We leave the US tomorrow to head back to the UAE. Six weeks in America was not long enough to get used to:
Ethnic people speaking in flawless American accents. In the UAE, for the most part, black people are actually from Africa and Indians are actually from India and Chinese people are actually from China. You know what I mean? It's amazing to me that an American can look like anyone, from anywhere.
Expensive gas. I have to say, I'm glad to leave this behind. Of course we don't drive around in the UAE burning gas for the fun of it because it's so cheap, but here in the US you really have to watch your errands habits because gas is freaking $4/gallon. I was also overwhelmed by the idea that you have to spend brain energy maintaining awareness of which stations are cheaper, and which loyalty cards you have, and blah blah blah.
Public libraries. Really! The public library as an institution has to be one of my favorite things about the United States, and one of the things I miss the most when we're living abroad. Our whole visit here, I could not get over the fact that there was a nice building with lots of books in it that were free for the borrowing. Sigh.
Cheap and accessible and plentiful and fresh root beer and bacon and non-UHT milk and cheeses of all kinds and ice cream and breakfast cereal and Fuji apples and seedless grapes and random ingredients I can never find in the UAE, like ground cloves or cream of tartar. You guys, they sell that stuff right on the shelf here. It's amazing.
Temperate and varying weather. Wait, so there's a thing called a weather forecast that you can consult to aid in planning outdoor excursions? Because sometimes the weather changes from day to day? Weird. And REFRESHING.
Calm drivers. I think Portland has especially calm drivers, but no matter where we were, I kept checking the rearview mirror to keep a clear eye out for manic drivers in huge SUVs flashing their brights at me from right on my tail to get me to move out of the left lane so they could zoom by. Never happened. Not once.
It's been a long visit, but a great one. I think the grandparents put a lot of effort into helping us have a really fun time so they could convince us to visit next summer instead of two years from now. It's been non-stop fun around here, that's for sure, and I'm sad to see it come to an end.