Saturday, July 14, 2012

Thoughts on the prospect of returning to America

I'll be on my way to the USA tonight. Here are some scattered thoughts about returning to the motherland.

It's been almost two years since I've been in the United States, and all of these two years away have been spent in the Middle East. The closest I got to the West was Istanbul in August 2011. I know some things about the US are going to freak me out at first. In the past, after a long time away, it's been the sheer enormity of the grocery stores and the American style of dress. What will it be this time? The sight of price tags in dollars? The high cost of gas? The sight of non-Filipino service staff at restaurants? The complete lack of dudes hanging out in shalwar kameez or kandura? So many white people in one place? Nobody staring at me or my kids? No call to prayer? I can't wait to find out.

I may have to adjust my driving habits. Jeremy always laughs at me because I never stop at stop signs anymore (there is a real possibility of getting rear-ended if you do) and I have learned to drive so aggressively here. And will I miss roundabouts? I might. Stoplights are so uncommon here. I find that when I do encounter them I hardly have the patience to just sit there and wait instead of exercising my brain trying to find a gap in three lanes of roundabout traffic.

FOOD. Let's just say that I will probably gain weight this summer. Just the thought of all the American delicacies waiting for me makes me a little bit crazy. York Peppermint Patties, Tillamook ice cream, Tillamook cheese, decent breakfast cereal, those boxed chocolate milks from Costco, canned olives (they have those here, but while I'm sure they are more authentic, they are also really strong), American chicken bouillon cubes (really!), ranch dressing, fresh milk (like non-UHT - I've forgotten how it tastes), and cheap strawberries and blueberries and Fuji apples. See what I mean? Oh, and bacon. I haven't had bacon in two years.

Linguistically, I'm going to keep my ears open for any Americanisms that have appeared since we were last in the US. And also enjoy hearing the American accent. I'm also curious if my own accent/speech patterns have changed. I hope someone has the guts to call me out on it if they notice anything.

What will it be like to return to American Mormondom?

I have two nieces and two nephews who I've never met. And as my little brother pointed out to me on FB recently, I haven't seen him (or my other siblings) in years. Literally.

But before I get to all that, there's the plane trip to worry about. First 16 hours to LAX, then a couple of hours to SLC, then a few hours' drive to Idaho Falls. When all is said and done, I will have been on the road for over 24 hours. It's amazing to travel across the world in such a short time, don't you think? Wish me luck.


Liz Johnson said...

I'm really curious to hear what surprises/shocks you, too. I would say that everybody is obsessed with that "50 Shades of Grey" trilogy, but I really doubt that's the case in Idaho Falls, so... I can't really think of anything else. This obviously means that I need to leave the country as soon as possible so that I can recognize weird US quirks when I come back, too. :)

Jen and Tyson said...

GOOD LUCK!!!!! Have the best time ever! Welcoem back to America! :D enjoy eating all the yummy food. :)

Julia - Finding My Way Softly said...

Are you taking the kids to the Tillamool Cheese Factory? If I wasn't having surgery I would volunteer to go with you. I love the cheese curds! I assume that is also something rare in the Middle East.

Sherwood family said...

Amen on the non-UHT milk and the bacon. I can't wait.

Jeremy Palmer said...

Be ready for a drop of about 30 degrees F. It rained during the night. It was awesome. I had the window open. Love you. JLP

Shannan Deshazer said...

Welcome back!
I would highly highly recommend visiting some u-pick farms while here. The crops this year have been great and it would feel very "northwesty" or rather "Oregon-y" to u-pick!! I don't know what it is like up in Portland but down here in Salem, tons of u-pick (at $1.05/lb!)

Happy travels

Kathy Haynie said...

Hope the travel is uneventful and that you have a WONDERFUL time in the US with your family. I'm looking to forward to reading future blogs about the Americanisms you notice on your trip.

Sarah Rose Evans said...

Good luck! I hope we get a chance to catch up while you're home . . . sending good airplane vibes out into the universe for you.

Susanne said...

Welcome home, Bridget! Hope your travels are going well.

Susanne said...

Oh, and I'll be curious what your girls think of the US after being gone so long. I'm thinking they might be cold in the Northwest.

Julee said...

I was hoping that on your way to IF you could stop at my house to go to the bathroom and say hi. My house is only one minute off the freeway. Maybe, next time. You probably already passed and instead chose a filthy germ-infested toilet that 62 other people have used since it was last cleaned. See, don't you wish you had called on your friend?


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