode. This sometimes makes it difficult for me to 100% switch back to being an American, or for that matter, being a Nebraskan.

A couple of other things that have been hitting me this past week:
  • Noise. In Ecuador, or for that matter, China, SE Asia, and many parts of Europe, they don't do the indoor speakers thing. In America, nearly every venue you visit for dining, coffee, or entertainment comes with its own soundtrack. At Sunday brunch at the Golden Spur Steakhouse (huge portions!) I got hit with both the piped in music AND a video screen displaying the accompanying video. Needless to say, the tabletop conversation suffered.

  • Price. I'd told everyone that for my 30th birthday I wanted funds for a new wardrobe. Unfortunately, I'd forgotten that one of the things that happens when you move to cheap country like Ecuador and then come back to shop in an expensive country like America you get sticker shock. Hardcore sticker shock. I know a girl paying $110 per month for her unfurnished apartment in Cuenca. I'm sure as heck not paying $110 for pants in Lincoln. Why hello, ebay. . . I've become a fiend. It's like bargain shopping again, only with shipping charges. Ouch!

  • Weather. Gusts up to 50 mph today. . . and because I'm inherently Nebraskan, I think that's not that weird. There's also been snow since I've been home, while I know in Cuenca they're not facing much more than rain and you can wear t-shirts even at 8200 feet. Just makes me marvel at the differences the world's geography generates, and motivates me to dig more jackets out of the closet.
What hits you when you travel and move around? Do you find it easy to switch back and forth between places? What becomes normal or odd for you?


  1. Jen - Follow me on Twitter! #CoCornhusker

    Technology hits me when I travel around. In some places Free Wifi is un-heard of and getting on "fast" internet is tough or very expensive.

    However, I was in Panama City, Panama last April and the CBS station down there is the Denver Feed! Who would have known people in Panama watch Denver local news!?

  2. It is true that free wi-fi is a total rarity outside of the states. Pockets of places will be full of great connections. . . and then you step away and you're done.

    As for the Denver feed, wow, that's impressive. And puzzling. Why not something out of Texas? Much closer.

  3. What does switching back to being a Nebraskan involve? Those indoor speakers can be annoying -- and some places conveniently pipe the noise onto the patio, too.

  4. Well, ordering meals in English and paying more than $2 for them is a factor.

    I hate the patio speakers! Once got into a noise dispute with a property across the street from my apartment in MSP because they let them run all night at top volume - on weeknights! Fortunately, the city cop hated them as much as I did.